It is often the case that when I visit a new place for breakfast there are good reasons for doing so, and so it was when yesterday I visited the Corner House Café / Diner, right in the centre of Southend. It happened I needed to be in town for a while and besides feeling a bit peckish and wanting to add a new place to my local breakfast places review list, while literally watching the world go by, I also wanted to speak to the owner about some matters, which I will get to …
I arrived a few minutes before 9.30am and was disappointed it was not open (partly because it seems to me that breakfast is best enjoyed earlier rather than later in the morning) but then realized it opens 9.30 on the dot, which I get is an optimum time for this particular business. My order, which was their standard breakfast offering, which allowed a substitution (tomatoes instead of beans), was taken by a pleasant waitress and not long after I was served by another pleasant waitress. The surroundings were unostentatious and pleasant and there was a quiet, calm atmosphere. I enjoyed the meal, which was cooked to perfection, and while the sausages weren’t over wowing they were still quite nice, as was the tea and toast that came with it. I noted it had customer toilets and while I did not make use of the opportunity some of the day’s papers.
Corner House has been around from some years and is in the traditional mold of quite quick eating places that combines service. Judging by the few regulars coming in during my short time there, it has built up a loyal customer base, which I would imagine includes visitors to the town doing their shopping etc. While not fantastic value for money, it was certainly good value and my experience was good enough to want to make a return visit, possibly for lunch, where there were a number of interesting dishes on offer. I noticed they offered a meal delivery service where people can order meals and when it is ready a car would turn up outside, collect and make the delivery. Like many businesses in the town, the Corner House has had to fight to maintain business viability but it is still going good, a good sign. I suspect by providing good grub at a good price with good service and good ambience, it is able to retain customers.
I was glad I could talk to Cliff, the owner of this family run business. My reason was our common interest in helping the homeless (I imagine a good number of Southend’s homeless would pass nearby the café during the day). Some of what we discussed is confidential but given my involvement in homeless charities, and Cliff and his team have been helping said charities and some of the homeless folk, it was a good opportunity to thank them for the support they have given us in the past as well as to enjoy a decent breakfast.