Blue Plate is the name by which the Outsider Tart cake shop goes by when serving dinner. It is a reference to a term for restaurants in the USA that in the early part of the 1920s through to 1950s served a low-priced meal on a single (usually blue) plate, a “main course with all the fixins” as it was described in the 1930s.
The cooking here is mostly that of the deep south of the USA, the menu changing daily. The dining room is to the right of the cake counter as you enter the shop, and could not be accused of being fussily decorated, though there is a display of blue plates along one wall.
New England crab cakes came with salsa, and were very good indeed. There was plenty of crab and the salsa tasted fresh and lively (13/20). Lobster roll used Maine lobster served in a wheat yeast bun, garnished with a tarragon sauce, This was less successful, as although the lobster meat was tender, the overall effect needed more seasoning, with the sauce not adding enough flavour (11/20).
The best dish was a side plate of Vermont baked beans. The beans were slow-cooked for eight hours in a marinade of maple syrup and mustard that is periodically topped up. The result was a plate of tender beans with excellent flavour, lifted by a pleasant combination of sweetness from the syrup and bite from the mustard; this was genuinely good (14/20). Ale and rosemary bread was made from scratch and was nice enough, though I would have liked more rosemary flavour (12/20).
Pecan and chocolate brownie was rather dry (11/20) but almond cheesecake was better, with pleasant texture and flavour from the almonds that was not too dominant (12/20). Coffee was pleasant too. The bill came to just £24 per head, albeit this involved bringing our own wine. Service is friendly but basic, so do not expect a slick team of carefully trained waiters. Blue Plate feels more like eating in a friend’s home than in a restaurant, but a friend that can actually cook pretty well.