I ate my breakfast surrounded by remote control cars and model planes – there’s a sentence I never thought I’d write.
Having lived just down the road from Rochester Airport for a few years now, I decided it was finally about time I paid the place a visit, especially upon hearing that there’s a cosy cafe located just next to the airfield.
When we arrived in the car park, I soon realised that the cafe was, in fact, a model shop for remote control car, plane and boat enthusiasts with some tables and chairs inside.
This rather niche hobby is one that I have zero experience with so I wasn’t really sure what to expect. Would the fish-out-of-water look on my face give me away and lead to us being shunned by the RC fanatics inside?
Thankfully, the customers were far too preoccupied with the models to even notice us.
For a specialist shop in a pretty secluded location, it wasn’t without trade and one customer was deep in conversation with a member of staff, admiring the new colour of a particular model and asking to take it for a test run.
The cafe, which is tucked into the left side of the shop, had a couple of people milling around its tables but was otherwise empty.
We’d gone first thing on a Sunday morning and were hoping for a decent ‘caff’ breakfast, but soon realised this wasn’t that sort of place and we’d probably end up having an early lunch than a late breakfast.
The menu listed sandwiches and snacks, all of which were prepackaged and neatly displayed at the counter, but unfortunately there was no fry-up or full English in sight.
Left with limited options, we ended up plumming for a cheese and mushroom toastie and a mozzarella panini, along with a cup of tea and a latte.
Despite the cafe only being a small part of what goes on here, the drinks were proudly presented in branded RC Rochester mugs, with a complimentary biscuit on the side. The coffee was even their own blend, which my partner had high praise for.
There’s not much you can say about a cuppa, but it was my first tea of the day so went down nicely.
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Our ‘breakfast’ came out soon after, delivered to our table with a smile from the friendly server.
The mushroom toastie was very cheesy – a little too cheesy for this time in morning – but it had good flavour and came out piping hot.
The panini was also flavoursome from the pesto and had a very satisfying cheese pull. However, there’s not really much difference between these and any prepackaged sandwich you’d find at other coffee shops.
What makes the difference here, however, is the setting. When you can see a private plane taking off in one direction and a shop full of model displays in the other, it’s a unique view and eating breakfast surrounded by remote control cars was certainly a first for me.
It’s also obvious that a lot of effort has been put into making this a clean, smart and modern place to eat, and the staff obviously care about their customers enough to give them a fully-rounded shopping experience.
As we were leaving, a couple came in looking for a first remote control car for their son and we spent a few minutes browsing the shop to see what the most expensive model was. We tapped out, £750!
Out of five:
Food: It was decent – nothing special, but we didn’t have any complaints either. ***
Drink: The drinks list was surprisingly extensive, and offering their own RC Rochester coffee blend was a nice touch. You can even buy a bag to take home. ***
Decor: The cafe isn’t exactly decorated, but the shop is fit to burst with remote control cars, hanging model planes and posters, and you can see parts of the airport through the windows. If you’re an aviation enthusiast, this is the place to visit. ****
Staff: The server inside the cafe was friendly and attentive. I could overhear the staff inside the shop advising numerous customers and they really seemed to know their stuff. ***
Price: Two toasties and two hot drinks came to £15.55. I wouldn’t begrudge paying that for lunch (or ‘breakfast’) but almost £6 for a prepackaged sandwich felt a bit steep. **