Something I have noticed here in England are the masses of ‘Tea Rooms.’ This began to take off just before I left New Zealand – the scones, the cream, the double-page menus hosting every tea you could think of.
I quite like Tea Rooms. They always have a really nice, welcoming atmosphere. When you walk in the door, it’s almost like stepping back in time to a 1950’s Housewife’s kitchen. The floral wall-paper patterns, bright pastel colours and ‘hearts’ everywhere.
My family and I had been trying to dine at The Donny’s several times by now, and after being denied on a Sunday (closed), and a Saturday (private function), we struck it lucky the third time round.
It was worth the wait.
The first striking feature I admired about Donny’s was its sign outside. The design and type font was crisp, clear but thematic – fitting perfectly with the style of the whole cafe. This, coupled with the outdoor dining sets, branded cushions and botanical accessories, made for a welcoming sight.
We sat down tentatively as there were no other customers there! It was 9:30am, and like all cafe frequenters, we began wondering “why isn’t anyone here? Is it that bad? If we leave now do you think they will notice?” But to ease our reservations, we were welcomed warmly by a waitress, who supplied us with menus and offered to take our drinks order, all in one swift motion.
Now, this was particularly refreshing. More often than not – especially when dining out for breakfast – you know what you want to drink – coffee. So it was nice to not have to wait another ten minutes for the drinks order to be taken, before waiting another 10 for the waitress to return to take our food order. My Father would disagree and say he would rather the drinks came out with the food – something I am all to happy to remind him only takes a request and I am sure will be catered to.
So we ordered our food and that in itself impressed me. Being the self-proclaimed, seasoned ‘Breakfast connoisseur’ that we are, we took ingredients from three different breakfasts and concocted our own special meals. To our relief and without hesitation, we were told it could be done. We were then presented with simple, non-greasy, cooked breakfasts. And the perfect size too! It was one of those ‘that was just right,’ moments.
Saying that, it wasn’t actually the service or the food that impressed me the most – while both were great. It was the interior décor! The Donny’s lived up to – and surpassed – the décor expectations. I absolutely fell in love with the colours, the vintage signs hanging on the walls, the flags zigzagging across the ceiling. Every time I looked up, I spotted something new. The cluster of vintage-looking clocks fitted perfectly.
I think what was most attractive was the one focal wall made of brick. That looked fantastic – and even more to my liking was the white, wooden slate windows on the brick wall, that instead of providing screens to the outside world, were actually mirrors. A very nice touch indeed.
But, out of all that, I think what I will take away with me and definitely consider for my future café, was The Donny’s branding. Obviously, I won’t brand my establishment with The Donny’s insignia, but with my own. I thought that was a brilliant final touch to the place. All too often you might walk into a café that you wouldn’t remember the name of because it can only be seen out front.
Today, you are bombarded with are advertisements for the coffee beans or sugars or cold drinks. The Donny’s branded their seat cushions (which were everywhere) so wherever I looked, the unmistakeable calligraphy style, spelling out The Donny’s, could be seen. If anything, it expelled a sense of pride in the name The Donny’s – and proud it should be. I can’t wait to go back.