Where? Trinity Street, Colchester, CO1 1JN
What? Modern cafe serving breakfast, lunch, cakes and teas.
How much? Bargains all round, £15 for two
Breakfast out has become a bit of a non-starter since our local venue of choice closed its doors, but a chance early morning in Colchester town some weeks ago had us heading towards a wee cafe that we have many times hmmed and aaaahed about trying. On this particular occasion travelling to said café where we have often looked at the menu then walked on by, we came past Café Twenty One, and decided to try there instead! Sorry Other Anonymous Café, maybe next time.
You’d be forgiven from the street entrance for expecting a tight dining experience but on getting through the front doors from Trinity Street, Café Twenty One stretches out from a smaller reception area through a long, narrow building into a much airier dining space and a frankly delightful patioed area. The Mr particularly enjoys the walk past their prep area in the middle of the ground floor for a sneak peek at what is to come and (in the mornings) a decent waft of bacon to whet the appetite.
Inside is pretty sturdy and bright with classic red check table cloths leaving the split general feeling of somewhere both grown up and a tiny bit cutesy.
Outside, curling wrought iron chairs and tables are dotted around the split level patio area which is almost completely shaded and bordered with much lush greenery and potted plants. It’s really lovely for those days when al fresco is a climate appropriate option and blissfully protected from both sunburn and bothersome birds.
As well as the hostas to talk to in the garden it is worth noting an impressive tea menu available at C21 along with all your usual suspect coffee and soft options. The menu on the whole here is as expected: modern café stuff with some really inventive twists that are worth bypassing the Full English for. As someone quite strongly lamenting the lack of cheese in their life due to dietary restrictions, I would direct your gaze to the cheese scones with bacon, beans and onion chutney found in the Brunch section. Droooooooool.
A Full English or veggie equivalent with a hot beverage will cost you just £5.75 before 11am and the meaty version is available all day for an extra quid. Various incarnations of egg on toast, a breakfast bagel with everything, Welsh Rarebit and those scones of my dreams are available all day. Of course they do Avocado Toast. And it is all pretty reasonable with everything coming in between £5 and £7 a plate. Warning- they will try to upsell you on hash browns. Warning no 2- you should absolutely be upsold on those hashbrowns unless you are married to the standard mass-produced triangular frozen ones you get everywhere else. These are the real deal- dense little nuggets of potato and onion fried to perfect levels of crispy. Absolutely wonderful, though not insubstantial and the Mr and I tend to share an order of these if we’re having a full breakfast to avoid being completely belly busted before 10am.
Those hashbrowns sum up the Café Twenty One experience for me really- traditional though creative, modern comfort food without any fuss.
If there is a downside here they serve the coffee in those funny glass mugs which I always find a bit weird and you might share your garden table with a money spider or two but neither is really cause for concern. Service has always been friendly and prompt on our several visits and I can’t really recommend them enough, get in there for a garden breakfast before the summer ends!
Check out the menu, local supplier affiliations and bookings here : http://foodanddrinkat21.co.uk/