Café Varley was opened in August 2015 by husband and wife team Chef Matt Varley and Jennifer Hardman-Varley, whom have a background in restaurants.
On discovering it’s just been awarded 5* for hygiene practises I decided to visit with 2 friends on a bustling Thursday afternoon.
On entering the light and modern dining area, we were greeted with a smile by a waitress from behind the counter whom immediately came out to seat us on a table by the large front windows.
We were given a few minutes to peruse the menu and were also directed to the two large special boards which contained a number of various hot and cold dishes. I also noted a smaller £5.95 lunch menu with several popular warm dishes on, this menu was available 11.30am – 4.30pm.
Deciding first to order drinks, I was happy to note not only is the café licensed but they offer premium Italian beer by the bottle (Peroni) and also have a nicely put together wine list containing red, whites, rose and sparkling. I opted for a large chilled glass of Grillo white, delicious (£4.95), whilst my friends ordered glasses of coconut water with ice (£2.00), both exclaiming happily that they had never seen a local café offering this drink before. All drinks were served well in clean glasses and were nicely chilled.
For our food we opted for a gluten free Pasta Bolognese (£5.95 menu), a Chilli con carne (£7.50) and a BBQ pulled pork burger (£8.50). The café offers proper chips, so I was interested to see if they were in fact fresh chips and not frozen like you get in so many eateries.
Service was friendly and efficient and our food arrived in good time and was very attractively presented. The Bolognese, I was assured by my friend, was absolutely delicious, not a trace of frozen ingredient in sight and was packed with the flavour of fresh basil and rosemary. The Chilli con carne was also tasty, visible chunks of carrot and kidney beans with just the right amount of warmth in your mouth from the fresh jalapenos you could see in the sauce.
However, the winner of the day was the BBQ burger with hand cut chips. A soft bun with melted cheese and sautéed red onion packed full of meat in BBQ sauce. It was served as requested with the best chunky chips I have had in a long time, fluffy middles and crispy outer shell. Delicious!
We were absolutely stuffed but our friendly server Emma, tempted us into dessert by explaining they had a warm chocolate brownie with curly wurly ice cream and salted caramel sauce (£4.25) and also a chocolate orange jaffa cake (£1.95) which is served warm with optional fresh pouring cream. Our arms were twisted and we were surprised at the professional way the brownie was presented. The cake was absolutely melt in the mouth gorgeous.
My overall impression was of a very clean establishment that takes pride in its appearance and staff. The music played was an appropriate mix of easy listening and modern and the staff took care of our every request, even closing the door when the weather changed and it got a little chilly.
You can tell that the owners have a background in restaurants as this is not your run of the mill café food. I could definitely taste the freshness, care and proper chef touch in all the dishes served to us.
Quality of the food 10/10
Value for money 10/10
Café Varley 3-5 London Street, Southport, Merseyside, PR9 0UF, 01704 512351
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