We’re often asked where is the best place to go for a specific type of meal; a roast dinner, say, or a cream tea. The other top request is breakfast. Cat’s – and the hipsters’ – particular favourite is smashed avocado and poached egg on toast, a surprisingly difficult dish to find in the Island’s cafe society.
To be honest, you’ve got to be quick to catch breakfast at most venues; some discontinue their short-order menu at 11am on the dot, so tardy risers will be left disappointed. We’ve often speculated about this; presuming that only those getting up at dog-walk o’clock will get their hands on the first warm sausage of the day.
Thankfully, Bembridge’s The Bakery understands that not everyone is up at the crack of sparrows, keeping their breakfast menu available until a frankly indolent 2pm. There is a civilised overlap of two hours between the brekkie and lunch menus too, so there’s plenty to choose from for the brunch bunch.
It’s a busy little cafe and we were prepared to wait for a table. However, a jolly chap indicated to the two spare seats next to him, and soon we were chatting like old friends. He was very keen to tell us that he was a vegetarian, and also delighted to impart the news that there were plenty of meat-free options on the menu at The Bakery – and that he had tried, and could recommend, them all.
After a false start in which both our first choices of the croque madame and eggs royale were declared unavailable, we put in an order for the deli-sized vegetarian breakfast, plus a plate of mushrooms on toast with a side order of scrambled eggs. It’s a popular venue, so you clearly need to arrive in good time if you want all the trimmings.
As our companion got up to leave, he added a glowing report of the coffee. He was not wrong. Our latte and Americano were both strong and satisfyingly hot, which was a relief as the open door of the cafe made the venue a tad chilly. Fortunately we had dressed for the energy crisis in our most insulating layers and were not duly affected. As a side note, it’s disappointing how often a coffee, particularly a milky one, will be tepid. What are those noisy spluttering coffee counters with all their pipes and dials for, if not to adequately froth AND heat the milk?
Deli veggie brekkie £6.25
Mushrooms on toast £5.25
Extra scrambled egg 75p
Our brunches arrived without much delay. The breakfast, despite being half portions compared to its bigger sibling the set vegetarian breakfast, was more than adequate. The mushrooms and grilled tomato were highlights; succulent and flavoursome. The fried egg was a perfect example; the pierced yolk oozing into the wholemeal toast in a sufficiently hot and runny manner. Ironically, for a non-animal product, the veggie sausage was a little leathery and the sautéed potatoes were not really as desirable as the hash browns they substituted.
Fresh local mushrooms on toast turned out to be a decent third choice for Cat. Sweet and buttery buttons, with a parsley note, were just the right accompaniment for the soft scrambled egg on Cat’s other slice of toasted brown bread.
Although our breakfasts were a decent start to our afternoon, we decided to treat ourselves to pudding in the form of Portuguese tart. These ubiquitous little pastries are this season’s cupcake, without the sugar rush. The creamy custard in its flaky case went down a treat.
The Bakery, Bembridge is a decent little café. You might not find smashed avocado on the menu, but there is a good selection of cakes and hot breakfasts, plus butties, salad and jacket potatoes. Duly fortified by our brunches we were even inspired to go for a walk in the weak winter sunshine.
This is the full-length version of the review first published in the Isle of Wight County Press.
- Good choice of light bites
- Tasty mushrooms
- Friendly venue
- Get there early to ensure you get your choice