First off, excuse the poor image as it really doesn’t do the food or cafe justice!
When you are out and about in town sometimes you want something other than an egg snack pot or jacket potato and you want a proper hot meal.
Me and my lovely friend Rosie go to our local slimming world group and we got some recommendations from our group on where to eat. It was a special day, the day I accidentally found my dream wedding dress!
We went inside a very small (downstairs anyway) cosy, friendly cafe called Harpers (Colchester town centre, Essex) recommended for their ‘slimmers menu’. The first time we went we both had the slimming world friendly breakfast as we hadn’t eaten properly as we were in town early. A juicy and delicious 2 syn sausage, bacon (which we cut the fat off ourselves), some perfectly cooked scrambled eggs, mushrooms cooked in frylight (albeit were a little bit dry but without lashings of butter that is how fried mushrooms are) and some fresh tomatoes heated with herbs and seasoning until they were lightly bursting.
The owner (who when I have been there does all the cooking) does slimming world himself and anyone who presents their membership card gets 10% off which I think is amazing for such a small business to do as there really aren’t many hidden gems like this cafe in most local towns.
This main review is based on the last time that I went to the cafe on my own (after being impressed first time around with our filling, low syn breakfast). The image featured is of the garlic, herb kebab and I half wish I had gone with a small one! The main one pictures along with a can of zero coke with my 10% discount came to just over £7.
To say I was impressed is an understatement. There must easily have been 2 chicken breasts that had clearly been marinaded over a long period of time (part of me feels bicarb or baking powder was used to help soften the meat). The kebab had grilled onions, peppers and mushrooms and was served with an undressed salad of cucumber and tomatoes and some steaming hot rice. I was offered light mayonnaise but I really wanted to eat the kebab with the plain salad and rice (although I probably wouldn’t have said no to a wedge of lemon).
Well, the kebab itself, where do I start? The flavour was permeated through the meat of light herb and garlic and was incredibly juicy whilst aswell having that delicious seared taste. There obviously isn’t much to say about the salad or rice apart from the rice was cooked perfectly. The only thing that let me down a little was the fact that the tomatoes were a little mushy but they are out of season so I can’t really complain.
If you are in Colchester I can totally recommend the chicken kebab, SW friendly breakfast or any of the jacket potatoes on offer. The owner will adapt anything on the relatively extensive menu as most things (other than pastries) are made in house. The coffee is great too!
I feel really lucky to have decently priced slimming world friendly cafe right on my doorstep. Since going here, I honestly haven’t eaten anywhere else in town #sorrynotsorry as I know the food and prices are reliable especially on a student budget.
DO RECCOMMEND! If you pop into Harpers let me know how you get on. One small thing, I don’t believe they have a disabled toilet, there is a very small step (prams often come into the cafe) OR there is outside seating.
If you find any hidden gems in your area let me know in the comments below as others may not be aware and it could really help someone who is struggling with eating out.
Love Emily, Chef who slims. x