It’s a picturesque cafe with views over the River Aire, but how does Riveresque’s breakfast offering compare?
Riveresque is one of those little cafes you might well walk past without noticing. It’s tucked away on Bridge End, just before you hop on over to the south side of the river, and while it may have a bright yellow frontage, it’s likely to be the smells sizzling out of its front door that get your attention.
At around 9.30am on a Tuesday morning, it certainly grabbed ours. As we crossed over The Calls approaching Riveresque – the smell of sausages reached us long before the cafe came into sight. That alone was enough to get us salivating, and by the time we reached the cafe, our stomachs were rumbling.
You order at the counter, before taking a seat in Riveresque, so as soon as we stepped inside we set about craning our necks to the blackboards that wrap around the top of the cafe. The left corner is dedicated to breakfast, while the rest covers their considerable lunchtime options of sarnies and the like.
It’s not the most comfortable thing, pondering over options while stood at the counter, so it might worth taking a look at their menu online before you visit. I settled on their standard full English, with a couple of hash browns thrown in for good measure and a tea, while my breakfast partner plumped for scrambled eggs with salmon on the side and a macchiato.
Once that was done and dusted, we went to find ourselves a table. There’s plenty of space in Riveresque, with two seating areas, one upstairs and another down, but they also have a little gem up their sleeve that took us a little by surprise. They’ve taken advantage of their space just by the river, so if you venture down the stairs there’s a doorway that leads to an outdoor seating area with quite stunning views of the River Aire going up towards Calls Landing.
It made for a nice spot for us to settle in, and it wasn’t long before our drinks arrived. The mug of tea came free with the breakfast, but is a very reasonable £1 the rest of time, and it was a very nice cuppa. The macchiato, however, turned out to be a much milkier, frothier drink than we expected, and my partner in crime ended up wishing she’d ordered a simple filter coffee.
The breakfasts soon arrived to distract us. My plate was chock full of full English treats. It had two of nearly everything – bacon, sausages, eggs, hash browns, with a slice of toast and some beans thrown in for good measure.
First up, the hash browns. I don’t care that it’s not a ‘traditional’ component, I’m beginning to feel like every full English breakfast that comes without them is immediately doing itself a disservice, and, here they were absolutely cracking. A slight crunch on the outside, but soft and mushy on the inside, they did a sterling job.
The eggs too were good, cooked nicely with the yolk served at the perfect level of runny, which allowed for plenty of dipping and more flavour to ooze through the plate. The fact that there were two of them, a luxury you don’t always get, was a bonus.
I’m a little obsessed with bacon being well cooked, or at least crispy around the edges and Riveresque did well on this front. The two rashers were done well and went down very well indeed with a scoop of the generous serving of baked beans that dominated one side of the plate.
It was the sausages, though, that let the side down. They were your bog standard sausages, cooked well enough, but just not the kind of quality I was hankering for. I know, I know, it’s not easy to get a full English under £5, but I found myself wishing that I had one really good sausage instead of two mediocre ones.
And the same goes for the toast, instead of your usual sliced white, I would have preferred a slice from a real loaf – as would my mate across the table. Her meal came with a mighty impressive pile of salmon, arriving in its own little dish, so as not to contaminate the scrambled eggs, and it was good stuff, with its smoky edge coming through nicely.
Now the eggs. No matter how hard I try, I can’t pull off the bright yellow loveliness that some of the city’s cafes can, and neither, it seems, can Riveresque. Their scrambled eggs had a homemade feel, but they looked a tad anaemic, leaning more towards white than yellow – but for £2.25 you can’t really complain, it’s a decent feed and a bargain too.
In fact, the whole breakfast came to a total of £11.50, which for two dishes and two drinks is a steal. It’s cheap, cheerful and tasty food, served up with friendly, personal service – and that’s not to be sniffed at. It’s in a perfect spot by the river too, so you can make the most of that fresh air, whether you’re grabbing a pre-work sarnie or easing away a hangover.
Riveresque, 15 Bridge End, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 7HG.