Matt and Cat\'s Isle of Wight Eating Out Guide
Matt and Cat have eaten some excellent food in all of the far-flung corners of the Isle of Wight. From windswept tea rooms to...

Matt and Cat have eaten some excellent food in all of the far-flung corners of the Isle of Wight. From windswept tea rooms to the most northerly restaurant, they’ve pretty much tried them all. However, sometimes the best things are on your doorstep – as Matt and Cat discovered over the Christmas holidays.

Full English breakfast

The northern end of Ryde’s Monkton Street is quite the burgeoning community. Having suffered a localised recession over recent years with the loss of the petrol station, post office and hairdressers, it now boasts an upgraded convenience store, the Island’s first Polish supermarket, as well as M&C’s favourite chippy.

Having had too many Quality Street breakfasts over the holidays, Matt and Cat decided to treat themselves to a full English at the Solent Inn. The compulsion to try the food was irresistible. Advertised for the jaw-dropping price of three quid, including a hot drink, who could walk on by? So, dropping the CatMobile off at the nearby ‘5 Star’ car wash for its regular ten quid valet clean, they wandered across the road to the historic pub to see what they would get for their money.

Toast mountain!

Despite it being one of those purposeless in-between days when the toys have been broken and everyone’s got Christmas fatigue, the pub was positively buzzing. There were a handful of people already tucking into breakfast and some chaps sat at the bar chatting to the friendly barmaid. Matt and Cat, along with a couple of companions, sat at a table in the window having ordered breakfast. If they had been there for a lunchtime bevvy, the round table would have been perfectly adequate to hold four drinks and maybe a splayed bag of crisps. When the barmaid came over with the cutlery and suggested that two tables be pushed together, Matt’s eyes lit up; how big was this breakfast? The drinks arrived. Then a plate piled high with hot buttered toast – at least three triangles each. Then before long, the breakfasts themselves were served.

Solent Inn

Two meaty rashers, two plump sausages, two fried eggs (with nice, runny yolks), beans and half a fresh fried tomato made up the dish. The foursome fell on the food, leaving a hush over the table, broken only by chink of cutlery on china and the warblings of local radio. There was plenty of food; the toast was used to mop the tomatoey juices and dribbly yolk and it was all washed down with the big mug of tea (or coffee). How do they do it for the money? Now let’s be frank here, these were not gourmet ingredients, but then neither were they cheap rubbish. This was by any standard an extraordinarily good value meal.

Matt and Cat’s bill
2 x full English breakfast £6

After receiving a Tweet from Matt and Cat follower and Ryde local Minty Mat, Cat enquired as to the availability of vegetarian breakfast. “Oh yes,” said the barmaid, “We do vegetarian sausages and you can have mushrooms too if you want to swap any of the other things”. Excellent. A delicious, generous, bargain-priced breakfast at a homely pub, right in Matt and Cat’s manor. Highly recommended.
Solent Inn, Ryde

  • eric - ryde says:

    Hello – Is there any news about a re-opening date for this pub?
    It is looking a bit sad right now, and apart from the Simeon Arms, there’s not really a decent back-street bar in the area.

  • Sailor Sam says:

    Word on the street is that the Solent is soon to be taken over by a new licencee so it will not be closing (which is obviously good news). The current landlady (Helen) is apparently leaving at the end of this week.

    As far as Stanley’s is concerned, that has gone for good (to which some people will be happy about). Word on the street is that it is to become a coffee shop of some sort.

  • Graham - Ryde says:

    Sad to hear that The Solent is about to close, or at last Helen leaving and the Brewery not having much confidence in the place.

    We’ve seen some great local bands there over the years, had some good-value meals (including those breakfasts)and the beers that have been on offer have generally been worth a try at least.
    So good luck to Helen and co, thank you for the music and hope that we will still have the chance to visit a REAL local pub.

    Whilst writing about pub closures….. it looks as though Stanleys on Union Street has closed.
    Passing by earlier, it seemed there was mail piling up at the door and peering through the window, a desolate looking bar area.

    Does anyone have any updates on the above two drinking establishments?

  • da yw wyth says:

    Yes, a low-priced option and plenty of food. The bacon was okay, as were the mushrooma and nice buttered toast. Overall, though it had the rough taste of a greasy spoon rather than the smooth taste of a good quality B&B breakfast. Reluctantly have to say I’ve had better on the mainland at Weatherspoons. The worst, though, was the “coffee” which was of the warmed dishwater variety.

    Matt and Cat respond: We were there last week for breakfast and whilst the food was as good as ever we’d have to agree about the coffee – there is more taste in the cast of TOWIE!

  • Kevin says:

    A new chef offering the best value breakfast in Ryde in my opinion. Two sausages, two bacon rashers, two runny fried eggs, baked beans, half a grilled tomato and two slices of toast for £3. Extras at 50p each i.e. hash browns, mushrooms, extra bacon etc etc. The cup of tea or coffee is an extra £1. Service is great and the food is piping hot.

    Sunday roasts at £4.50 for regular and £5.50 for large are equally as good.

    I wouldn’t go anywhere else for my fry-up.

  • eric - ryde says:

    Hello – Further to Helen’s recent post, is there any update on the breakfast scene at the Solent yet please? We’re in town on Saturday and thought we might give it a try.

  • Helen says:

    Breakfasts are on again at The Solent – saw a board outside advertising them on my way home. We are on the case and will update here unless someone beats me to it!

  • Neil (Local) says:

    P.S. Graham, not for the same price. La Croute’s in Union Street do a good one with various options. I had an ‘option B’ which I would say is on par with the Solent’s which cots £4.20.

  • Neil (Local) says:

    Yes Graham, very disappointing as it was the best value breakfast in Ryde in my opinion. Not surprisingly, very popular too. Hopefully we will see it restored soon.

  • Graham L says:

    No more Solent Inn breakfasts!
    We turned up for breakfast this morning, but all was quiet. We spotted a small notice on a pub window explaining that breakfasts had ceased, but there would be occasional meals offered.

    Has there been another defection? A couple od weeks ago all seemed well and the new set-up appeared fine.

    Strangely enough I rang late last week to check on meal times and the bands appearing as the Solent Inn website was well out of date.

    Does anyone know what happened, and have any thoughts on where to get a decent breakfast in the area please (without having to go into town to somewhere like Wetherspoons)

  • Peter says:

    I went back to the Solent for another breakfast to try them out again, and I must say they are pretty nice. Ignore my comments before as it was so much better than the last time. Thank you

  • Peter says:

    Never slated the pub – but we all have our own taste-buds and I found the breakfast disgusting, it was cold, the bacon was burnt to a crisp and the beans were cold. Me and my family were not happy with our service. We waited 40 minutes even though there was only 2 other people in the pub having breakfast. I didn’t bring it up with Helen or Graham as they were not there at the time and I didn’t want to make the young barmaid feel awkward.

  • pub sniffed says:


  • pub sniffer says:

    “over to the wheatsheaf” has a pub appeared in Ryde I dont know abaout, the only Wheastsheaf’s I could think of are in Yarmouth and Newport? and both would be £6.95 plus for an allday breakfast I would think, not cheap tucker at all + the petrol and time, and parking in either Newport or Yarmouth?

  • Neil (Local) says:

    Not sure what Peter regards as a ‘terrible’ breakfast, but I’ve now sampled one since the change of chef and I can say that it was certainly as good as it was previoulsly. At £3 (including tea/coffee) you can’t go wrong. I absolutely refute that it was ‘terrible’. Perhaps if it was that bad Peter, you should of bought it to Helen’s(the nice landlady)attention.

  • Peter says:

    Ever so sorry for my misspelling in a previous comment – I do mean the breakfasts are not nice but what I was meant to say, at least both pubs have nice landladys! Helen is a lovely lady as well as landlady of Wheatsheaf

  • Peter says:

    and that’s a bit of an overreaction there Wendy.

  • Peter says:

    Breakfasts are terrible here now, over to the wheatsheaf. at least there is a friendly landlady there.

  • Wendy says:

    Just came back from an AMAZING breakfast at the Solent! There were 6 of us eating (all requested different variations of the ‘Full English’!!) Nothing was too much trouble, food all came out at the same time, tea was hot, tables laid, considering that it was VERY busy, the service and atmosphere was second to none! Will definitely be returning… Oh yeah, nearly forgot to mention… The sausages were ‘proper’… They actually had good quality meat in them!!!

  • graham (landlord) says:

    thanks for the kind words dean, tits up is a bit strong as i havent seen you in my pub since the new chef started, the breakfast is still £3 with freshley made tea or coffee made by my staff and all the ingrediants are now locally sourced, come and try it, you might be surprised dean

  • Neil (Local) says:

    Being a regular to the Sloent, I can confirm the above that the breakfasts are still £3 although I havn’t had one since the ‘change’ in chef.

  • theking lud says:

    Eric, yes it is the guys that were at the Simeon, then the Solent, now at The Wheatsheaf, Brading. Helen from The Solent has told me that the new guys are going to continue the bargainous £3 Breakfast, I am not sure she would look on here so I thought I would share on her behalf.

  • eric - ryde says:

    Are these the people who originally did the food at the Simeon Arms, then moved to The Solent? It reads that they have now moved to Brading? Sadly a bit far without transport. Hope they all got a good transfer fee! Any news on new breakfast content and prices, as well as the other food times and what the prices are now? The Solent is convenient for us, so we’d like to patronise them if the same sort of menus, etc are to continue.

  • Deano says:

    Its all gone t**ts up at the Solent!!!

    No more breaky c/w tea for 3 quid, the franchise is now being run by someone else (shame).

    So, its over to the Wheatsheaf (brading) for the familiar fare, same breaky, same price, same chef! Marvelous.

  • Neil (local) says:

    Latest visit was today with a friend of mine but I have been a number of times since my last post. Boring I know, but still cannot fault the breakfast and still only £3! I don’t know how they do it!

    Matt & Cat respond: we also notice they are advertising for someone to do lunches and evening meals. Sounds promising!

  • Neil (local) says:

    Its been a couple of months since I posted last, so I thought I would report that my most recent visits (30th July) for curry night was again faultless. And being a local, I need not go further than to get a good value breakfast at £3 inc hot drink. If I ever do get a bad one, I will let you know but don’t hold your breath!

  • laura wright says:

    breakkie really good!!!all really hot and taost hot when comes out to!!!makes a change as most places are served cold toast!!1 i will be back~!!!

  • Neil (local) says:

    Have tried the breakfasts a few times now and can’t fault them. Must be the best value in Ryde at £3 which includes tea/coffee.

  • Neil (local) says:

    Attended their occasional curry night tonight. Eat as much as you like for a fiver. Lamb logan josh with rice was spot on with nan bread and popodoms. Couldn’t fault it.

  • Maria says:

    I had a wonderful breakfast here. Very pleased.

  • Abby says:

    My dad cooks these breakfasts and i have to say its one of the best ones i have ever eaten. Toast was beautiful, tea and breakfast was lovely. The pub has a lovely atmosphere to it which makes the dining experience even more better. To the firefighter, you’re opinion on my dad is not needed thanks.

  • IW FireFighter says:

    We thought we would try The Solent Inn breakfast after reading Matt and Cat’s glowing review, unfortunately we were very disappointed with our experience. The tea had those little floaty bits on top where the teabag had been left to stew for too long, the toast was unbelieveable, it was burnt to a black colour! We have never been anywhere before and served burnt toast. We looked at the man who cooked and served it to us and he didnt bat an eye-lid. The rest of the breakfast was OK but we wont we going back again. Cheap breakfast but it was poor quality im afraid.

  • MintyMat says:

    YAY! We’ll be popping in soon!

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