Matt and Cat love Culver Down. The views from the top are magnificent, whether looking across to Sussex or lying on your back on a summer?s evening watching the Perseids meteor shower overhead. Culver’s pretty good at the base too; the Bembridge side has a family-friendly sandy beach with rockpools to explore, coloured cliffs, plus the Wonky Café.
The southern side of the chalky promontory has equally interesting geology; the red and white cliffs tower above and the beach is littered with fossils. If Matt and Cat have guests they often take them to this end of the Island and, on the day The Cat’s Mother deigned to visit they took her and the accompanying entourage to this easterly point. However, before they could explore the area they chose to have a hearty lunch at Yaverland Kiosk.
The kiosk used to be a bit of a shack but has since been reconstructed and is now a sturdy café; its double-glazed windows are snug enough to keep out the coastal draughts and there is plenty of outside seating for more clement days. As it was an unexpectedly hot afternoon, Matt and Cat’s party ate outside with a view of the sandy beach and the bay beyond. There was plenty of maritime activity on the sea; yachts, jet skis and intrepid bathers in the foreground and the usual tankers parked on the horizon.
Turning their attention to matters more close at hand, the group studied the menu. A range of classic café fare was on offer: burgers, jacket spuds, sarnies and cooked breakfasts. Cat chose bacon and egg-filled soft bap and Matthew, who was going to be climbing to the top of the down, decided to fortify himself with cheeseburger and chips. The rest of the party had filled baps too, plus a couple of rock cakes and teas all round.
Bacon & egg bap £2.60
Cheeseburger & chips £2.80
Tea @ 80p per cup £1.60
It wasn’t long before the cook brought out the lunches. They looked great. Cat, who’s a fussy mare when it comes to fried eggs, was delighted to see that hers was a perfect example of the genre. Runny yolk, properly cooked white and no brown crunchy stuff on the base. The bacon, too, was nicely done and not too fatty.
Matt’s burger and chips was a simple but palatable meal, with onions and a big hunk of real cheddar cheese – none of that sloppy processed gunk. All in all a decent lunch, quickly served in a picturesque spot.
The rest of the party nodded their approval at their lunches. The Cat’s Mother was particularly impressed with the rock cake. This is a woman who knows her home baking, proclaiming the cakes to be better than those sold at her local WI market. Praise indeed!
Having scoffed up, the party divided. Matt walked the Old Soldier up to the top of Culver Down to check out the view from the Culver Haven. Cat, Mother and Tim took the horizontal route to the foot of Culver Cliff where they found some spectacular fossils, including a bit of prehistoric coral.
On the way back to the rendezvous point The Cat’s Mother made a return visit to the kiosk and bought two more rock cakes. ?Tell them they’re the finest rock cakes on the Isle of Wight? she crowed. Now that’s endorsement!
NB: Open March to November annually