Katherine Brand heads up the Wye Valley from Chepstow to tuck into both savoury and sweet treats at the somewhat eccentric Henry’s Cafe, Monmouth.
Hidden away in a peaceful, spacious courtyard in the small Welsh town of Monmouth, Henry’s Cafe is a haven for cyclists; the perfect place to take an undoubtedly well-deserved mid-ride rest.
Plenty of outdoor tables and bike-leaning space make this a practical cafe choice for group rides, but when it comes to the food on offer, you can expect more than just practicality at Henry’s Cafe. On our visit, we initially plumped for one of the outdoor tables, but being an overcast Sunday in early May, we soon gave up on our hardy cyclist façade and scurried indoors for some warmth.
And I was so glad that we did – it would have been a great shame to have missed out on passing an hour or so in this quirky, bright and characterful establishment. Though fairly quiet upon our arrival, the cafe soon began to bustle, with fellow cyclists and folk out for Sunday brunch alike joining the merry throng.
“…it would have been a great shame to have missed out on passing an hour or so in this quirky, bright and characterful establishment…”
We perused the menu and both plumped for baguettes, with the promise of cake to follow. These arrived swiftly – egg and cress for me and bacon for my companion – along with an earl grey and a cappuccino.
The baguettes were of generous size and with plenty of filling, while the side salads were big, fresh and colourful; you’ll find no limp lettuce leaves here! My egg was sliced simply rather than mashed with heaps of mayonnaise, making for a refreshing change, and the bacon slices were of epic thickness.
Being a little full after our jumbo baguettes, but eager to refuel properly for the return leg of an 80-mile ride and, more importantly, to sample some of Henry’s cake, we opted to share a slice of carrot cake. This proved to be a solid choice; the cake was moist and boasted a layer of sweet icing for some extra energy.
Washed down with a particularly good pot of loose leaf tea, and a cup of warming – though not exceptional – coffee, we felt reinvigorated and ready for the return leg of our ride.
Henry’s Cafe is a jolly place that stands out for its friendly service, cosy and colourful décor and tasty, filling food. The menu choice isn’t limited to baguettes either – indeed there’s a wide array of meals to choose from, with traditional cooked breakfasts and British favourites also tempting our taste buds.
“…a jolly place that stands out for its friendly service, cosy and colourful décor and tasty, filling food…”
But ultimately, the focal point of any cyclist’s pit stop is cake, so it’s surely a good sign that I left with mouth watering, already anticipating a return visit.
This was largely thanks to spending a good few minutes eyeing up their homemade sponge selection while paying our bill. Indeed, several weeks after our visit I’m still dreaming about the slice of cherry bakewell cake awaiting me next time I cycle through Monmouth! I can’t wait!