Blue Sky Café is a cosy little establishment that is hidden in a back street in Bangor city centre, North Wales. It is, by light years, my favourite place to eat/drink/relax in Bangor. I could say it is also better than anywhere back in my hometown Newcastle!
It is a very high-standard joint, and so I cannot afford to visit the place as much as my heart desires due to my student budget. It is a very good treat though, so I don't turn down the temptation of good coffee and cake after a crippling university exam or a close-call essay submission.
Follow the tunnelled alleyway beside Santander on the high street. There will be a short, incline hill leading up to two french doors. You're at Blue Sky Cafe!
Despite being sneakily hidden away from the tread of the high street, the place is almost always full. I suggest having a Plan B venue in mind if you plan to drop in around 11am-1pm on weekdays. It's usually very packed and you will be very lucky to salvage a free seat during these times. As frustrating as that is sometimes, it is important to remember that it is a very promising sign for any food joint!
I visited today for some grub with Sean. There was no particular occasion really. I'm in the middle of my final exams and I just felt like getting out of the house. Blue Sky has the most refreshing, warm atmosphere. There is a lot of wood and almost all of the dining furniture is irregular - every table has its own personality. There are a lot of sensual paintings, chalkboard designs, wall-hangings and old contraptions lying around, from vintage Singer sewing machines to handsome 1950's coffee grinders. In the winter time, they'll blaze up their fire to thaw you out good and proper!
Now down to the REAL business: the food.
Literally everything I have eaten at Blue Sky café has been outstanding. As a newcomer, I was pretty sceptical of paying £8 for something elementary like pasta and meatballs. After trying said pasta and meatballs, I learnt that my money was incredibly well-spent. Their food is usually quite basic but it is absolutely out of this world. Almost all of their ingredients are locally-sourced, so everything tastes totally new to what you're used to. What I love is that the food isn't pretentious at all; it is all very simple and clear. This place isn't pretending to be something; it is honest, whole and totally transparent. It's a pretty refreshing approach and I think this is what has brought me back time and time again.
Today, the meatball-cheese ciabatta won my vote. Sean opted for chunky chips and garlic cheese on toast.
Chips were crispy on the outside, fluffy on the inside. The garlic cheese on toast was a hunk. Crusts as thick as the Berlin Wall and drenched in garlicky oil. The cheese was creamy and a pure, stringy sleaze-fest!
My meatball & cheese ciabatta arrived, looking quite modest...
...but a peek under the dusty ciabatta lid revealed a meaty, tomatoey, dangerously cheesy party that was too hard not to crash.
And you are also given an exotic physalis berry with your sandwich. A pretty cool feature!
The food was gobbled in minutes. As always, it was outstanding and left my taste buds in a seizure from the sweet, meaty oils and the creamy Welsh cheddar.
We had a 10 minute breather, then ordered our coffee and cake. The coffee and cake is the BEST part of Blue Sky. Whereas I only sometimes order food, I always get coffee and cake. A brilliant thing about Blue Sky is that their cake selection always alternates day to day. They pretty much always do their gluten-free brownies and their flapjacks. Occasionally though, they will have a muddy chocolate-Guiness cake, or a dense rhubarb & almond pie, or an uplifting lemon & courgette cake. Sometimes I'm disappointed in the choice, sometimes I thrilled. But I LOVE that. If they offered everything at once, I will get bored very quickly. That element of chance they add to the equation keeps me coming back with the hope that it will be my lucky day - the day they are serving their delish pistachio meringue!
Today, they had pistachio f**king meringue! We ordered that, and we also ordered the standard chocolate brownie and the chocolate tiffin. Standard. I opted for a fluffy cappuccino and Sean chose a caramel espresso.
Their knobbly, chewy chocolate tiffin is always as delicious as it is beautiful.
And the brownie...
I always get their brownie. That should tell you just how good it is! It is semi-solid with a hard, waxy surface, which is exactly how I like my brownies. A fudgy, chocolate glacier...
Though I was pretty disappointed that today's batch had no white choc chunks in. Boo!
Then there was the meringue. It is the lightest, billowing pillow of sweetness you will ever taste, studded with crumbled pistachios. It is absolutely angelic - a brittle shell and a gooey fluff centre which writes a romance on your tongue that is 1000x better than any Twilight book.
We finished our coffees and slowly tag-teamed the cakes.
Now one of the things I love about Blue Sky is the Visitor Diary. You can walk over to the table by the entrance, pick up their book and write in your feedback. It is a brilliant idea, and it's always fun to read when you're not in any rush to leave. The amount of messages I have left in this book is just embarrassing!
Obviously Bangor is pretty out of the way! But if you happen to be in the area, I strongly recommend you try out this place! Whether you're driving along the A55 to Anglesey, visiting the nearby Snowdonia National Park or visiting friends at Bangor University, make sure you do a pit-stop at Blue Sky Café. Your taste buds will be doing somersaults with gratitude.
Here are some of the previous treats I've enjoyed at Blue Sky:
Apparently this was a one-off on the menu. It is a Greek Stifado Stew. A hearty, traditional Greek stew made with beef, pork, tomatoes, cloves and shallots. It's very light on the cloves, which was great because cloves can be barbaric sometimes (cheap mulled wine...)
The Chicken in a Basket is probably Blue Sky's trademark I would say. Marinated chicken tucked cosily into a pitta pocket, served with big, burly chips and a chunky tomato relish. They never give you enough relish though. What I tend to do is mix in the same quantity of ketchup to bulk it up a bit! Heehee...
The hot chocolate is a favourite among students! It comes with a heart-shaped butter biscuit and a flaky chocolate baton for dunking. What is more, the drink is topped with whipped cream, chocolate curls and a golden treasure of hazelnuts. Sinfully good but a must-have in Winter here.
Hope you enjoyed my review/food porn treat!