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We review the food at the Cheese Room Deli and Cafe on Rochester High Street


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With the beautiful weather we’ve been having, I thought I’d make the most of it and take a walk into town for lunch.

The Cheese Room Botanicals, found just opposite Rochester Castle, seemed like a perfect place to grab a sandwich and take in the views.

View of Rochester Castle from the Cheese Room Botanicals, my first stop before heading to its sister shop, the Cheese Room Deli and Cafe. Picture: Sam Lawrie
View of Rochester Castle from the Cheese Room Botanicals, my first stop before heading to its sister shop, the Cheese Room Deli and Cafe. Picture: Sam Lawrie

I hit a bump in the road, however, when I reached the door and found a ‘closed’ sign hanging in the window.

I should’ve checked online first - who doesn’t Google a restaurant before going out these days?

Luckily for me, its sister spot, the Cheese Room Deli and Cafe, is just a couple of minutes down the High Street, so I headed in that direction instead.

Luckily the Cheese Room Deli and Cafe is open seven days a week. Picture: Sam Lawrie
Luckily the Cheese Room Deli and Cafe is open seven days a week. Picture: Sam Lawrie

A short, sunny walk later and I was at the cafe which, thank goodness, is open on Mondays and was bustling with customers.

Sadly, I was flying solo this lunchtime - but let’s be honest, doesn’t an hour out in the sunshine, enjoying a lovely lunch in the peace and quiet, actually sound blissful?

There were plenty of cheese-filled choices for lunch. Picture: Sam Lawrie
There were plenty of cheese-filled choices for lunch. Picture: Sam Lawrie

Still, I wanted to get a good taste of the place so I ordered a few different things - for review purposes, of course.

The board above the counter listed several cheesy bites, from sandwiches to sharing boards, quesadillas and salads.

The Cheese Room Deli and Cafe also offered lots of baked goods, from cakes to pastries. Picture: Sam Lawrie
The Cheese Room Deli and Cafe also offered lots of baked goods, from cakes to pastries. Picture: Sam Lawrie
Sweet treats and artisan cheeses tempted me while I waited to order. Picture: Sam Lawrie
Sweet treats and artisan cheeses tempted me while I waited to order. Picture: Sam Lawrie

I went for two of the toasties, the classic and the triple cheese with sweet chilli, along with a very tempting Biscoff blondie that was staring at me from the glass counter.

The server very kindly and patiently went through all the different coffee-free iced drinks, and helped me eventually settle on a berry iced tea.

After a short wait, I strolled back up to the castle grounds, clutching my goodies, and within five minutes found myself a patch of warm grass with Rochester's historic Norman castle as my backdrop.

Lunch with a view in the grounds of Rochester Castle. Picture: Sam Lawrie
Lunch with a view in the grounds of Rochester Castle. Picture: Sam Lawrie

I popped my headphones on, pressed play on my favourite podcast (currently Brett Goldstein’s Films to be Buried With, if anyone’s interested) and carefully unpacked my lunch.

I tried the classic toastie first, which is a sourdough bread stuffed with strong Wookey Hole cheddar cheese, fresh tomato, red onion, and basil.

It was, quite frankly, delicious.

My first sandwich was a classic cheese toastie with a messy dollop of sauce. Picture: Sam Lawrie
My first sandwich was a classic cheese toastie with a messy dollop of sauce. Picture: Sam Lawrie

It came with a side of tangy, salsa-like ketchup, which was equally tasty. It’s just a shame I’d slopped most of it all over the takeaway box on my walk.

The triple cheese toastie was nice, but didn't have as much flavour as I wanted. Picture: Sam Lawrie
The triple cheese toastie was nice, but didn't have as much flavour as I wanted. Picture: Sam Lawrie

Next up was the triple cheese toastie, made with gruyere, mozzarella and cheddar and sweet chilli. I didn’t get much spice, but it was satisfactorily gooey and came with a smoky tomato sauce.

There's always room for dessert... just about. Picture: Sam Lawrie
There's always room for dessert... just about. Picture: Sam Lawrie

I then took a bite of my blondie. Not as sweet as its brownie counterpart, it had almost a saltiness from the biscuity Biscoff, which complemented the sugar well. It was a wedge of a cake and I couldn’t finish it, but it wasn’t for the want of trying.

All of this was washed down with my berry iced tea. Despite being a little watery, as I find most iced teas to be, it had a light, refreshing flavour and, most importantly as I sat out in the midday sun, it was cold.

Not a bad place to sit on a Monday lunchtime. Picture: Sam Lawrie
Not a bad place to sit on a Monday lunchtime. Picture: Sam Lawrie

Thanks to my desire to sample a couple of different things, I couldn’t actually manage all of it. I saved half of each sandwich for later, and can confirm they make pretty tasty leftovers too.

It feels good to support a local business, especially in these tough times, but it helps when the food really hits the spot too.

If you want to catch a few hours of nice weather and appreciate some of Rochester’s finest landmarks, I recommend stopping off here for some cheese-filled delights to take with you.

The grounds of Rochester Castle are open to all and free to enter, so make the perfect picnic spot. Picture: Sam Lawrie
The grounds of Rochester Castle are open to all and free to enter, so make the perfect picnic spot. Picture: Sam Lawrie

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Ratings out of five

Food: The classic toastie was perfect, the triple cheese could do with more spice but was still good. Lots of options on the menu, including vegan cheese. ****

Drink: Nice to have an iced drink on a hot day, plus they offer takeaway double G&Ts - what’s not to love? ****

Decor: The exterior could do with a touch up, but inside it’s cosy and welcoming. ****

Staff: Attentive, friendly and happy to talk through the menu. *****

Price: The toasties are large and the blondie was easily shareable, so I didn’t think my bill of £16.25 was too bad. ****

Up for a picnic? Kent has loads of parks and grand green spaces, perfect for a bit of al fresco, blanket-based action. If you need some inspiration click here to check out the county's most Instagrammable picnic spots.

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