Margate’s Bus Cafe scoops national top breakfast bagel award – and Zest Cafe makes Bloody Mary finals

Simon in action at the live cook off

The Bus Café in Margate has scooped a top breakfast award.

Simon Lindley, who runs the double-decker bus  café at Nayland’s Royal Crescent Promenade with wife Jodie Ellena and friends Alexander Muir and Lois Du Plessis, took part in the finals of the Out Of Home annual competition at Westminster Kingsway College on January 30.

The event involved live cook offs in three disciplines using an oven and ingredients from sponsors Ketel One, New York Bakery, Nutella, Panasonic, Startle and Tabasco.

Simon took the crown for best breakfast bagel after whipping up a bagel with baked egg wrapped in prosciutto with roasted tomatoes and the Bus café homemade Verdi salsa.

He was awarded third place for the competition overall.

Simon said: “There were cafes, bars, high end restaurants and hotels nationwide in the competition and this was whittled down to 15 or 16 of us who then took part in the live cook off in front of an audience and the judges.

“It was a little nerve-wracking but was also a really good experience.”

The bagel is now going to be added to the Bus Café menu as a special.

Simon, Jodie, Alexander and Lois bought the bus in March 2015 two weeks after they first discussed the idea. It arrived from Liverpool and they set about a 6-month project of ripping out the interior to then create a kitchen downstairs and café seating upstairs, all the while trading with customers able to tuck into barbecue offerings.

They moved from their first site at Fort Hill Yard to the promenade in February 2017 and act as the anchor for a variety of food and drink small businesses at the site.

Bus Café products are bought through local businesses including Quex Barn, Kent Collections and Rooks. They have also formed a partnership with the Garden Gate Project based at Northdown Park.

Customers can feast on hashed mounds at breakfast time, with varieties including the Hangover Hash – potato & red onion rostie, re-friend baked beans, mumbled eggs, peppered mushrooms, crisped bacon lardons, chunky sausage pieces served with homemade tomato ketchup – or the vegan hash with beetroot, potato and red onion rostie, wild rocket, crushed avocado with lemon, homemade hummus, falafel balls “of the day”, charred cherry tomatoes with homemade salsa verde drizzle.

The Bus Café is Thursday-Monday, prior to 7 day opening after Easter. Monday, Thursday, Fridays from 10am to 2pm and Saturday and Sundays from 9am to 3pm.


Also reaching the finals of the new Bloody Mary section of the competition was Ramsgate’s Zest Cafe and Cocktail Bar.

Chris Clemson, who runs the Queen Street venue with partner Tyler Turner, was awarded with a finalist’s certificate for his cocktail making skills.

Find the Bus Cafe on facebook here