Ryde in the summer is a buzzing town. And, particularly when the sun is out, the streets throng with holiday makers, locals and, on the Saturday that Cat and friend visited Room 4, Ryde Arts Carnival was processing down Union Street.
Previously a shop selling giftware, jewellery and African crafts, Room 4 has evolved into a nice modern cafe. Its interior is clean and cool with its generous leather sofas, daily papers and view of the bustling street. Room 4’s menu demonstrates a variety not always seen in cafe menus; as well as standards such as sandwiches, baguettes and baked potatoes it also offers stuffed ‘butterfly’ croissants and bagels. There is a good selection of coffees and fruit juices too.
Cat’s friend decided that baked potato offered the best value for money and chose tuna as her potato’s filling. Cat focussed on the croissants, dithering between salmon and Brie. The Brie and cranberry won the toss but, on placing her order, Cat was informed that there were no croissants available nor, for that matter, chicken (her usual default food choice). However, the kind waitress allowed Cat to go off-menu and she was able to substitute the croissant for a bagel. Both Cat and her chum also had a generous glass of fresh chilled apple juice.
Flicking through the complimentary papers on their table, Cat and friend chatted away until the exciting sound of Raw Samba shook through their bones, demanding that they stop their yapping and look out of the window at the procession of drummers, garlands and paper mache heads.
Turning away from the window to enjoy the arrival of their food, Cat and pal tucked in.
The jacket potato was indeed good value at £3.50; the spud was pretty big and had a generous topping of tuna with not too much mayonnaise. Both snacks came with a side salad and a smattering of tortilla crisps.
Cat’s bagel, although the same price as the potato, was a bit more meagre; Cat had hoped for ‘butterfly’ bagel, ie. two halves which would have doubled the three pieces of Brie. Nonetheless, the toasted bagel was tasty and the cranberry and Brie was an excellent combination. Cat swapped her cucumber for her friend’s tomato which bulked up her salad garnish which, with its spinach leaves and lack of raw onion was a nice departure from the norm.
Once the food had been eaten and the carnival had wound its way noisily down the street, Cat and companion stayed and chatted. Room 4 is the kind of place that does not hurry its customers out of the door. In fact, had Cat and her friend slumped into one of the leather sofas they might had been there still, so relaxing was the atmosphere.
UPDATE Sept 2010: Matt and Cat have not revisited and so have not updated this review. But Room 4 has since appeared in the news and those thinking of dining there might want to check out the story. Thanks to those commenters who drew this to our attention.