If you were to peer inside Mrs Gales, you might think the place had been around for decades.
In fact this cafe has only been open since last December, but it’s been carefully styled as a Victorian tea rooms.
This vintage look has grown increasingly trendy, but Mrs Gale’s has obviously been put together with a lot of love.
On a Saturday lunchtime, a few other tables were occupied and we were invited to take our pick of tables by the two members of staff – they explained later that a colleague was away that day.
The menu is generally keeping with the theme – nothing too exotic, but plenty to enjoy.
There are a few breakfast-type options, a short list of sandwiches and a few specials on a blackboard, which included quiche on the day we visited.
In this retro setting, I chose the equally traditional choice of cheese on toast, asking for additional tomato.
Our order was taken by our lovely waitress, who was apologetic about our slight wait but needn’t have been.
Before our food, drinks arrived with a thoughtful little touch – my blackcurrant cordial came undiluted in a glass alongside a bottle of tap water, so I could make myself several glasses.
It wasn’t long before our food arrived and my cheese on toast did exactly what it said on the tin.
There weren’t any fancy flourishes, but when it cost £3.70, there was no reason to expect any.
My dining partner fancied something more substantial and opted for the corned beef hash, luckily snaffling the last portion.
The British classic seemed entirely in keeping with the vintage theme as the dish reminded us of Britain’s war efforts – appropriate in this the 100th anniversary year of World War One.
The clearly homemade hash arrived topped with two poached eggs cooked to perfection – when pricked with a fork the runny yolks oozed onto the plate, as they should.
He said the hash itself was richly flavoured, with potatoes and peas and with well-balanced levels of seasoning.
It was accompanied by two slices of wholemeal toast – an extra he requested – and was a delicious and comforting plate of food on an unseasonably cold day for the time of year, costing £5.75 for a hearty lunch. With drinks, we spent £13.25 and vowed to come back to try the appealing homemade cakes on the counter.
Mrs Gale’s has a warm atmosphere, and eating here also benefits a very worthy cause, we found out from the menu. The cafe had been envisaged by Marilyn Gale, but sadly she died from skin cancer before her dream could be realised. Instead her husband David masterminded its development and now the rent from the premises goes towards the M 4 Melanoma charity which he set up in her memory.
It’s a lovely idea and means a visit to Mrs Gale’s isn’t just pleasing for your stomach and your wallet, but for your soul too.