Ardmore, Co. Waterford – home to “cliffs, harbour, village, and beaches have been established by Saints, besieged by an army, visited by the titans of the sea, and welcoming visitors into their homes”.
In more modern time and for the movie buffs, it is home to Ardmore Studios, highly spoken about by Gabriel Byrne and John Boorman.
We visited here on St. Patrick’s weekend. Our first two attempts at finding a café were thwarted when the first turned out to be an ‘old man’s’ pub not serving food (although pub lunch was on the window) and the second, a really lovely looking restaurant where we couldn’t find standing room let alone seats. Our third and final attempt brought us closer to the beach to a smaller café called “The T Flag Café & Shop”.
Looking through the window we weren’t sure they served food at all but we decided to throw caution to the wind and venture in anyway.
In the tiny entrance hall, we were greeted with a list of do’s and don’ts.
Probably not teen friendly with no WIFI but what parents don’t love seeing faces looking back at them over the back of a phone?
This place was definitely quirky!
Once inside, the startled faces of the few customers didn’t distract us from the absolutely wonderful interior. We were instantly in awe of the colours, the styles, the charm, the chairs. The backdoor was open to reveal an outdoor seating area even more charming with its pastel painted chairs and manicured garden. It was postcard picturesque gorgeous.
Beaming from ear to ear at our wonderful café discovery, we were even more thrilled when we clapped eyes on the fresh homemade scones. Off we went up to the counter, only to be greeted by another sign…. “Please order, pay and wait to collect your tea / coffee. No table service.” Oh ok, we got this, sort of a self service job.
Gathering our scones, we realised all the plates and cutlery were recyclable. Wonderful! Isn’t it always terrific to find others just trying to do their bit to save the environment? We had no qualms about this so with our recyclable bits and pieces and our freshly made scones, we proceeded to the checkout to see about a few coffees. We were greeted by a tray being slapped down on the counter to place our bites and pieces on. Hmmm….
Still smiling but with raised brows, we ordered our coffees hoping we had misread the initial body language blaring from the man behind the counter. Without a word, he made our coffees and placed them on ‘his’ tray with our scones. “€14” he says while looking at us emotionless.
Moving in silence to the table, we now understood the startled faces of the other patrons who had by now removed themselves from the café. Perhaps they felt relief at being able to slip out while he was being distracted making our coffees. Even with the radio playing in the background, the silence was absolutely deafening. So much so, after a few minutes, we took a fit of giggling feeling like two bold children about to be chastised at any moment.
It was then we noticed another sign on the table next to the mini rubbish bin “When finished please put all used cups, plates, food items etc from table into red rubbish bin”. Terror started to overtake when we realised the tiny butter blocks were practically frozen solid which caused our freshly made scones to fall asunder and scatter in every direction. We leaned over ‘his’ tray hoping the stray crumbs would catch before hitting the floor. Who knows what kind of a reaction he might have had. For those of you old enough to remember, we decided the only thing missing at that point was the free school milk in little glass bottles.
Whispering to each other over ‘his’ tray, we were trying to figure out how somewhere so perfect could be such a disaster. It had the makings of the coolest ‘in’ place to be. It was then we copped the shelves at the back of the room selling local crafts, except they weren’t all crafts, there was a shelf of second-hand men’s shoes for sale. We kid you not! Proof!
The Café 10/10
The atmosphere 1/10
Value for money 3/10
So, fabulous premises, deplorable atmosphere, less than basic menu, spotlessly clean all for €14.
Overall score: 27/50
Would we return? We might try again during the summer to see if he gives a job to someone who actually wants to be there and enjoys talking to people. We felt this café had enormous potential if it weren’t for the person behind the counter who very obviously hated his job.
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