Saturday, 19 April 2008

Coffee Morning At Holywood, County Down

There was a buzz and bustle at the Coffee Yard, where we enjoyed coffee and scones, this morning. It's a popular café with a regular crowd. We share our patronage between it and its rival up the road, the Bay Tree. The ordering system differs between the pair: In the Bay Tree you find a seat first; then waiting- staff take your order and you settle up at the till when you leave. Whereas at the Coffee Yard, you order your coffee (or whatever) and scones and pay for them as you enter the café. The Coffee Yard is much more self-service in fact, unless you order a cooked meal; in which case they'll bring it to you when it's ready.

We're always forgetting to bring something to our table, whether it's sugar, milk, butter, extra spoons or knives; this necessitates re-tracing one's footsteps backwards to the front-of-house area in order to fetch the item! In that sense, I prefer the arrangement at the Bay Tree which is simpler: find a seat, be served, pay the bill when leaving.

The scones at the Coffee Yard are very good indeed, as is the excellent jam which is served in tiny, plastic containers; it's usually raspberry I think, a favourite of mine. I invariably have the fruit scones. The coffee is good too, although mine was less than piping hot today. The bill for four of us was just over twelve pounds. Incidentally, the cooked breakfasts seem to be particularly popular and I must treat myself to one some time.

As far as coffee top-ups are concerned, the Bay Tree does 'em; the Coffee Yard doesn't seem to.

The Coffee Yard has a family following too, what with children of all ages; some exercising their young vocal chords to a fair extent!

We drove on to Church Road in Holywood. The well-established home bakery, Knott's of Newtownards has a branch there and I noticed that they sell a tempting range of chilled ready-meals like their celebrated stew in 500g cartons; prawn open sandwiches in little plastic containers; coronation chicken open sandwiches too; all costing around three pounds. Very handy for the fridge at home, saving the need to cook a meal for yourself if you're alone or whatever! Unless, of course, you purchased two.

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