Words Anne-Claire Heels
WHET MY APPETITE. Mersea Barns Shop & Café is set in a custom-built barn on the east of the island. The light-filled building features a shop selling giftware, local foodstuffs and drinks on one side and the bright café-restaurant on the other. Outside at the back you’ll find more tables and chairs and tranquil countryside views. To the front, there’s parking for cars and bikes. Whether you’re out for a walk with your dog, want a takeaway bacon sarnie for the beach, meeting pals for tea and cake, or fancy a lovely lunch on your day trip or holiday, then this is the ideal destination. Pick up a pot of jam (well, when in Essex…) and a memento of your visit in the shop before you go.
WHAT’S ON THE MENU? Quality is the watchword here – you can taste it. Menus change regularly to take advantage of the fabulous seasonal produce available. The breakfast menu offers fresh pastries, pancakes with berries, avocado and poached eggs on sourdough toast, as well as full cooked breakfast options. For lunch there are tasty salads, sandwiches, quiche and pasta, and roast dinners on Sundays. Gluten-free bread is available on request. There’s a good range of hot and cold drinks, and some seriously tempting cakes and scones. And yes, I did give in to temptation, with a slice of a Biscoff sponge that was simply delicious.
HOW’S THE MOOD? Relaxed and peaceful, thanks to the rural location. There’s plenty of room whether you choose to eat indoors in the airy café, or in the outdoor area, where tables are nicely spaced out, with some in the sun and some in the shade. Staff are friendly and hospitable, greeting you warmly the minute you walk in, making for a really pleasant visit all round.
CAN I SEE THE SEA? You can’t, but the beach at Cudmore Grove Country Park is only a few minutes’ drive away. Pick up a snack and take it to enjoy there.
WHAT’S THE DAMAGE? The breakfast menu ranges from toast and jam for £2.95, all the way up to a full Barns Breakfast at £14. Lunches cost from around £8-£14. A flavoursome sausage roll is £3.50.
OPENING TIMES. Daily, from 8.30am-4pm. Breakfast is served from 8.30am-11.30am, and lunch is from 12 noon-3.30pm. Cakes, snacks and drinks are served all day.
TO BOOK. Book online at merseabarns.com or call 01206 384198.