Note: Sameannes is closed. The cafe has now reopened under different management with a different name.
Readers of Matt and Cat’s eating out guide will have noticed a slant towards the eateries of Ryde and could infer (correctly, as it happens) that M and C live in the area. Ryde is a great place to live and, for foodies like M and C, there are plenty of places to eat. One is the Kasbah in Union Street and it was on a drizzly Monday that they ventured into this exotic-sounding cafe bar – only to leave a moment or two later. Alas, there had been an unfortunate plumbing-related disaster upstairs which necessitated buckets and pans to be spread far and wide in the bar, all of which were rapidly filling up. Deciding not to eat to the accompaniment of the dripping, Matt and Cat wandered back out and up bustling Union Street. Hope you get back to normal soon, Kasbah!
Stomachs rumbling after this false start, Matt and Cat darted into the Royal Victoria Arcade to escape the intensifying rain and found themselves at Sameannes Cafe and Takeaway. The arcade is a splendid place, not only for its architectural preeminence but also its eclectic array of hippy shops, musty book stores and bric-a-brac vendors. And, in pride of place, occupying a most conspicuous spot is Sameannes cafe.
The curiously named Sameannes is a chirpily decorated venue, with bright gingham curtains, kermit-green table tops (inside) and retro advertising posters and, unlike the majority of units in the arcade, Sameannes has windows to the outside world which allow the sun to stream in, although on the day of Matt and Cat’s visit the rain was sliding down the windows in little rivulets. Taking up almost all of one wall in the cafe is a blackboard proclaiming the extensive bill of fare. Matt’s eyes lit up at the all day breakfast option (his default position) whilst Cat was delighted to see scrambled egg and toast (her default) amongst the list of sandwiches, snacks and jacket potatoes.
Cat went ‘off menu’ and ordered mushrooms to accompany her scrambled egg and, in a fit of indulgence, an extra round of toast. Matt’s eyes had swivelled from the breakfast to the steak and kidney pie which came with either chips and salad, or potatoes and veg. Inspired by the success of Cat’s daring attempt to deviate from the menu, Matt asked for chips and vegetables, but was promptly rebuffed by the serving lady, who seemed almost shocked that such a combination could be suggested. Helpfully, she did offer a third way – with a chips and peas option which Matt happily accepted.
M and C settled themselves at a nice clean table inside the cafe rather than a seat outside, from which a great view of the arcade’s hub-bub can be enjoyed. Looking around Sameannes your reviewers observed that there were no other couples; the venue seems to be most popular with single, older gentlemen enjoying their meals with side plates of bread and butter. How old school.
Whilst they were enjoying their steaming mugs of tea, Matt and Cat’s food arrived. Cat’s scrambled egg was definitely of the best; nice and moist but not snotty, the mushrooms fresh and the toast an even golden colour served with a generous two packets of butter. Matt’s steak and kidney pie was not home-made but that was not necessarily a detraction. Nor was it frazzled by overexposure to microradiation. It was hot and tasty and served with good fresh chips and peas.
M and C listened to the serving lady accompany the pop songs on the radio with a tuneful warble, whilst they ate their meals. And soon the food was gone – so were Matt and Cat as yet another punter sparked up a cigarette. At least the serving lady had the manners to smoke outside the cafe.
So, what to make of this tiny but well-patronised establishment? It has a good choice of tasty cafe fare and offers value for money – the tea is particularly good value. From almost any of the tables there is the chance to study the detail of one of Ryde’s most interesting buildings. And, even on the most overcast of days, Sameannes has a surprisingly bright interior.