I know you know this. I know you do. But on the off-chance that you don’t, I’m going to tell you anyway.
If you want breakfast in this town, there are only a few good places to get it. I know we’re usually all “Butterfly Cabinet this” and “Café Royal that” but we’re forgetting one key contender. Or should that be ‘Quay” contender..?
Quay Ingredient, on Queen Street, is one of those places. But be alert people; limited tables and space means you snooze – you lose.
This place is cosy. And that’s putting it kindly. But it works. You walk in and, as everyone kind of momentarily pauses mid-mouthful and heads turn toward you, you feel like the last person to arrive at a party of old friends, with your excuses at the ready; “Sorry guys, traffic was crazy. Glad to see you’ve all started….”. And, as Maggie the hostess greets you like she knew you were coming, you realize that wouldn’t have received a warmer welcome had you actually been in the bosom of your own kitchen. The place will be heaving, the kitchen is busy but here they’ll still find time to check how you’re doing and make sure that you’re enjoying your food. Probably when your mouth is full. Cue enthusiastic nodding and premature swallowing.
On our most recent visit Mr SB and I had tootled down on a breakfast mission bright and early Saturday morning. We were not disappointed. We were seated at the quirky leather chesterfield type 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 here. It’s simple, minimalist, sort of Brooklyn dive, meets British greasy spoon, meets trendy coffee house. Speaking of coffee, the coffee here is pretty nice and usually comes with a tiny homemade gingerbread man. Just ‘cos at QI they’re nice like that.
On this particular visit we ordered a fresh orange juice, a (huge) cappuccino, a full fried breakfast, the eggs benedict with parma ham and a serving of the wonderful chocolate-filled cinnamon pancakes. The fry up is large and filling. It contains all of the usual suspects. No beans though, which should be a deal breaker but somehow isn’t. It’s perfect just as it is. The sausages are fat and meaty (and leeky?), there’s plenty of food on your plate and it all tastes delicious. Toast is unlimited and Maggie comes over at regular intervals to check whether or not I need any more. I don’t take her up on her offer because of course I am saving room for cinnamon pancakes. The eggs benedict are fabulous. Perfect poached eggs, layers of parma ham and a thick creamy hollandaise (which incidentally also tastes nice with any of the items off the fried breakfast dipped in it behind your boyfriend’s back). The pancakes are so moreish. I’m totally asking for a double portion next time. I’m not sure I’ve mentioned this to you lot yet but cinnamon is one of my all time favourite flavours so these pancakes, heavy with cinnamon and sugar, and stuffed with melted chocolate drops, are just heavenly. HEAVENLY.
The bill is brought swiftly, accompanied by friendly banter and well wishes, and then we’re back out on the street, in the sunshine, ready to face the day. To take on anything! Or merely have a sit down and watch the Tyne drift by while we digest one of the best breakfasts in town. We went for option two.
If you are one of the few people who don’t already frequent the ‘small coffee house underneath a big bridge’, then I suggest you nip down at your earliest available opportunity and join the family. QI do offer other foods alongside the breakfasts, which are served all day on weekends I believe. You can also, I’m told, sample a sandwich or tuck into a toastie. I’ve just not yet been able to resist breakfast. And pancakes.