If you want a good breakfast in this town, there are really only a handful of good places to get it. I know I’m usually all “Café Royal this…” and “Butterfly Cabinet that…”, but I’ve been overlooking one key contender. Or should that be Quay contender? (I know, your sides are splitting right?)
Bad puns aside, Quay Ingredient, based on Queen Street on our gorgeous Quayside, is without doubt one of those good places to get a decent breakfast. But be alert people, limited tables and space mean that if you snooze, you lose. Literally. This place is cosy, and that’s putting it kindly. It works though. You walk in and everyone in there momentarily pauses to turn and look, as if you’re the late one to a party, with your excuses at the ready. Maggie the hostess greets you like she knew you were coming and you realise that you wouldn’t have received a warmer welcome had you actually been in the bosom of your own kitchen. The place will be packed, the kitchen will be busy, but the staff always find time to check how you’re doing and make sure you’re enjoying your food. Probably when your mouth is full. Cue enthusiastic nodding and premature swallowing!
On our most recent visit, we had tootled down on a breakfast mission bright and early on a Saturday morning. We were seated at the quirky Chesterfield sofa in the window, the one with the large chest as a table, while the sun poured in behind us. Breakfast was in full swing and the low hum of chatter mixed merrily with cooking sounds from behind the counter. I like the décor in there, it’s simple, minimalist, sort of Brooklyn dive meets British greasy spoon crossed with a continental trendy coffee house. Speaking of coffee, they offer some delicious blends and all are served with a home-made mini gingerbread man. Just ’cause at Quay Ingredient they’re nice like that.
On this particular visit we ordered a fresh orange juice, a (huge!) cappucino, a full cooked breakfast, the Eggs Benedict with parma ham and a serving of the wonderful chocolate-filled cinnamon pancakes. The fry-up is large and filling, comprising of all the usual suspects, except beans, which would normally be a deal-breaker but somehow isn’t. It’s simply perfect as it is. The sausages are fat and full of flavour, mushrooms, eggs and tomatoes are cooked perfectly, bacon is crispy and plentiful and everything on the plate is delicious. Toast is unlimited and Maggie pops over regularly to check if I need any more. I don’t take her up on the offer however because of course, I’m saving room for cinnamon pancakes.
The Eggs Benedict are fabulous. Perfectly poached eggs on layers of parma ham and a thick, creamy hollandaise sauce (which incidentally, tastes nice with any of the items from the cooked breakfast dipped in behind your boyfriend’s back!). The pancakes are SO moreish, I’m definitely asking for a double portion next time. I might be biased because cinnamon is one of my all-time favourite flavours, but these pancakes, heavy with cinnamon and sugar, and stuffed with melted chocolate drops, are just heavenly. Heavenly!
The bill is brought out swiftly after we ask for it, accompanied with friendly banter and well-wishes. Before we know it we’re back out on the sun-drenched street, ready to face the day – to take on anything after such a hearty breakfast! Or alternatively, to have a sit down and watch the Tyne drift by whilst digesting one of the best breakfasts in town. We went for option two.
If you’re one of the few people who haven’t already tried this small coffee house under the Tyne Bridge, I suggest you nip down at your earliest available opportunity and join the family. Quay Ingredient don’t just do breakfasts and I’m told the rest of their menu is just as impressive. I’ve just not been able to resist breakfast yet. Or pancakes.