KentOnline reporter Chantal Weller grabbed lunch at the Mermaid Cafe – and was left feeling like she was on holiday...
After a warm walk in the scorching sun along the stunning Mermaid Beach in Folkestone, a drink was certainly needed as the afternoon arrived.
Hidden above the promenade within the trees, the Mermaid Cafe is not huge but offers the most incredible views of the shoreline.
It’s also a good place to escape the hordes of visitors who head to the town’s most popular attraction – the harbour arm – which is just under a mile further along the coast.
We took a seat at one of the 10 spots to sit outside. There are several more tables inside if the sun gets a bit much.
Offering a variety of different food and drink options, including ice creams, which everyone was after, the Mermaid Cafe has something for everyone.
The protocol for ordering is to queue at the counter, make your order, pay and receive drinks there. You then give your name for any food which needs to be prepared and take a seat and wait. We decided to order a couple of toasted sandwiches and waited in anticipation for them to arrive.
No more than 10 minutes later, we were greeted with our two tantalising toasties. We decided to go for a cheese and caramelised onion and a ham and cheese, both on brown bread. They were top-notch.
The bread was thick and toasted to perfection. Sometimes toasties can go soggy when loaded with cheese, but these were certainly not.
They were served in a cardboard box with some salted crisps, giving customers the option to take a seat at the cafe or take their food away.
We certainly got one of the best seats in the outdoor area overlooking the stunning beach. The table also had an umbrella so we were shaded from the sun.
To accompany my bite to eat, I opted for a vanilla iced latte, which was divine. It offered the perfect level of sweetness and was a respectable size, making it good value for money.
After enjoying our toasties, it was then only right to hop back in the queue for an ice cream as the temperatures got close to 30C.
I went for a Mr Whippy, of course with a flake. It was lovely and thick with a hint of vanilla – the perfect ice cream.
All in all, the food was a delight.
Was it worth the money?
Although at face value you may think £5.50 for a toastie is a bit steep, given the quality of ingredients, portion sizes, and stunning views to accompany your meal, it was certainly worth the price.
The vanilla iced latte was about £4.60. It was refreshing and almost too big to finish!
The ice cream was £3 which could be viewed as pricey, but on a hot day like this, I would say it was worth it.
What else is on offer?
The cafe also offers other bites to eat including hot dogs, bacon rolls, jacket potatoes, buddha bowls, crumpets, soup, cakes, biscuits and crisps..
Fillings-wise for sandwiches, rolls and buddha bowls, there is a huge variety including ham and cheese, mozzarella and tomato, tuna and cheese, cheese and caramelised onion, and brie, cranberry and red onion.
There are also children’s and vegan options, so there is certainly something on the menu for everyone.
Drinks-wise, the cafe offers hot, cold and alcoholic drinks – including local Curious Brew Lager and IPA.
This hidden gem of a cafe could be overlooked if it were not in such a stunning and popular location, so I would urge you to pay it a visit.
While the location lends itself hugely to the experience, the food and drink was also of a high quality and all freshly prepared, making it taste that bit better.
Overlooking the beautiful blue sea, I felt as though I was on holiday when I was only 20 minutes from home enjoying a cheese toastie – which was one of the best I have eaten.
The cafe offered a calming atmosphere as, of course, there is nothing more peaceful and tranquil than the beach.
Although we did have to queue upon arrival, it was only for a matter of minutes. Once we got to order, the service was quick and to a high standard, and the staff were all incredibly friendly and happy despite the heat.
I would highly recommend you pay the Mermaid Cafe a visit the next time you take a trip to Folkestone seafront. It is the perfect place for a delicious lunch which overlooks one of Kent’s most stunning beaches.