REVIEW: Quay Ingredient, Queen Street, Newcastle

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I’VE been stalking this popular coffee shop on social networking sites, watching fellow food-lovers shower it with praise.

But its 8am-5pm opening hours (closed Tuesdays) meant I couldn’t add my voice – until a wet Sunday sent a friend and me looking for comfort food.

I finally made the trip along Newcastle’s Quayside, where the Quay Ingredient is tucked away under the Tyne Bridge, recently celebrating its 85th birthday, fact fans.

Breakfasts are served all day at weekends and here the most important meal of the day is taken seriously.

Choose from simple eggs and soldiers or splash out with foie gras with eggs and brioche, with prices starting from just £2.95.

There was only one portion left of hollandaise sauce for Eggs Benedict when we arrived, admittedly a good six hours after the cafe opened.

Luckily too late to earn the awful term of brunch, we still fancied a breakfast dish.

My friend is a vegetarian and her dining options were more limited, so I let her go for Eggs Florentine – a twist on the decadent favourite which swaps meat for spinach.

There’s a lot of elements to get right in this classic dish, but the Quay Ingredient delivered, with perfectly poached eggs topping an evenly-toasted muffin, layered with spinach which had been lovingly kept away from the point of sogginess, drenched in creamy homemade sauce.

I chose scrambled eggs served with smoked salmon, sourced locally from Robson fishmongers in Craster, north Northumberland.

The eggs were firm, plump and rich – a perfect pairing to the delicately-smoked salmon, which I would have preferred combined rather than separately, as it was served.

Aside from breakfast dishes, the cafe also serves up a range of inventive sandwiches, including salted ham hock with homemade apple sauce and grilled Craster kippers with pickled beetroot.

There’s also salads and toasties, plus a soup of the day, which are all about the £5 mark.

With two pots of tea, our middle-of-the-day meal came to £17.50.

Small and cosy, its interior is warmed even more by great customer service and a biltong machine, which is just about to launch the South African home-cured meat on eagerly-awaiting diners.