1968 is probably too long ago for most people to remember with much clarity, although it was a year with some significant milestones. Outside...
Coffee Pot, Ryde

1968 is probably too long ago for most people to remember with much clarity, although it was a year with some significant milestones. Outside the pleasant parochial world of the Isle of Wight, the Vietnam War was raging. Closer to home, yachtsman Alec Rose received a hero’s welcome as he sailed into Portsmouth after his 354-day round-the-world trip. And, closer still, the Coffee Pot opened its doors.

Although Matt and Cat hadn’t set foot in the cafe until its Ruby Jubilee (2008), when they did they were easily able to imagine that the place had probably not changed much over its 40 years.

Here be dragons!

Whilst sitting in the gloomy interior, its walls clad in pine like a Swedish steam room, Matt and Cat were sure they felt the presence of generations of mods, teddy boys, punks and builders – some of whom had taken the trouble to carve immortal hieroglyphics into the tabletops. Like so many other cafes for generations, the interior bore an atmospheric orangish patina of aged tobacco fumes on every internal surface. To add to the historical ambiance, a curling and much sellotaped map of the Isle of Wight languished against the wall, held up with drawing pins and 40 years of indifference. It was the kind of map of which Long John would be proud.

It’s probable that the menu has changed little from those early days; hearty fried breakfasts and sturdy meals such as lamb stew, liver, and various meat pies – all served with mash, veg and gravy – were on the bill of fare when Matt and Cat paid their visit. It’s possible that the prices were converted from old money when the country went decimal in 1971, as the meals were extremely purse-friendly: £1.60 for a jacket potato, £3.00 for bacon, egg and chips.

£2.60 breakfast

£2.80 breakfast

Matt and Cat stuck with tradition and chose all-day breakfast. Cat had the regular portion (£2.80) and Matt upgraded to kingsize (£4.60); two mugs of tea completed the order. Despite the seemingly prescriptive content of the breakfasts, the kind lady at the counter allowed some substitution – unlike Eegons, where there can be No Deviation. Whilst ordering, Cat couldn’t help but notice the big metal coffee pot on the counter, decorated with jaunty flowers in a canalware style. Was this the eponymous vessel?

£4.60 breakfast

£4.60 breakfast

Matt and Cat perused one of the complimentary daily papers whilst waiting for their fry-up. One thing that had changed, at least since Cat last looked at page three of The Sun, was that the lady had a bra on. Tits away for the lads, in these politically correct times (or perhaps because it was Saturday?). The cafe’s Ghosts of Punters Past rattled their chains in dismay.

The breakfasts arrived. Cat, having sampled the World’s Cheapest Breakfast (Ryde), was delighted with the difference an extra quid makes. Her breakfast steamed with 2 x very lean bacon, 1 x sausage, a perfectly fried egg, toast and a big pile of fresh mushrooms (in place of beans). Matt’s heartier breakfast had a varied pile which included all of the above plus chopped tomatoes, hash browns (instead of beans) and discs of fresh home-cooked bubble and squeak alternated with rings of black pudding in a satisfying display of striation. Rarely does a cafe breakfast offer bubble and squeak – and in this case it was implemented flawlessly.

The food was lovely; perfectly cooked and with good quality ingredients. The cafe itself may be showing its age but it’s an agreeably old-fashioned atmosphere, and, with 40 years of preparing breakfasts in Union Street, the Coffee Pot’s years of experience make all the difference.
The Coffee Pot, Ryde

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  • Chris, Steve & Mum

    21st September 2014 #1 Author

    Visited The Coffee Pot twice whilst on holiday recently (September 2014). The food was exceptional, with large portions, extremely well cooked. Staff went out of their way to please even when I ordered a sponge pudding, they unfortunately had run out and offered me an apple crumble as an alternative (yum yum yum!. Would gladly recommend to friends and family and we will definitely revisit very soon.
    Wishing all at the Coffee Pot well. Hope to see you soon.
    Chris, Steve & Mum

    Reply

  • anna

    13th February 2011 #2 Author

    tssk bloody overner! i adore the coffee pot, the breakfast is perfect hangover cure and always always lush. its got the greasy spoon bit down to a T. I’ve always been treated nicely by the staff who have always brought my breakfast over with no comments, and in fact have always done this for everyone there so i think mr hoighty toighty above me has his wires crossed. Always come here if i’m in ryde, its on par with lizzies in lake.

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  • Chris

    24th October 2010 #3 Author

    Tried this place on Saturday for the first time with my sister who travelled down from London for the day. The owners (I assume Mat & Cat) made us feel most unwelcome. We ordered at the counter and sat down. The food and drink was brought to us by the woman who mumbled something about ‘it’s not waitress service you know’ (of course if something had indicated we had to pick it up from the counter we would have). To cap it all, the food was disgusting.

    Reply

  • trevor farmer

    27th February 2008 #4 Author

    i have used the cafe at least twice a week for the past 16 years and have found the meals to be of exceptional value served in a friendly environment

    Reply

  • Graham Squibb

    23rd February 2008 #5 Author

    Simply the best in Ryde

    Reply

  • The Wildlife Gardener

    29th January 2008 #6 Author

    Just think, no modern cafe will ever have an ‘atmospheric… patina of aged tobacco fumes’. Aaah. Treasure The Coffee Pot.

    Reply