Some of the best times we’ve had in life have been down dark alleyways, you know. Our appetites are therefore jumping gleefully at the news that in Bangor, North Wales there’s a cafe bursting with local ingredients, great meals and gigs to boot. And, according to The Times, it’s the best place for brunch in the entire principality.
Blue Sky cafe, explains Chrissy Corner, was established some six years back when she met with Caroline Wigley, owner of the Ambassador Hall, set back from Bangor High Street.
“The Blue Sky name came because Caroline took the ceiling away and revealed a beautiful chapel roof with skylights in,” Chrissy says.
Bitten is a big fan and can confirm that the result is an airy haven of rustic tables, a bustling semi-open kitchen and an array of epicurean delights ranging from local beers and coffee roasted in Groeslon to Welsh blue cheese and the star of the show – Pig in a Barm, a free range local pork belly sandwich of Thai influence and explosive taste.But it ain’t easy sourcing locally, Chrissy explains.
“Stuff grown organically or in a way we want it to be grown is really expensive so you use key ingredients that are well-sourced and use other suppliers that are country-wide. Otherwise you have to spend so much and charge so much you would never make it.”
That said, there’s a bunch of ingredients that define the Blue Sky experience.
“We use Halen Môn salt on our chips; the Y Cwt Caws feta cheese is amazing, beautiful and we use that in a few dishes; all our meat is well-sourced, our beef is Welsh and all we use in our burgers is a little breadcrumbs to soak up the juices, beef and black pepper; organic Perl Las blue cheese from South Wales; our bread is from Becws Alun, baked in Conwy Morfa,” lists Chrissy, smiling.
Once the day’s served its fill of long-serving chef Matt Barlow’s ace-on-toast dishes like the bean-and-meatsome cowboy breakfast, the wonderful umami-punchy, mushroomy Welsh rarebit, a superior smoked tofu salad and top notch vegetable burgers, the cafe often morphs into a venue for music, poetry and other events.
“Gigs are up and down; some are really successful and others not that well-attended. It is in the lap of the gods. As long as we cover our basic costs and if we make money over the bar, that’s great. We want to be a venue that’s not exclusive, not just available for wealthy people,” Chrissy says.
Blue Sky – right up our alley.
High Street, Bangor
– Joe Shooman