Matt and Cat\'s Isle of Wight Eating Out Guide
Matt’s a meaty boy – by which it is meant he loves meat! Not that he isn’t burly, as the occasional slivers of cheese...

Matt’s a meaty boy – by which it is meant he loves meat! Not that he isn’t burly, as the occasional slivers of cheese and flesh he consumes settle their way onto his not insubstantial frame. And, for breakfast, there’s nothing he loves more than a good fry-up with black pudding.

A good fry up

Which, at the spectacularly positioned Long John Eater at the bottom of Ryde’s Union Street, is what he got. This restaurant (or “restaurnt” as it likes to call itself), is a real traditional joint. No chefs waving tea-towels in your face here – all that’s hidden away. There is no counter or any sign of the workings of the place; punters find a table and, like spiders having their webs tweaked, neatly dressed waiting staff appear ready to take your order.


Matthew imagined that the restaurnt could have been compared to a Lyons Corner House, but a bit of interweb research debunked that theory as, pleasant though the Long John Eater is, there were no signs of orchestras playing or the possibility of eating “fruit from the Empire”. There was, however, a likelihood that Matt and Cat would eat a hearty breakfast, or possibly – looking at the extensive menu – a roast, a burger, fish – such as cod and pancetta fishcakes – a grill platter or maybe even a salad.

But, as it was first thing in the morning for M and C (i.e. 11:30am), they eschewed the prawn cocktail and nut cutlet roast – heading straight for all day breakfast (Matt) and scrambled egg and mushrooms (Cat) with a cup of tea each. The obliging waitress patiently allowed Cat to have her toast on the side and for Matt to substitute the dish’s standard beans for extra black pudding.

Whilst Matt and Cat gawped at the grockles lumbering past the window, cutlery and napkins were placed on their table, followed closely by drinks. Cat, being both a map obsessive and a graphic designer, was delighted by the napkin as it was a perfect fusion of the two disciplines. What particularly interested her was the accuracy of the map, showing as it did, the snaking rivers of the Isle of Wight from source to sea. What detail!

'X' marks the spot!

And, as well as the geographical and estuarine minutiae, ‘X’ really does mark the spot on this pirate’s map! Gaaargh!!

Plates arrived, laden with breakfast fare. Matt’s arteries braced themselves for the onslaught of fried bread, double egg, bacon, two types of tomato, mushroom, sausage and the aforementioned black pudding. It was piping hot, not at all greasy and perfectly presented. The eggs were particularly finely cooked – a perfect balance of cooked white and runny yolk.

Scrambled egg and mushrooms

Cat was very pleased with her generous plate of egg and mushrooms – the toast being on the side as requested. The mushrooms seemed nice and fresh and the egg was very much to Cat’s liking – not too dry, not too snotty. And all washed down with a nice cup of tea.

With plenty of seating, pleasant and attentive waiting staff and so many interesting things to look at both inside and outside, Matt and Cat had a jolly time. However, the pirate theme is not really exploited to the full – which may be a mercy! Gaaargh!!

  • Ros says:

    My husband and myself along with two friends missed the train to end of Ryde pier last week. We couldn’t walk in the terrific heat and noticed this cafe on the corner. At the bottom of the menu advertised Cream Tea Happy Hour. This should have been more prominent. It was the best Cream Tea we have had any where and we are partial to Cream Teas. The Scones were fresh and hot and large. Two per person and tasted delicious. We have paid nearly double in posh restaurants and received one small scone. It is a shame it is so far from South Gloucestershire, or we would be eating there regularly because looking at the meals others were eating it would be worth having a meal as well.

  • Ted says:

    I am looking forward to placing my order for mushroom omelette and chips with a cup of again on Monday 7th September when I arrive for my five day visit to a guest house a few doors away fro Long John’s.
    Please keep my table right at the back for me.

  • Ted says:

    Level pegging with the Vista Sur Restaurant in Las Americas, Tenerife, ‘my usual with a cup of tea’ is the finest mushroom omelette in the world; the charming young lady that serves me and knows my heart inside out always make my visit top of the list as Easter MOnday 06/04/2015 will prove.

  • Russell Fuller says:

    Brilliant Food Loads of it Great patient staff ist stop on the island every time!!A must to see and expierience been there years Well Done !! Simply 1st Class ! ……

  • Lee308 says:

    Popped in when returning from a hovercraft trip to Southsea when holidaying on the island. Service was prompt, efficient and welcoming. Everything was clean and hygienic. The food was much better than I expected for a seaside cafe. In fact, the steak and kidney pie with vegatables I had was excellent grub. Well prepared, good quality and plentiful. Finally, it cost less than I expected to pay. Worth using when in Ryde.

  • Chris says:

    We live in Ryde and pop into the Long John Eater on a regular basis when cooking is just “all too much” for us !!!
    Great value for money, good basic food, good service.
    Highly recomended.

  • steph friend says:

    My inlaws had been eating here for literally years and years and I first went on a day trip to the IOW back in 1995 and was promptly taken to this restaurant and although there was 12 of us, we were served promptly and the food was good value. We have recommended this place to others and they have been suprised at the value-we have been a few times on a day trip to the isle and holidays and always go here at least once. We are heading back again next week for our first holiday in 4 years and I am looking forward to seeing if it is still the same-they seem to recognise my hubby when we go in there but seem too polite to say anything (but then he had been going as part of a huge family outing for years!).

  • david watt says:

    we found this restaurant on our first night in Ryde and what a stroke of luck! Fantanstic selection of good wholesome food-all well presented and at a reasonable price-the staff were very welcoming and exceptionally polite so we came back every night and really looked forward to our evening meals-keep up the good work-a credit to the Island and Town
    Many Thanks-David, Andrew & Ivy Watt (Mum & Brothers)

  • Kat says:

    I think we may have been unlucky at this restaurant, as we had I think one of the worst meals there ever! It was early 2008. My husband had the chicken curry, which was bland, and the rice overdone. I has spaghetti bolognase, the sauce bland, the spaghetti very overdone and a sort of skin from the cooking water i think was all over it,very slimey! We were not impressed, and it totally put both of us off our food, we promptly left, with no offer of payment for such poor food.
    This was our only visit, but enough to make us never want togo back, sorry to say.

  • Gill a tourist says:

    Looking for somewhere to sit down and have fish and chips by the sea and out of the rain we found this place. We sat down and a friendly waitress soon appeared, we both ordered cod, chips and peas and two drinks and got change out of a tenner! The food was really good quality, fish very fresh and the chips were proper chips. The only thing I would have changed was it came with frozen peas, but for this price you cant have everything. I would certainly return and would encourage others to pay a visit.

  • Michele Sewell says:

    We were lucky enough to come across this restaurant during our stay in Ryde. The meals and the service were 100% and we would highly recommend anyone to eat here. The prices were extremely reasonable as well, and both my children (who can be fussy eaters) enjoyed their meals and cleared their plates!

  • Mal the Brummy says:

    Cheap and chearful!! GVFM

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