Café Royal, on Nelson Street in Newcastle city centre, is one of those places that we all have on our list. You always mean to try it but never get round to it.
After seeing a fellow foody rave about their visits over on Twitter, we finally bit the bullet and paid a visit for breakfast. It was a toss up between here and Tyneside Café but as we passed here first, we ducked in.
I am firmly on the fence in regards to Café Royal and you can read why……
Café Royal always looks busy so it must be a good sign, right? With this in mind, we arrived for breakfast at 9am on a Saturday and managed to bag ourselves a table before it got really busy about 45 minutes later.
With menu’s on the table, the premise is you decide and then go up to the counter to order, drinks and food is then brought to you. I hate this concept in anything more than greasy spoon cafes and little coffee shops. If I am paying a certain amount, I expect to be served at my table. With the absolute abundance of wait staff present on our visit, I can’t see why this wouldn’t be a thing? It’s also why I’m not a fan of Nando’s but I digress.
With rumbly tums, we ordered a full English as we were pleased to see it had bacon from our local farm shop in Durham (Yay!) and the breakfast special of asparagus and eggs on toast. A pot of tea and a non alcoholic Strawberry Mojito helped wash the food down.
Pretty standard fare for a Full English, as you would expect but with no option of choosing how the egg is to be served. Where things are made fresh, it’s always disappointing when there’s no scope for choice. The usual baked beans were replaced with an interesting mix of beans in a tomato sauce. This made a nice change.
My asparagus with pancetta and eggs came and it was certainly a mountain of fresh vibrant eggs and warm buttered toast. The salty crispy pancetta cut through the richness of the eggs. I thought as we are coming in to asparagus season, 4 measly thin pieces was a bit scrimped and I would have gladly swapped half of the eggs for more. A nice, lighter alternative to Eggs Benedict or a fry up.
The strawberry mojito itself was 90% mint I am sure. Very refreshing, but I was still tasting that bad boy for days afterwards!
Maybe visiting for breakfast wasn’t the best time to showcase the quality of what Café Royal has to offer it’s customers, but hey ho. As part of a brewery chain, I definitely get the feeling Café Royal is more style over substance. I felt the whole visit was a mix of supermarket café and high end bistro. Not a juxtaposition I would expect, certainly not for the prices.
On whole, I can see the appeal but it’s not for me. I really wish we had continued on to the Tyneside.