Our mission was to find The Plot coffee shop, a new entrant to the competition, located at 9 Carrick Creagh Road. Not my part of the world and I couldn’t tell you when I last went venturing down Carrick Creagh.
Many years ago I vaguely recall an expedition from Enterprise Road, through the “wilds” really, with some tar, some dirt, and many a twist and turn – 4-wheel drive an advantage.
But now is the age of technology (road maintenance excepted), I asked Paolo Garmin! Three options were presented: one was in Helensvale just off Glen Helen Way, the next at the western end near Crowhill Road — mmh, maybe — and the third way out near the Borrowdale Country Club. Number two attracted me for some reason so with Paolo plugged and calling indicazioni we were on our way.
Not a problem! There was the sign for The Plot conveniently placed just about right where it should be — magic, no coggery and mirrors required. The coffee shop is actually on a plant nursery and is a long gazebo type affair, face brick under thatch, with some tables under cover and some under umbrellas on paving or in the garden.
I found a nice partially shaded table in the garden with enough sunshine peeking beneath to keep me warm. Our waiter brought some colourful menus with two printed “blackboard specials” inserts with a wide range of extra offerings.
Well, there was certainly a lot to choose from; this was going to take a little time! But one criticism is that the insets are a little jumbled although at least all the drinks are together and there is even an alcoholic selection including gin and tonic, beers, ciders, bloody Mary and strawberry daiquiri among others.
There is a decent selection of coffees and teas — including herbal and Long Island iced tea, milkshakes, hot chocolate and amarula, hot chocolate lattes in various flavours like Brazilian hazelnut, toffee caramel and choc mint.
But the various smoothies looked enticing and I tried the passion fruit. Actually, they were more like granite without the sugar syrup, very nice but not a drink you could hurry over! I left mine languishing in the sun in its curvy glass to accelerate meltdown and returned to the menus.
There were lots of light meals: toasted bruschetta with various delicious-sounding toppings like salmon or fromage and lemon mayonnaise, homemade pie with chips and salad, wraps with great fillings (basil chicken, honey roasted vegetables with goat cheese are just two examples), burgers, homemade gourmet ciabatta or pita sandwiches with chips and salad… well, it’s no use going on; I can simply recommend you go there and try for yourselves!
I tried a gourmet steak roll, which had slices of fillet with red onion marmalade in ciabatta, chips and salad. It was really scrumptious and the unusual salad with melon balls and strawberries, strange as it may sound, entwined wonderfully with the flavours of the dish.
There were lots of dessert choices and cakes or muffins you could have if you came for a tea/coffee break. The chocolate and orange torte sounded worth trying (…another time) with a ginger biscuit base filled with orange flavoured dark chocolate ganache, but not being one for orange flavoured chocolate, we tried the chocolate mousse cake and some koeksisters.
The cake was fresh and moist even if not necessarily what I would have called a mousse cake and the koeksisters had a beguiling hint of ginger. You must try the choco sticks! These come with a glass of hot milk and you unwrap the Belgian chocolate, on a stick like a lolly, let it melt in the milk and swirl it around once it has dissolved for a luscious and delicious drink.
The Plot is certainly worth a visit if you live in the Borrowdale area, or even if you don’t mind a bit of travelling from further afield. I should mention that the service was a trifle slow — perhaps another waiter? But if you are passing, I see that they also offer coffee-to-go from 7.30 am so you could drop in, in passing.
Expect to Spend US$10 – US$15 per head
9 Carrick Creagh Road, Quinnington
Activities to look forward to
Once you have treated yourselves you can get some plants for the garden, while the kids amuse themselves on the jungle-gym, or admire the original paintings adorning the walls. I particularly liked Tamryn Pohl’s Hwange scenes, especially the wildebeest.