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Restaurant Review – The Little Kitchen, Little Eaton

Restaurant Review – The Little Kitchen, Little Eaton

On our travels Susan and myself  have eaten breakfast in some very memorable places: an ‘all American’ diner on I50, somewhere near Williamsburg, Maryland, overlooking one of  the many picturesque creeks that litter the shores of  the Chesapeake Bay. In the roof  top restaurant of  the Hotel Bristol, Sorrento, Italy, with its magnificent view of  the bay of  Naples, watching the ferry depart for Capri. And on a Boeing 747; the TWA ‘red eye’ from Chicago to London; memorable for all the wrong reasons.

It was a warm mid-week morning and we’d been invited for breakfast at the Little Kitchen, Little Eaton; a venue we’d passed many time and remarked on how busy it looked. For many years, what is now the Little Kitchen, had been, primarily, a newsagents run by the husband and wife team, David and Donna Baxter. They expanded the café and dining venture as newspaper deliveries declined, eventually developing Little Kitchen in to the bistro style venue it is today. 

The entrance to Little Kitchen is through a Parisian café influenced, pavement forecourt with dark grey waist high wooden planters along the boundary. These are topped with glazed panels keeping the area bright, and along with the gazebo keep it shielded from the odd rain shower. The interior of  Little Kitchen is ‘industrial-vintage style’ from the bare ceiling lights with their exaggerated filaments to the mid-century, steel framed chairs and workmanlike tables. There is an open kitchen at one end of  the building and a well stocked bar at the other.

It was a warm, sunny morning and I said that we’d like to sit outside. And so we were escorted through to the garden court. An intimate area dotted with gazebos and a selection of  tables that can seat from two to eight diners. With so much outside space it’s no wonder the eatery is also dog friendly. The friendly and knowledgeable waitress asked us what we’d like to drink from a selection of  various coffee combinations and teas. We both went for the double espresso and it was excellent. Golden brown with a good crema. A rich flavour, not too bitter or watery. The breakfast menu ranges from the loaded full English, through hot sausage or bacon breakfast rolls to pancakes with maple syrup, fresh fruit and Nutella. Plus there’s a ‘specials board’; it’s a roll of  brown parcel paper hanging from the wall with daily offerings written on it. 

I selected the lean bagel stacker. Sandwiched between a split and toasted bagel, spread with cream cheese, with a generous portion of  wilted spinach topped with sautéed mushrooms. Plus a grilled, thick cut, rasher of  bacon and a meaty, country style, sausage. The latter sliced length ways to stop it falling out of  the stack. The final touch was half  of  a grilled tomato. The whole tower held in place with a wooden skewer. The bagel was what it should be; simple and a little chewy.  The spinach was tasty and along with the mushrooms was a delicious combination. The bacon and sausage was just the right amount of  meat for this well balanced breakfast combination. The alternative mean stacker has even more ingredients.

Susan’s choice was more brunch than breakfast: eggs royal. A round of  farmhouse toast covered with a small pile of  sliced smoked salmon. This was topped with two perfectly poached eggs and accompanied with a smooth hollandaise sauce. The slightly salty salmon provided all the seasoning the meal required. 

Little Kitchen is versatile. The spectacular display of  home-made cakes, ready for the afternoon teas, caught my eye. They also cater for parties and are popular with cyclists. Their weekend evening menu features ‘add your own topping’ pizza. It’s only a few miles north of  Derby and is open every day at 8am and on Monday to Thursday they close at 5pm. Friday and Saturday they close at 10.30 and on Sunday: 6pm. 

And yes, we did visit Tiffany’s in New York. It was early on a cool Autumn morning in 1984. But, back then, they didn’t do breakfast.


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