The special reason this is TripAdvisor's favourite Tunbridge Wells' café
The reviews are glowing. Customers have put Casa da Claudia in Tunbridge Wells top of the table on TripAdvisor and their comments have included: a cheerful welcome; clean and nicely decorated; extensive breakfast menu; spotless toilets; great service, and the "so good" Portugese egg custard tarts, Pasteis de Nata.
Each of those received a firm tick from Kent Live after we visited at 8.30am on Friday, when the sun was shining from a cornflower blue sky. Emanuel Correia, 54, opened Casa da Claudia seven years ago, first with his former wife Claudia, and is now the sole owner. own.
The first thing you notice as you near the cafe in quaint cobbled Castle Street, off the High Street, is the beautiful Easter window, full of brightly-coloured foil-wrapped eggs and bunnies. There are green-painted metal chairs and tables outside on the pavement, matching the green paintwork and overall colour palette inside.
It's cosy inside but not cramped, with a nice squishy banquette with Van Gough cushions down one side, and tables and chairs opposite. Enough to seat 10. Upstairs, and more on that soon, there are a further 16 covers and a spotless, beautifully-scented toilet.
The walls are a restful, pale minty-sage colour, with a line of vibrant original paintings, all by one lady, who has since sadly died. They also line the staircase going to the first floor.
I went full throttle and had the full English breakfast. The two egg yolks were a beautiful orangey-yellow with a neat white, the dainty potato rostis were just the right size, mushrooms, baby tomatoes, bacon with a lovely thin crispy edge, a lovely herby-sausage and good quality wholemeal toast, with butter. A white cup and saucer for the creamy and strong flat white.
I had to have the Casa da Claudia's Portugese custard tarts, as I had heard great things. A woman had stopped me outside with a paper brown bag full of them. "They are SO good," she said, as her husband nodded. I took these home to savour later.
The menu really is superb. As someone said on TripAdvisor, rather than finding something they liked, they could have ordered anything from the menu. I counted four vegetarian options out of eight breakfast choices, and there was also a low carb breakfast, for those wanting to yank their belt up a notch.
There are jacket potatoes with side salads, panini and ciabatta melts, omelettes with side salad, cakes including millionaire's shortbread and one of my favourites, bread pudding. The usual sorts of coffees, herbal tea and hot chocolate, milk and white chocolate. The white chocolate is a showstopper as Emanuel makes it from a huge jar of gratings of pure Marimba chocolate from South America.
People popped in during the visit, ordering hot drinks and bacon and egg rolls, and having a cheerful chat with the warm-hearted and hospitable Emanuel, who comes from Madeira and has been here 36 years. What a great way to start a Friday!
Downstairs, along with the window full of little colourful cans of olive oil, jars of Figo com Noz (figs with walnuts, which I'd have with cheese and cold cuts) and decorative spoon rests from Madeira hanging up the side, there is a shelf on the opposite wall, full of Portugese goodies for sale, from sweets and olive oil to jars of sauces, cakes under glass domes and of course, the custard tarts, which the Portugese have in the morning with a 'garoto', an espresso with a little milk.
Upstairs is just and fresh and clean, with white wooden shutters opening on to blues skies (on Friday anyway) and rooftops, an antique Austrian cabinet with fine china inside which is so delightful, customers have asked to buy it, and a family photograph of Emanuel, his four brothers and sisters and his grandmother.
And the exciting news Kent Live has to share, after years of being asked to open in the evening, Emanuel is planning it for this year. But for now, a new menu is coming next week with some lip-smacking additions including sourdough bread and eggs Florentine.
I came away feeling not only had I finally savoured for myself the gem that is Casa da Claudia, after years of hearing rave reviews, but I had also made a friend. I expect everyone feels like that - and that's exactly why this cafe is top of the crop on TripAdvisor.
Full English breakfast was £9.50, flat white coffee £2.80 and Pastel de Nata £2.