Clayton Road in Jesmond has undergone something of a resurgence recently. From the OGs, those who spotted the potential on this largely undiscovered shopping street, like hair maestro’s Hooker & Young, to the newest kids on the block, Forsyth & Reed, Clayton Road has become a real destination. The best thing? There’s free parking.
Ok, that maybe a gross over exaggeration, it’s not the best thing about it. The street is largely made up of independent North East Businesses and this time I’m in this leafy suburb to review the breakfast menu of hip new eaterie, Forsyth & Reed. Early one (rare) sunny Saturday morning in March, Bo, Plankton and I landed on Clayton Rd right outside this quirky cafe. The outside fixtures set the tone for the experience, black gloss fronting with heavy gold external downlighters and heavy red drapes – it feels like we’re about to step into an olde world theatre.
On the inside its an eclectic mix of old and new, with it’s bold sapphire blue wall and mismatched furniture it feels as if the owners responded directly to the wishes of every North East millennial. A quick browse at the breakfast menu offers up a decent variety of options. Whether it’s a simple bowl of granola or a Full English Breakfast, there’s something there for most tastes and we opt for Eggs Royale (me), Full English (Bo, obvs) and Poached Eggs on Toast with an optional sausage (Plankton).
While we wait, we sip on some of the best coffee I’ve had in a long time, thick but not syrupy and with a hint of bitterness that lets you know it wasn’t over roasted. Preparation is fast and all of our food arrives at the same time meaning there’s no waiting around for somebody’s food and secretly hating them while you do so. As we gaze lovingly at the breakfast feast on the table in front of us, it’s clear that preparation and aesthetics are equally important at Forsyth & Reed and both Bo and Plankton give me the death stare as I tell them they must wait until I’ve photographed it for you lovely lot, before they dive in and demolish it.
The breakfast is good. I mean really good. Poached eggs are easy to get wrong but these ones are perfection, small, round and full of flavour. The egg whites are almost yoghurty, there’s no loose white and the yolk is soft and oozes when cut – exactly as it should. Y’all know Bo is a difficult dude to please but he’s pretty confident that this is in his “Top 5” cooked breakfasts, he’s a very harsh critic so this is damn good praise. Plankton ate both poached eggs in four bites, with no toast – that’s how good they were. The eggs in the Eggs Royale were offset perfectly by the cooler smoked salmon and Hollandaise sauce. Served atop a lightly toasted English muffin, just enough to give it a crisp outer edge, but still fluffy in the middle. It’s how I’d like all of my breakfasts from now on please.
The space itself is busy, despite being new to Clayton Road, there’s a constant foot flow whilst we’re sat there and staff are friendly and attentive making sure that everyone gets a choice on where they’d like to sit and a drinks order is taken as soon as you’re seated. The decor is what really draws you through the door though, despite having that deep blue wall the place is still light and airy. There are a selection of newspapers and local magazines on display for customers to read and there’s no sign of the bullshit local rags, you know the ones I’m talking about Voyeurs.
We hung around and chilled long after we’d finished our breakfast, it has that feel to it, like you’re chilling in someone’s front room and there’s no hurry to leave. If you’re a person who indulges in the sport of people watching, there’s a higher seated area in the window which offers prime viewing for such an activity. There’s a constant stream of people who visit Forsyth & Reed in the time that we sit, and whether they’re ordering dishes from the menu prepared in the kitchen, or counter top cakes, everything that’s served looks delicious and the couples and families around us offer each other a taste of their food – a sure sign that it’s good.
On the go without time to stop for a cooked breakfast? Then you’ll love this, remember that coffee I mentioned? It’s half price as a carry out before 11am and before 11am good coffee is all you need right??