‘Left wondering if I got right order at lay-by cafe’

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What do a journalist, construction worker and lorry driver all have in common? We were all stood outside a burger van waiting for breakfast at 8am. It may not look like a Michelin star venue but after rave reviews from friends and family about the Blue Gem in Malling Road, Snodland, I found myself up and at it earlier than usual to try it out.

The 'big' breakfast at the Blue Gem in Snodland is certainly good value for money The ‘big’ breakfast at the Blue Gem in Snodland is certainly good value for moneyCustomers waiting for their orders at the Blue Gem in Snodland Customers waiting for their orders at the Blue Gem in Snodland

Located in a lay-by near Leybourne Lakes, it’s a good spot to grab a quick bite to eat and head off for a walk, or for truckers and lorry drivers wanting to fuel up before a long day on the road.

Despite being wedged between lorries and cars, the snack bar makes the most out of the space it has, with its bright blue design and outdoor seating area making it hard to miss if you’re driving past. I arrived at 8am, panicking about how I’d get parked in the lay-by which was surely going to be packed to the brim, but drove into a space easily, with plenty left over.

When I got to the front of the snack bar I found myself in a pickle with the quite frankly ridiculous amount of options on offer. There were breakfast muffins, omelettes, salad boxes, dozens of burgers and vegetarian options.

The Blue Gem in Snodland is in a lay-by not far from Leybourne Lakes The Blue Gem in Snodland is in a lay-by not far from Leybourne LakesThe list of options at the Blue Gem in Snodland is ridiculously large The list of options at the Blue Gem in Snodland is ridiculously large

Five minutes after ordering and GBP7.50 down I collected my hot plate of food from the truck and waltzed over to a nearby table.

I was left wondering if I’d been given the wrong order as there was no way what I was given was as cheap as GBP7.50 – four bits of bacon, one large sausage, two eggs, tomatoes, beans, three black pudding, chips and bread and butter. Despite my shock, and slight worry my eyes were bigger than my belly, I tucked in and soon realised why it was such a popular site for workers.

The bacon was cooked well, and very salty, while the foot-long sausage, although buried under beans and chips, was cooked to perfection. Black pudding, with the runny eggs and bread and butter were great for combining the majority of the fried foods.

Halfway through the 'big' breakfast at the Blue Gem in Snodland Halfway through the ‘big’ breakfast at the Blue Gem in SnodlandThe seating area at the Blue Gem in Snodland The seating area at the Blue Gem in Snodland

The only downside was the tomatoes, but maybe as an experienced fry-up eater I was expecting tinned tomatoes, and the chips, which although nice and crispy, seemed as though they’d been cooked in oil one too many times.

I’ll admit it though, after ploughing through the first half of the breakfast I was struggling and realising why it was called the “big” breakfast. It was definitely worth the money – and early start – and I’m not surprised how much it is raved about. To be honest, I can be accused of being picky over the few faults I found.

Overall, the trip was more than satisfying and I’ll be back if I’m ever in that neck of the woods again.

The Blue Gem in Snodland was definitely worth the trip The Blue Gem in Snodland was definitely worth the trip

Food: An overwhelming amount of food which was tasty. My only complaint was the over-fried trips which left me feeling a bit sick – and the sliced tomatoes. **** Drink: Free tea or coffee with the big breakfast.

I ended up getting an extra Lucozade for GBP1.60 and it was lucky I did as my tea was forgotten by both myself and the staff. ** Decor: In a lay-by, surrounded by parked lorries doesn’t exactly make it Instagramable, but the design of the snack bar and seating area was much nicer than your bog standard van. *** Staff: Warm and welcoming despite the early start.

Forgot my tea. *** Price: GBP7.50 for a big breakfast which could’ve served two people. You’d be charged nearly double for something that size at a hotel or restaurant. *****

For more reviews on places to eat in Kent, click here.

To read the Secret Drinker’s pub reviews click here.

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