Café Royal will always and forever remind me of my good friend Heidi who introduced me to this hidden gem back in 2003 (I realise it’s very well-known now). I remember being shocked that I’d never heard of it, yet it was so close to Monument (I used to spend all of my spare time & money in Waterstones – which then became H&M and has recently closed down). Thanks Heidi!
When I started my blog last year, I wanted Café Royal to be the first place I featured. Off we went, very early one saturday morning, we ordered breakfast and I just couldn’t bring myself to take any photos (even though I had taken my camera out of my bag). It was already full with hungry diners and when a man glanced over, I assumed he hated me because I had a camera. Paranoid or what?! So a year later, I thought it was time to take some pics! I did get some funny looks, but I never photograph other diners so carried on doing my thing.
Located on Nelson Street, opposite the Grainger Market and a minute’s walk from Monument, it’s always been a favourite of mine over the years. I always turn up with the expectation that I’ll have to wait to be seated. It’s always busy, no matter when I go, which speaks volumes really. It’s an SJF establishment, but doesn’t feel like part of a chain at all. If anyone asks me where to go for breakfast/brunch in town, this is always my first suggestion.
Not surprisingly, I went for breakfast with my friend Julie and as always we discussed our food choices at length so there was no chance of food-envy :) I usually opt for Eggs Benedict/Florentine or Scrambled Eggs… but on this occasion I picked Waffles with Bacon & Maple Syrup and Julie chose the Café Royal Big Breakfast. I fancied a fruity juice as well as coffee so ordered the Berry Nice (I think that’s what it was called) and a Flat White. Tea for Julie. Obv.
The waffles and bacon were both crispy and delicious and there was more than enough maple syrup (I do worry about running out, there’s nowt worse than a dry waffle). I know this is going to sound odd, but despite really enjoying my food, I wish I’d chosen Scrambled Eggs or Eggs Florentine like I usually do – they’re just so good. Julie’s breakfast looked great, Blagdon sausages, dry cured bacon, fried egg, beans and local black pudding. The toast arrived after I’d taken photos and it seemed cruel to make her wait any longer to eat. The verdict was that it was tasty and filling. The black pudding was softer than Julie’s preference and the beans were very different. I wish I’d tasted the beans – I do love homemade baked beans.
Once you’re seated you order at the till, where there’s a huge array of delicious items to tempt you. I now regret not getting a few things to bring home. Namely, a chocolate florentine and a cheese scone.
I’m most likely to visit Café Royal for breakfast/brunch but lunch has always been brilliant too. I’ve not had the Afternoon Tea yet but it’s at the top of my list. It looks great and £25 for two is fine by me! It’s served from 2.30-5.30pm, Monday-Friday.
I’ve had both great service and average service during my countless visits, but it’s never been bad and I always go back… I love the feel of the place, as well as the delicious food. If you’ve not been, do pop along. If you’re going for breakfast maybe I’ll come with you! Would love to hear what you think if you’ve already eaten here :)
What should I order on my next visit?