Matt and Cat\'s Isle of Wight Eating Out Guide
ARCHIVE: Betty’s Door, East Cowes ARCHIVE: Betty’s Door, East Cowes
ARCHIVE: Betty’s Door, East Cowes

ARCHIVE REVIEW: Betty’s Door is now closed

There are a surprising number of prestigious restaurants on the Isle of Wight, where you can easily haemorrhage through all your spending money on a single meal, particularly if you also treat yourself to the wine flight. These venues are mostly easy for us to eulogise about, as the product has to be superlative if you are charging a metaphorical arm and a leg.

However, for each House or Thompson’s, are other more modest venues quietly going about their business offering decent affordable meals in the towns and villages across the Island. As well as food, these cafes can also serve a valuable function in their communities; providing a welcoming and friendly environment to people for whom a cuppa and a slice of cake may be their weekly treat.

We have visited plenty of coffee bars and tea rooms for the above but, for us, each town should also have a place where we can get a perfect cooked egg. And, in East Cowes, particularly since the long-lamented Mrs Jones Tea Depot shut up shop, would that mantle be taken by Betty’s Door?

From the outside, Betty’s Door looks like our sort of place. With a facade painted in heritage green and a hand-lettered sign in shadowed gold, it has a satisfying vintage look; like it’s been there since East Cowes was thrumming with maritime industry.

Once inside, we took the last remaining table. We looked around appraisingly at this pleasant and busy, dog-friendly cafe;. As well as table service for eat-in diners, there were plenty of filled rolls to takeaway.

Alas – but understandably – the day’s special had sold out: the delicious-sounding leek, courgette and kale soup, flavoured with applewood cheese and served with a cheese and onion toastie. The lady at the adjacent table confirmed that it was indeed as delicious as it sounded, as she tucked into the last portion which, for under eight quid, looked a pretty decent meal.

We chose one of Betty’s Toppers: fried eggs on toast; plus poached egg with avocado and salsa, along with coffee.

Fried eggs on toast, eh? What could be more basic, you’d think? A standard greasy spoon snack from the olden days, was elevated at Betty’s Door into a pleasingly symmetrical dish, served on a stoneware platter with a twirl of pea shoots. Bread had a lovely flavour of malt and bran, with a decent bite but not too challengingly woody, like sourdough can sometimes be. The eggs were perfectly fried; yolks runny, and overall retained very little grease. This simple dish has a pleasing subtle flavour.

Matt and Cat’s bill
Fried eggs on toast £6
Avocado and poached eggs £7.95
Ginger cheesecake £4.50
Americano £2.80
Latte £3.20
Total £24.45

How one smashes an avocado is not entirely clear. At Betty’s Door it was not into smithereens with some kind of pear hammer, more blended and seasoned, with a hint of chilli. On top came tasty fried mushrooms and what had been described on the menu as salsa. This turned out to be diced raw red, amber and green peppers, plus red onion – with no tomatoes. The crunchy vegetables, though tasty enough as a garnish, offered an interesting texture contrast to the rest of the dish’s moist and spreadable components. It was not quite what was expected, and the soft egg fought for attention with these more dominant ingredients. A bold take on this hipster classic.

It seemed insensitive to leave the last orphaned piece of ginger and lemon cheesecake (from local caterer Definitely Cheesecakes) in the chiller, so we took that and two forks as our afters. This moist and fluffy sweet was spectacularly creamy; the topping delicately-flavoured in gentle tones of lemon, and the base was created from crushed ginger biscuits. We’d advise that you take a friend, as this is definitely a dessert made for sharing.

Betty’s Door may not have been in East Cowes for as long as its classic exterior might infer. However, it does have its own legend, that of ‘Nanna Bet’ and the Manx symbol. We’d tell you more, but instead we’d urge you to go there yourself to find out, and while you are there, enjoy a beautifully created light lunch in a homely and charming setting.
01983 209963

Classic cafe with an enjoyable light lunch
  • Nicely-cooked lunches, with a decent range of choices
  • Homely environment
  • Delicious cheesecake

3 of 5

3 of 5

3 of 5

3 of 5

4 of 5

  • patrick says:

    I’m so glad you got to sample it – restored now to being the “Place of the moment” once again! And isn’t the s/mash debate down to one little phrase? “For Mash get SMash”…!

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