There are those who say that the Isle of Wight is stuck in a time warp. If they visit Sandown, these suspicions may be...

There are those who say that the Isle of Wight is stuck in a time warp. If they visit Sandown, these suspicions may be confirmed. Alongside the gift emporiums, crimpolene frock shops, beachware retailers and chippies, are many cafés for visitors who only bought ‘half-board’ in one of the many seaside hotels. One of these is Kate (or Kate’s) Cottage, an eatery which evokes memories of rainy Sunday afternoons in seaside towns in the mid-1970s, when eating out was a special treat.

Matt and Cat went there for tea (or ‘dinner’ for the middle classed amongst you, who – to be honest – are unlikely to want to eat at Kate’s). With inviting blackboards describing simple dishes such as omelette and chips, or all day breakfasts, your reviewers found Kate Cottage alluring enough to tempt them through the door. Even before entry diners will know that the menu is very competitively priced, as might be expected in a street where every other establishment is a café with menus and special offer prices hung prominently in the windows.

The décor at Kate’s is beyond tired and almost (but not quite) achieves a themed mid-20th century seaside chic. The padded vinyl menus are a relic of a bygone era and the variable branding (Is it Kate Cottage or Kate’s Cottage? Or maybe just Kate’s?) was not off-putting. If anything, these features added to the atmosphere of the place. The waitress was busy but not unfriendly and was happy to explain items from the menu. A pot of tea for two and a glass of iced water were quickly delivered followed shortly by the meals.

Cat chose mushroom omelette and chips which came with a pleasant salad garnish, complete with yellow peppers and thankfully no raw onion. The omelette was freshly cooked, although the mushrooms might have been of a different vintage. It was pleasant nonetheless, although the chips could have been cooked just a little bit longer to make the transition from ‘ok’ to ‘excellent’.

Matthew had haddock and chips with similar garnish. It was acceptable, but not brilliant – the fish had a few bones and the chips were, again, slightly undercooked.

However, the tea was nice and there was enough in the pot for two cups each. Whilst enjoying their meal, Matt and Cat entertained themselves by looking around the cafe at the quaint old electrical appliances and the big dollies with their pram in the window. Also, M and C’s window seat provided a ringside view of sunburnt and tattooed people wending their way back from the beach, as well as doughty pensioners in their Sunday best out for an evening stroll. The café was pretty busy with holiday makers, some of whom were puffing away on their ciggies – bring on the smoking ban.

For an convenient and reasonably priced eating experience in an environment preserved from the 1970s, Kate Cottage is a pretty reliable bet. If it’s nouvelle cuisine and matching cutlery you’re after, your lofty ambition might be better taken elsewhere.

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  • da yw wyth

    25th September 2011 #1 Author

    Hmm – unfortunately when you enter in the heat of the moment having seen the sticker you don’t usually have time to dash home and check the date of the review on the computer! So a date on stickers would indeed be handy…

    Reply

  • graham

    25th September 2011 #2 Author

    Not good, tired, grubby, nil atmosphere and the electrics are a disaster waiting to happen. Yet another Isle of Wight business being run by people who won’t put any profit back into it.

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  • Nick Churchill

    7th June 2011 #3 Author

    Caught the fish off the pier that morning??? Mmmm… And I suppose he dug up the potatoes out the back for the chips as well????

    Reply

  • Tracy

    6th June 2011 #4 Author

    Local peaches? Mmmm……not!

    Reply

  • David Carpenter

    6th June 2011 #5 Author

    After finishing work and realizing that we had no food left in the house we went shopping for food in the Co-op in Sandown. While making our way back to the car we noticed a handwritten sign in the window of Kate’s Cafe for Fish & Chips, mushy peas,+ a Sweet and Tea or Coffeee for £4.95.

    As we were tired and did not want to cook and certainly did not want to do the washing up we decided to give Kate’s a try.

    It was about 6.30 pm and the place looked as if it was about to close. I expected them to say that the Special was finished. However, there was no problem, the pot of Tea arrived immediately with a jug of milk. The Fish & Chips arrived after about 10 minutes. The Chips were obviously home cooked and the fish was excellent. The portion was the normal “Small Appetite” or Child’s Portion. There was a choice of Sweet. I chose peaches and cream and my better half chose Treacle pudding and Custard. I asked the waiter if the peaches were local and he assured me that they were. He also told me that the Fish was very fresh he had caught it off the pier that morning… The experience was so good and so convenient that we did the same about 3 days later. If you are hungry and simply want to eat and do not mind the tired décor, the food is good and the price very reasonable,

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  • Nick Churchill

    15th January 2011 #6 Author

    Hi Jill….if you look again you will see the review was posted in July 2006!!! Hope this helps?

    Reply

  • Jill

    15th January 2011 #7 Author

    On Friday we were glad to find anywhere in Sandown to have a late lunch, drawn by the Matt and Cate sticker we entered – the ambience was interesting but we are stalwart revellers and placed our orders. The drinks came very quickly but sadly didn’t taste of anything, I ordered tea it was hot and that’s all I can say. The food came and I believe it to be of good value, very hot and tasty. Sadly the whole experience was marred by the feel of sitting in someone’s front room, distinctly uncomfortable feeling. The mature lady was obviously ready to finish her shift and held a very loud conversations with a silent partner. We were then in the midst of family (unpleasant) comments, which should never be aired in public, disturbing to think of them being said even in private. This was enough to put us off ever going into this establishment again even though the food was simple and clean. Made us wonder when you awarded the sticker, maybe a date on it would be informative – because we have come to trust your opinion.

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  • Nina

    12th August 2010 #8 Author

    We visited the Isle of Wight on Monday (9/8/2010) and stopped off here for lunch, after a LOT of walking we basically headed for the nearest cafe ! We were seated out the back as we could smoke out there. It was very basic plastic garden furniture which was covered in cobwebs ! After quickly dusting the table down we we’re served drinks and our food order taken. My husband ordered the Gammon which turned out to be a measly bit of ham, I had a sausage and onion baguette, both meals were reasonable and we left. My son returned to the cafe 5 minutes later as we had forgotten something where he was promtly bitten by a dog in the back garden area !! My stomach has only recovered today (12/8/2010). If I ever return to Sandown I would certainly never use this restaurant again and I would NEVER recommend this so called cafe to anyone !!

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