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Gravesend's Nell's Café that has featured in BBC's Killing Eve and Idris Elba's Sky comedy The Long Run review


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Have you ever wanted to dine with the stars? Well, if you head into north west Kent you might be in with a chance.

Sat just off the A2 at Marling Cross in Gravesend, Nell's Cafe has been used as a filming location for countless shows including BBC's Killing Eve, Sky One's Temple and Idris Elba's comedy In The Long Run featuring comic legend Bill Bailey.

The café is a popular filming location
The café is a popular filming location
Manager Sandra Hassan with Bill Bailey during filming for Idris Elba's Sky comedy In The Long Run
Manager Sandra Hassan with Bill Bailey during filming for Idris Elba's Sky comedy In The Long Run

The 70-year-old diner also featured as part of a special version of ITV's Long Lost Family with presenter Davina McCall even returning for a bite to eat a few days later.

She ordered smoked salmon for those who are interested.

But more recently Neighbours star and Torn singer Natalie Imbruglia filmed a music video there.

It is a pitstop for not only film-makers but locals, workers and bikers holding a popular bike night on Thursdays.

But what is the appeal of Nell's? And is the food as award-winning as the actors that have filmed there?

You can't go wrong with a mug of tea
You can't go wrong with a mug of tea
The tuna mayo jacket was perfect I was told
The tuna mayo jacket was perfect I was told

I must admit I have lived in the area for all of my 22 years but I cannot remember the last time I stepped into Nell's Cafe, which feels like a crime.

So me and my lunchtime companion - my mum - stepped into the unassuming café on an unassuming Friday afternoon and were immediately surprised to see most of the tables were taken by families and workmen alike.

I must admit I was slightly disappointed that we weren't interrupting the next BBC prime time drama or joined by anyone famous but we headed to the counter to order our lunch anyway.

Opting for a somewhat healthier option my mum landed on a tuna jacket potato but in an ironic twist asked for no salad - arguably the healthy part of the mayonnaise covered carb.

"I won't eat it, it's just a waste", she says. Fair enough, I can't really argue with that.

The standard breakfast came with a choice of tea or coffee
The standard breakfast came with a choice of tea or coffee

I went for their standard breakfast (£6.50) which included two rashers of bacon, a sausage, fried egg, beans, tinned or fresh tomatoes, fried slice and bread and butter and either a tea or a coffee.

We were given an order number to listen out for, handed our two teas and told to take a seat. We opted for a windowside table to take in the scenic views - of the A2.

Within 10 minutes of ordering our food arrived and did not disappoint.

My breakfast was just the right size and exactly what I had been craving. The bacon may not be cooked enough for some but I was happy, the fried slice was both crispy and soft and the sausage was cooked perfectly.

The meal was served with a slice of baguette with a ton of butter.

Being picky, I would have preferred a runnier egg to dip the bread into and personally I didn't like the beans but not everything can be a winner.

Cafe manager Sandra Hassan (second from right), with actors Darren Boyd, Sandra Oh (second from left) and Kirby Howell-Baptiste (far right)
Cafe manager Sandra Hassan (second from right), with actors Darren Boyd, Sandra Oh (second from left) and Kirby Howell-Baptiste (far right)

I was told the potato was hot but "not the tuna, obviously". It was a good portion size that fit the lunchtime expectation and left my mum full.

It wasn't the most mind-blowing experience but it was exactly what I want from my local café and I will definitely be returning with or without a film crew.

And if it's good enough for Bill Bailey it's good enough for me.*

*I have no idea if Bill Bailey actually ate or liked the food but seeing his smile on the photo hung on the wall tells me all I need to know.

Alex gives Nell's Cafe a thumbs up
Alex gives Nell's Cafe a thumbs up
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Out of five:

Food: The fry-up was nice but it could have done with a runnier egg. I was told the jacket was top-notch too ****

Drink: Tea is hard to get wrong ****

Decor: It has that classic American diner charm about it without being over the top ***

Staff: The girls were all very welcoming and the service was quick *****

Price: A standard fry up, jacket potato and two mugs of tea for £13.30 is pretty reasonable *****

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