Sometimes you just want a hug in a mug and a filling breakfast served with a smile. Achieving all three of those things in a cafe is more difficult than you would think. Either the focus is on serving something a little more refined or the basic ingredients just aren’t good enough. Often they aren’t even cooked to order. The Courtyard Cafe is a really good “everyday” cafe that does the basic things really well and offers a few surprises too.
Courtyard Cafe is in a building which has been used as a cafe with mixed success over the years. The first thing that struck me about the latest iteration under the hard-working stewardship of Hazel was the welcome – smiling faces all round. Downstairs there is a small counter showing off the cakes and two tables. Upstairs there is a lot more seating – and in the summer there is seating outside.
The second thing I noticed was the menu. The choice is huge and good value. The basics are good – good coffee, including syrups, a choice of five hot chocolates and soft drinks. They’ve got everything to keep the youngest and oldest happy.
The next thing is breakfast. To me it is easily the best breakfast menu in Ashbourne. They do all the usual breakfast food, eggs any way, as either a breakfast on a plate, in a toastie, and oatcake or in a bap. Black pudding is on the menu and that always wins me round. There’s also a big choice of jacket potatoes and sandwiches. The daily specials are good cafe food everything is at reasonable prices. For anyone camping locally wanting a good start to their weekend or anyone looking for somewhere to read the papers – The Courtyard Cafe is one of the few places open on a Sunday.
The cafe is tucked away behind Bennett’s department store and doesn’t benefit from the passing trade some of the other cafes get. They have worked hard to support the takeaway trade as well as regulars.
I mentioned the surprises and there are a few. Firstly is the Courtyard – an area under cover and with heaters which is particularly good for larger groups or for cyclists who can bring their bikes into a safe place and are welcomed. The same applies for dog-owners. The Courtyard also has an alcohol licence so you can enjoy wine or beer with your food. Finally they are experimenting with the bistro concept in the evenings and this makes a nice alternative from a full formal sit-down meal. Tapas in the summer is a great way to wind down.
Give it a try for good value, fresh food using local produce served with a friendly smile.