WHAT better way to steel yourself for tackling pre-bank holiday traffic for a weekend away than a hearty cooked breakfast in one of North Yorkshire's finest market towns?

This was exactly the question which led my sister and I to stop off in Thirsk on our way to visit a fellow dyed-in-the-wool Northallertonian now living on the wrong side of the Pennines in Cheshire.

Our mam joined us for breakfast, but not the weekend trip, and the three of us decided to meet at Yorks of Thirsk, slap bang in the middle of the market square, as none of us had been there before.

The Northern Echo: Sitting outside Yorks of Thirsk is a perfect spot to watch the world go by

On setting foot inside we were immediately given one of the friendliest welcomes I've had in any cafe or pub for a long time and shown to a table in a corner by the counter – a perfect spot to observe our surroundings.

The cafe is in the town's old Post Office, and the decor very much suits the building, with its smart wooden floorboards and chunky old tables.

A cycling theme is evident on the walls, with jerseys, old wheels and Tour de Yorkshire memorabilia providing colourful decorations. Outside, above the entrance, a sign invites riders to "refuel here before tackling the famous Cote de Sutton Bank".

As we were travelling on four wheels rather than two, we did feel a little fraudulent as we eyed the hearty breakfast options on the menu – but Sutton Bank and its one in four climbs will still be there to tackle another day...

The menu is extensive, and although we were looking for breakfast, we checked out the lunches with interest – nine sandwiches, six toasted sandwiches, and nine salads, plus six other hot dishes and a specials board with four more meals, including an intriguing breakfast burrito that I wasn't brave enough to try – I didn't fancy three-plus hours in the car if its filling of sausage, bacon, hash brown, cheddar cheese, fried eggs and sriracha chilli sauce didn't settle well.

Instead, I went for the Yorks of Thirsk breakfast (vegetarian and vegan versions are available). Claire chose poached eggs on toast with added bacon and mushrooms, and our mam, Linda did the same but added tomatoes as well.

The Northern Echo: The Yorks of Thirsk Breakfast

There was a little wait for the food to arrive – always a good sign it is being freshly cooked – but our teas and coffee kept us going nicely, and we watched on as the cafe gradually filled up, both inside and outside, with dog walkers, friends and family groups.

When our breakfasts were served up we could immediately see why Yorks is so popular, with the thick, fresh toast, perfectly poached eggs and generous portions. None of it felt greasy or particularly heavy either, which can be a rarity with a cooked full breakfast.

The Northern Echo: Poached eggs with added bacon and tomato at Yorks of Thirsk

I have a complicated relationship with mushrooms, in that sometimes I enjoy them, and on other occasions, for a reason I can never quite put my finger on, I want to scrape them off my plate and forget they ever existed. Happily, at Yorks, the mushrooms were of the former category, and really tasty.

We all thoroughly enjoyed our choices – the toast, both granary and white, was a highlight – and service throughout was excellent. Knowledgeable, personable and efficient, it was easy to see why the team there are award-winning for their customer service.

The bill, which included three hot drinks, came to £47.70 – perhaps slightly pricier than some places, but well worth it for the quality, and quantity, of what we were served up.

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We'll definitely be back to try some of those lunch options (and the sweet treats) – and I may even come on my bike next time, although I will be steering well clear of Sutton Bank, unless I'm going down-over.

Our breakfast set us up perfectly to venture into the wilds of the M62, and we decided we'd be hard-pressed to find a better all-round cafe experience than Yorks of Thirsk as we travelled up hill, and down dale across the country.

Yorks of Thirsk

1 The Old Post Office, Market Place, Thirsk, YO7 1TF

01845 526776

Ratings (out of ten): Food quality 8 Service 9 Surroundings 9 Value 8