As regular readers of this blog may have deduced, Matt and Cat work in Newport.
Once they have eaten their nammit, they will sometimes spend the remains of their lunchtime having coffee at Olivo, Island Images or the Quay Arts Centre. Just occasionally, for a bit of a treat, they might have their midday meal out together on a work-day. Over time, they’ve visited most of Newport’s venues so are always on the lookout for somewhere new to eat.
When they noticed that a new café had appeared in Scarrot’s Lane, they thought they’d give it a spin one lunchtime. Take 5 has arrived in the stead of what was previously Monroe’s Coffee House – a venue reviewed favourably by Cat in 2008. Sooner than they’d anticipated, poor planning managed to deliver both of them to Newport without any packed lunch, and so off to Take 5 they went.
Take 5, with its Union flag-based logo, looked as though it was going to be a bit of a transport café style experience. Pleasingly, it turned out to be a bit more sophisticated once M & C got indoors. There is a little terrace outside, and two storeys indoors. On this busy day Matt and Cat took a seat upstairs, slipping into a table as another couple were vacating it – and noting with pleasure that the busy waitress still had time to notice her new customers; she cleared and wiped the table without delay.
The Take 5 menu is an extensive document promising a very attractive range of lunchtime hot and cold meals and drinks. All the usual suspects were here; if you want a fried breakfast and a mug of tea you can have it, but there’s a lot more on offer besides. It didn’t take Matt long to spot what he wanted, “Chips smothered in Chilli & Cheese”. Yes, incredible though it might seem, this was the very dish that had started this whole reviewing lark off. Matt had hardly ever eaten his favourite chilli, cheese and chips since it had been taken off the menu at Sainsbury’s, Newport back in 2005 and his disappointment had been a major factor in deciding to write that very first review. So that was Matt’s choice made straight away.
Chilli, cheese and chips £3.95
Mozzarella sandwich £3.95
Pot of tea £1.15
On the panini section of the menu was a tempting mozzarella cheese, basil and vine tomato concoction, but Cat, inevitably, yearned for a panini with… no panini. She trotted down the stairs to enquire at the till if this deviation was possible. Before long Matt observed the waitress from downstairs dashing up to the first floor kitchen to consult with the cook in the back… and then back down to Cat waiting below. To Cat’s relief, it appeared that her wish was their command – and she requested the Italian sarnie to be cold, on white bread. The white bread the cook allowed, but cold? No. That was absurd, and at this Take 5 very sensibly drew the line. If Cat wanted panini with no panini, the least she could do was have it hot. Cat graciously accepted the cook’s recommendation and returned upstairs to see what would emerge from the kitchen.
Whilst waiting, M & C took a look around Take 5’s interior. Oddly enough, despite the Union Flag on display outside, inside it had a rather superficial American diner theme. Generic pictures of Cadillacs, Marilyn Monroe and skyscrapers adorned the walls. This homage to another country’s culture has been done much better elsewhere. However, the place was clean and tidy and the theme was an established one.
When the food arrived Matt was delighted with the sight of his chilli, cheese and chips. Even better than the long-vanished Sainsbury’s special which he used to love so much, Take 5’s version was an impressive mound of home-made chilli with a zingy kick to it, plus as much chips and cheese as even Matt could manage. It was a hearty meal at a bargain price. Excellent.
As the waitress delivered Cat’s sandwich they simultaneously spotted that it was on brown, not white bread. The waitress apologised gracefully and offered to change it, but there was no need. Cat was hungry, and she accepted the sandwich as it came. It was adorned with a decent salad garnish, and packed with stringy mozzarella. Juicy tomatoes were inside, and even though the basil turned out to be dried rather than fresh, Cat, on reflection, agreed with the cook that this was a sandwich better hot then cold.
Matt and Cat were not disappointed by Take 5. The cafe is tucked away from town’s traffic and the seats on its little sunny terrace were very popular. With its extensive menu and very reasonable prices, the food was good and the service was friendly and helpful. Recommended.