“Simple Rustic Seasonal” is the mission statement on the menu displayed outside the door of this spacious, informal cafe-restaurant.
It's a large space divided into two areas so families with children can be directed to one area and adults only to another. A central desk with newspapers for punters and a wine and cookie store divides the two spaces and the decor is a cheerful mixum-gatherum of unmatched but comfortable tables and chairs, with the kitchen partly in view. A couple of pavement tables are available too, in fine weather.
The Kitchen is open all day from lunchtime onwards, offering everything from an impressive tea menu and homemade cakes and cookies to wide-ranging lunches and dinners, when you can have anything from a light snack, to pizzas (served stylishly on wooden platters from an on-view wood-fired oven), or choices from a short but well-balanced menu.
Here you will find some dishes that offer more formal dining (with a complimentary bowl of olives – but no bread offered) while others are more casual - the soup, pie, salad, and tart and dessert of the day - and there’s also a children's menu.
Although the ambience and long opening hours make it popular as a drop-in daytime place, evening meals have finesse, and (while you may have to ask to find this out) well-sourced ingredients are cooked with care.
Perfectly seared scallops, for example, may come with chorizo, finely chopped fresh tomato and a slightly spice caper sauce, while lamb cutlets are served with an intensely flavoured jus (served in a little copper pot on the side) and couscous deliciously flavoured with raisins and mint. Finish perhaps with a luscious plum tart with orange syrup and good coffee.
The wine list is shortish, but offers enough choice. Unsurprisingly, when covering such a wide range of options from the simple to a full dinner menu, the price range varies quite a bit when eating here.
However the cooking and careful sourcing of high quality foods remains the same and, although almost everything is cooked to order, service is prompt and friendly.