In the olden times, arts funding was as significant as healthcare. You could almost argue that both services were two sides of the same coin; the nation’s physical well-being enriched by cultural stimulation. However these days, like so many other laudable public services, if we like having an arts centre we’re going to have to find new ways to pay for it. We supported the Fight for the Wight campaign, and the loss of financial assistance to Newport’s Quay Arts Centre is one reason why.
However, weeping about funding cuts won’t keep services going. We’ve always enjoyed the cafe as a great way to subsidise the arts centre’s free galleries, so what we do is give our support in a way that we’re particularly good at – through our stomachs. As Quay Arts celebrates its fortieth year we’re pleased to report that the cafe is back on form with some really great breakfast and light lunch options focussing, as always, on vegetarian and gluten-free dishes.
As spring has now officially sprung, a seat on the south-facing terrace will provide a more tranquil spot than the cafe’s echoic interior. Otherwise you might find us relaxing on the vast sofas, sipping Americano and downloading kitten GIFs onto our smartphones via the Quay’s free wi-fi.
Crab on toast £6
We met a friend for lunch there and got a taste of the new menu. Matt chose the classic frittata; a hearty slab of golden omelette leavened with olives and cheddar, served with fresh salad. Cat chose the only non-vegetarian dish on the menu – a doorstop of granary bread liberally spread with yummy Ventnor crab, topped with dressed leaves. Our friend hit the jackpot with a cracking baked sweet potato with beetroot and goat’s cheese. Anointed with a spicy chilli jam this was a bright, sparky dish that tasted every bit as delicious as it looked. We were impressed with the small but interesting choice of specials and, if we’d had more time, would’ve undoubtedly spoiled ourselves with some après-lunch cake.
We’re not coaxing you to eat at the Quay Arts cafe so that you can feel like a worthy patron of the arts – although that will undoubtedly earn you feel-good points. No, we reckon you should eat there because it’s an interesting place with freshly-made great value lunches.
This review first appeared in the Isle of Wight County Press in April 2016.
- Strong vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free menu
- Great venue with waterside terrace
- Supports a worthy charity
- Can be an acoustically harsh environment
- Sometimes a queue at busy times