Was there ever a more perfect place for brunch than the hungover student’s favourite, The Butterfly Cabinet? Even though the achingly mismatched decor won’t help if you do actually have a hangover, the food is the very epitome of Comfort with a capital C. From giant sandwiches, to even bigger breakfasts you will certainly walk away satisfied thanks to this little cafe.
Previously known as The Belle & Herbs (am I showing my age?), The Butterfly Cabinet is located between Heaton and Jesmond. You could be forgiven for walking past it none-the-wiser except for the fact that there’s generally a queue outside the door, particularly on a Saturday or Sunday morning.
The menu itself is quite the unwieldy challenge, not for the faint-hearted or indecisive, especially when we’re seated at a small monopoly board table. Trying not to poke someone’s eye out is a logistical nightmare. You’ll be given two enormous, double sided, A3 sheets (plus a separate drinks menu). One is the breakfast menu; fry ups, a variety of servings of pancakes, other oddities and about a million different ways to have Eggs Benedict. The other A3 is the general all day food menu, including, but not limited to, an extensive club sandwich menu. We order Coconut Mochas (as good as it sounds), and flavored iced teas to drink. Food-wise I went for the standard English breakfast while my friend, opted for the Caesar Salad club sandwich. The highlight of the breakfast menu is an insanely large dish called ‘The Business’, but I wasn’t that hungry.
Both were extremely generous servings nonetheless. My companion’s plate came piled high with two halves of a sandwich that was clearly never going to fit in her mouth, tortilla chips and homemade purple coleslaw. She’d also chosen to add £1.50 and get a portion of proper chips. Alas these were in a HUGE bowl so I had to help her out. It’s hard being a good friend sometimes. My breakfast hit the spot; perfectly cooked and seasoned eggs, nice, thick bacon rashers, fat and meaty sausages, and perhaps my favourite thing about Butterfly Cabinet is the fact that they always give you plenty of beans. Simple things matter the most. I don’t even especially like beans the rest of the time but with a full fried breakfast I like to have enough to have beans on each and every forkful. I can’t stand only being given a tablespoon of beans and then struggling to find any moisture in what is inevitably a fairly dry plate of greasy food.
We also, greedily, ordered a portion of the buttermilk pancakes for a sort of shared pudding. With hindsight this was not wise. They came, far bigger than we were expecting, served with butter and maple syrup. My chum ate two pathetic tiny bits of pancake and declared herself full while I struggled on gallantly with the rest. I almost managed. Kind of.
So The Butterfly Cabinet wins again. In the search for quantity AND quality one is rarely* disappointed here. And it’s also excellent value for money at around £5-£7 per main dish. The only real issue is trying to find a table when the entire population of Tyneside also knows how great this place is.
*I say ‘rarely’ because I once had a very dry, chewy steak in one of their otherwise potentially nice Rio Grande club sandwiches. Hey, no one’s perfect!
Butterfly Cabinet can be found at 200 Heaton Road and is open Mon-Sat 9am-5pm and Sunday 10am-4pm. Check them out on Facebook and Twitter for more info on the odd gig they host in their cosy little venue.