Review: Me & Mrs Jones
Me and Me & Mrs Jones - we got a thing going on. What is it about this continental-style deli-caf that has Muddy going back for seconds?
I’ve been obsessively insta-stalking this pretty daytime cafe deli so when the cook (Mr Muddy) went away for the weekend and being overcome with a strong desire not to go anyway near the oven, I peeled the kids away from their phones and whisked them off for lunch.
Just off the coastal road on your way into Torquay, it’s in leafy Wellswood village, tucked into a parade of indie shops, including a couple of spas (treatment rooms not pools), a bridal store and rummage-worthy boutiques.
It’s family run by Mr and Mrs Jones and it feels like fun and familiar. Mrs Jones, otherwise known as Penny had apparently always wanted a deli and instead of a silver anniversary present she got one from Mr Jones. Isn’t that cute? It’s playful, full of character and feels rooted in the Wellswood community, with funny, welcoming signs about what’s on: a real locals caff.
The window tempts you in with wicker hampers, and local goodies and the chalkboard outside promises cake, wine, gin, olives, salads. It also claims to be ‘The Perfect Wife Creche’.
Inside it’s tiled in fresh arsenic-green with fairy lights festooning the ceiling and colourful bicycle shoppers hanging in lieu of bunting above shelves stocked with local-made chutneys, crackers, biscuits and the like.
It’s an eatery of two halves: a buzzy deli and server which is bright and buzzy with Booker-T and Billy Joel playing over the speakers, and a quieter bistro to the back, with walls lined with interesting booze and Lyme Bay Country Wines.
The deli counter opposite the door is full to bursting with continental and local Godminster and Sharpham cheeses, rilettes, charcuterie and takeaway pasties and pies made by award-winning Chunk of Devon, whose steak pasty recently won British Best Pasty in the British Pie Awards. Bread is delivered fresh daily from a local bakery, along with scrummy pain au chocolat and sticky pain au raisin, which you need to be quick to get.
SCOFF AND QUAFF
Arriving as I did with a vegan daughter, a committed carnivore son and a slightly fluffy head from a friend’s big birthday the night before, the need stakes on our table were fairly high. Breakfast is served until 12.30 – a choice of full English, with sourdough bread or veggie. It took a moment to work out that we ordered from the deli counter rather than waitress service – though if I’d taken the time to read the menu on the table it’s all clear in there.
It’s fully licensed so you can pick a bottle from the shelves, add £8 to the retail price and take it home in the unimaginable event you can’t finish it. Being in penitent mode I went healthy with a can of Sparkling Apple Kombucha & ACV from Willy’s – a name guaranteed to make even a teenager look up from her insta-feed. The cider vinegar is meant to invigorate and is good for gut health, and despite the vinegary taste it was strangely more’ish. I did feel quite revived after, though that could have been the happy vibe, it’s got a really friendly feel.
I picked a delicious Bengali tart made with butternut squash and a mix of freshly made salads from the counter. Every mouthful was yum, all the more so for being so unusual.
The kids picked from the menu: the carnivore had a bacon baguette on a a rustic roll, which he demolished in super-quick time even though it was big enough for two.
The vegan had a warmed-up Chunk of Devon roll and a choice of greens from the salad bar: far more tasty than all that healthy-looking greenery would have you believe.
Unusually for a deli where you’re often pushed for space, it’s really roomy, ideal for when you’ve got tinies squawking or making a bid for freedom. There was highchair at the table we were at and a changing mat in the one toilet, though as I couldn’t see a drop-down changer, it wasn’t clear if this would have to be a floor job. The first time I went I thought it could do with a lick of paint, but it was fresh and clean, nothing you wouldn’t be happy to expose your mum too. Now I’ve been back since and it’s been given a fresh new makeover.
Every Friday night in summer there’s a pop-up bistro with small plates of tasty things like chicken satay, salami, pork belly and cocktails (booking advisable). Planning a party? Or just can’t bothered to cook (yes, absolutely and always) Let them do the hard miles, with their food to go and party cake-making.
OUT AND ABOUT
Kent’s Cavern is just down the road if you fancy some prehistoric cave exploration or keep walking downhill and the tiny beach at Anstey’s Cove is just a 15-minute walk away across the fields. Boutique Fifteen is worth a once-over too – nice shirts and party bling.
THE MUDDY VERDICT
Good for: cheering you up; morning coffee/brekkie/brunch/afternoon tea with your girls; home-made breads, local eggs, Friday night cocktails; hangover cures; intimate parties and functions; deli food to go; home-made party and wedding cakes; tea served in golden teapots to make even the most challenging day shiny and brighter.
Not for: Sunday morning coffee – it’s closed. Boo!
The damage: On the money: £2.75 for a cappuccino; £7.95 English breakfast; £6.50 for a bacon baguette.
Me & Mrs Jones, 11 Ilsham Road, Wellswood, Torquay TQ12 2JG. Tel: 01803 298745