Wednesday, 10 April 2013

The Bakery- Royal William Yard

So I promised yesterday that I'd tell you all about the cool place that I had lunch on Sunday.

Meet The Bakery
It's actually a Town Mill Bakery, which is a very small, pretty cool chain.

Look, here in Plymouth, they have COWS guiding you in. 


(Actually, I think this might be Urban Splash's doing- they sort of own/ run Royal William Yard from what I can gather. And they retweeted me yesterday which was kind of them)
(and I just got very confused as to why my spellchecker thinks that "retweeting" isn't a word. That would be because it isn't)

To be honest, that links to my one big criticism of the bakery- it's really rather difficult to find if you don't know where it is. When it first opened, it was in the main basin of the harbour, so really easy to find- now it's sort of tucked away. I'm not entirely sure why they moved.

But in some ways, the fact it's harder to find is a good thing- look how busy it is anyway!


As you may be able to tell from the picture, this place goes against every notion of Britishness you might have. 
"What do you mean, I have to sit on a long bench next to complete strangers, and help myself to food and drink?"

Well, you have to here. It's that sort of place. And I absolutely love it. 

In our modern, multicultural, hyper-social, media-tastic world, we can get pretty wrapped up in our own selves, and our own little worlds, and forget that there are actual strangers out there. The Bakery sort of forces you to forget that, making you sit smack next to them and share an enormous pot of butter to slather on scones which are almost as big as my face. Lovely stuff.


Above, case in point. My cup of tea, shared milk, butter, peanut butter and jam, and a complete stranger and his wife on the other side of the picture. A stranger that I could have spoken to, if I felt so inclined and he wasn't reading the Sunday paper.
By the way, the jam here is amazing. Seriously, I'd recommend this place on the merit of it's jam alone. And I'm a fussy jam person, so if I say it's good, you'd better believe it baby.

In fact, everything here is amazing. Tea is all Fairtrade (lovely stuff), think the coffee is too, and as I mentioned above, you help yourself to food. There's a big long bar with fresh bits and pieces constantly being put out, depending on what time of day it is. 

For example, go in at 9am, and you'll be greeted with pastries, amazing freshly baked bread (which you can buy loaves of to take home), muesli and so on. Rock up in  the afternoon, and it's cakes and the aforementioned giant scones. Or if you're there for lunch, you will find a hearty stew and/or soup in the winter, salads in the summer, more bread, and just generally whatever they fancy knocking up that day.

This is a terrible picture of it. I was trying to be sneaky so I didn't have to explain why I was happy snapping.
Mum and I had already bought scones from the market, and were pretty excited about them- so we decided to share this badboy


I have no idea what it was. Cheesy, bready-ness, stuffed full of roasted veg, I think. Whatever it was, it was amazing. And below is a picture of the mushroom bruschetta-type thing the complete stranger opposite me had chosen, which I very nearly forgot wasn't mine and nearly took a bite out of. Yes, I took a picture of a stranger's food. YOU CAN DO THAT HERE. No one thinks you're weird (or maybe they do, but I didn't notice any odd looks)


Then, when you've had your fill, you rock up to the man at the till, tell him what you had, and they trust you to be honest here- they don't check, or keep tabs on people. It's not often somewhere trusts its customers these days, don't you think? 


Then buy some bread if you aren't too full, wave goodbye to the complete strangers you shared lunch with, and off you trot.



I have lots of memories here. Visiting in its old location with my mum and then-boyfriend and being bowled over by the size of the scones. Being practically force fed my scone when I was dragged out by my besties two days after having my heart broken. And lots of lovely times spent chattering away with my mum over pastries and tea.

Seriously, if you're in Plymouth, or near to another branch (they're listed here) you must go. It's way better than Starbucks. 

34 comments:

  1. Oh my goodness, doesn't even look to be in the same hemisphere as Starbucks, this place looks to have a heart and soul!! And looks stinkin delicious! xx

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    1. Hahaha yeah, that was meant to be a slightly sarky reflection on starbucks! This has heart and soul in abundance- it's honestly one of my favourite places! x

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  2. This look absolutely scrummy!!! I'm kind of glad I don't have this near me as I'd be double the size!! x

    teapartywithalice.com

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    1. Haha fortunately it's JUST far enough away that I don't live there. If I was maybe 20 minutes nearer, I would be the size of a house. And broke. xx

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    2. I'm glad it is far away from me now, I didn't enjoy my experience, I was I'll on a few occasions after eating here. The cheese bread thing reminds me of my sickness.. Sorry wont be going back...

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    3. That's such a shame that you didn't have a good time there Jayne. I've never had a bad experience, and neither has anyone I know, so you must just have been very unlucky.

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    4. I used to live less than a hundred yards away, most of the local people avoid the bakery for the same reason and also report the staff unhygienic practices and unprofessional process of food handling. I had to call in the health and safety when an industrial mixer flew off the bench, that should of been fixed to a bench at correct height. Luckily my neighbour witnessed the event and said we both had a near miss.

      The owner is an ex advertiser, so writes all the comments for the bakery, so it is misleading Clive.

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  3. This place looks incredible! Kinda makes up for your lack of a local wagamama ;) least I know you're not going hungry now! It sounds like a lovely cafe- really sweet to hear they're so trusting with taking people's payments :) it's a shame not more places would (or could) ever run like that!
    Kaz x

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    1. The rumoured Wagamama will be near here! I'll go to one and then roll straight to the other. Amazing. I know, I wish more places were as trusting as this- it's so refreshing, and no one ever seems to abuse it! x

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  4. It looks like a beautiful place! I hate people watching me eat though so I'm not sure how well I'd cope with the whole sharing a table with strangers thing. Cheese and bread are two of my favourite foods and I've just stared longingly at the cheesy bread picture for far too long...

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    1. Ahh I'm EXACTLY like this! I try not to think about the other people watching me when I'm here though- if you go, sit at the end of a bench and look around, rather than at your table mates! xx

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  5. Great post - I'd love to visit. Everything looks super yum :)

    http://all-about-u-blog.blogspot.com

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    1. It is AMAZING- and I have never eaten anything there which isn't delicious. x

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    1. Thanks- it really is lovely there! x

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  7. Alice! This looks amazing! A-bread-wall! I would quite happily have that in my house! My sister would freak if I took her here though, too many people, to me that is a sign that the food is good though!

    E x

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    1. It seriously is AMAZING. And I too would love a bread wall- but you're right, the food there is so good! x

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    2. Good write up Clive Cobb, the name Alice suits you

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    3. Jayne, having a different opinion to you and having been lucky enough to have only had good experiences here does NOT make me the owner in disguise. Don't you think that Clive Cobb is probably too busy to invent a blog just to write one positive post on his own establishment?

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  8. Yeah... so... i've never been to the Royal William Yard...

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    1. We will have to rectify this! x

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    2. Alice needs to get out more then.

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  9. Jayne Lambert probably needs to get out a bit more too - especially if she has searched for someone/somewhere she doesn't like just so she can vent hate on the Internet and obsessively check through the comments. Anyone with any common sense would take two minutes to check and see a long-term blogger. And nobody would set up an entire blog just for one post. Silly Jayne Lambert.

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  10. On a more positive note, I am so jealous not to have somewhere like that near me - it looks amazing!

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    1. Haha thanks for your defence love!! Honestly, this place is incredible- absolutely love it there!! xx

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  11. Looks fantastic!! I'll be heading there in a couple of weeks. Maybe I'll be lucky enough to meet the famous Clive! x

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    1. Are you down this way!? You MUST go then, it is wonderful! Hahaha maybe indeed- I have never been that fortunate though ;) xx

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  12. My boyfriend comes from Plymouth so we're down every other month to see his folks. I love that new area! River Cafe is rather lovely too x

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    1. Oh that's lovely! Try to time a visit for the first weekend of the month- then you can go to the farmers' market too!! I haven't been there yet, dying to though! xx

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