When I joined the Guardian in January last year, The Dukeries Cafe was the first place I reviewed.
So a year and a half later I decided it was high time to pay another visit and see if it still measured up. And I’m pleased to say it did.
On a sunny Friday afternoon the bright and airy cafe was busy inside and out, with a steady stream of customers. Some were just enjoying a cup of tea and slice of toast while others tucked into hearty main meals.
I took a seat by the window and had a look at the menu. As last time there was so much on offer it took me a while to make a decision.
The cafe offers a wide selection of breakfast choices, served all day, from a full friend breakfast, to scrambled eggs on toast and breakfast sandwiches to name but a few options.
A wide selection of sandwiches, baguettes and toasties are available at £3.95, along with paninis at £4.25.
Add to that a good choice of main meals for around £5 including scampi, chips and peas, steak and ale pie and lasagne – the delight I sampled on my last visit.
This time I was after something a little lighter as it was a warm and sunny day, so I decide to give a panini a whirl.
I went for the chicken and mozzarella panini at £4.25 and, being a little greedy, added bacon as an extra filling for 30p. Worried my choice might be a bit too healthy, I got a side order of chips.
As before the staff are warm and friendly, the waitress who took my order asking how I was.
After paying, I sat back down and within a couple of minutes my drink was with me. A little while after, my food arrived – and it was lovely.
The panini was made with lovely fresh ciabatta, good chunks of chicken and tasty bacon. They didn’t scrimp on the mozzarella either, which was unctuous and creamy.
Along with the panini, which in all honesty was an ample meal in itself, came a mixed salad and home made coleslaw.
The salad of lettuce, cucumber, red onion and tomato was fine, but could have been a little more exciting, maybe with some other ingredients or dressing. The coleslaw was tasty, but a little heavy on the mayonnaise so I couldn’t manage much of it.
The chips, which came in a portion more than big enough for two to share, were lovely. Crisp on the outside, fluffy on the inside and piping hot.
Last time I was too full to try desert – and I’m afraid to say the same thing happened again. Which was a shame as the scones with jam and cream at just £2.25 looked amazing. Third time lucky maybe?
by Claire O’Neill
Star rating HHHH