Monday, 31 March 2014

Bowthorpe shopping centre cafe - Norwich

(Now Closed)

11a Bowthorpe Main Centre
Wendene
Norwich
NR5 9HA


The cafe is opposite Roys in Bowthorpe shopping centre.




Inside it felt quite depressing and lacked any atmosphere.




The one menu I eventually found contained a selection of breakfasts served all day.




Economy ketchup and an almost empty salt pot didn't exactly fill me with much hope!



 
A little jar on the table containing what looked like coffee beans, perhaps things were looking up and they served a decent coffee here!



 
Sadly not though, a really cheap instant coffee cost £1.20 and didn't taste of much at all.




Oh dear.. Not a pretty sight.




The crunchy hash brown was probably the highlight of this breakfast, the portion of beans on this gutbuster breakfast was tiny.




 A gutbusting one cherry tomato cut in half and around two mushrooms sliced.




 
Burnt fried bread and eggs covered in black stuff from the griddle.




The cheap economy sausage sunk in despair as I cut through it..




Bowthorpe shopping centre cafe had been on my "places to visit soon" list for a long time, with a morning to spare I headed out to Bowthorpe to finally see what the breakfast being served there was like..

Upon entering - There were lots of people sitting outside by the door when I arrived, inside was empty though. It is a fairly large cafe with an open plan kitchen in the corner by the door and a good number of tables to choose from. I thought it felt quite a depressing place to sit and dine laking any real character, everything was looking a bit tired and worn. There didn't seem to be any menus anywhere but I did eventually spot one on a table by the window. The menu itself felt quite sticky to touch and was in need of a clean. There was a small pot containing what looked like coffee beans on each table but don't be under any illusion that the coffee served here is going to be special, £1.20 buys you a mug of cheap instant with very little taste. The condiments and sauces were on a table by the door along with cutlery and serviettes, almost empty salt pots and value ketchup will further depress you. Place your order at the counter and pay, drinks and food are brought over when they are ready. 3/10

Service - I couldn't see a menu anywhere at first so asked the lady behind the counter about breakfasts, she told me what was available and I chose the gutbuster. The group of people sitting outside where occasionally ordering drinks which were served between making my breakfast. My drink arrived first and a bit later the breakfast was being plated up in the kitchen, at this point a customer from outside popped his head in the door asking where his coffee was. As my breakfast was being brought over to me the lady said to me "who does he think he is? F***ing royalty" (referring to the customer requesting his coffee) This was the first time ever a breakfast had been served with an f word, quite shocking! 2/10

Contents - 2 sausages, 2 bacon, 2 hash browns, 2 fried eggs, 2 slices of fried bread, mushrooms, 1 cherry tomato and  a tiny serving of beans. 6/10

Presentation - Any breakfast served with economy sausages is never a pretty sight but combine this with slightly burnt fried bread and black stuff from the griddle coating the bacon and eggs and you find yourself looking at a breakfast that has clearly not been cooked with pride. Visually it reminded me of the kind of breakfast served from a mobile catering van at a music festival. 3/10

The food - The bacon although black in places tasted ok but the overcooked economy sausages were far from special releasing air as I cut into them revealing their cheap spongy insides. The hash browns were crispy and the tiny portions of mushrooms and beans were fairly standard. The tiny cherry tomato seemed out of place on a breakfast named "gutbuster" but did taste ok. The fried bread was burnt in places and was more like dry toast. The eggs did have runny yolks and tasted ok but the black bits covering them didn't make them look too good. 3/10

Value for money - The gutbuster cost £5.75 and the instant coffee £1.20. Neither were enjoyable so £6.95 wasted. 3/10

Veggie option - Vegetarian sausage, 1 egg, 1 hash brown, mushrooms, beans, tomato and toast/bread or fried slice. £4.75

Overall - I had not discovered breakfast heaven here, with a shabby looking breakfast thrown together using cheap ingredients I had got close to entering breakfast hell. On a positive note everything was served piping hot but when it is presented so badly the enjoyment factor is no longer there anyway. 3.5/10


55 comments:

  1. Was looking to visit the Bowthorpe Centre Cafe a couple of Sundays ago with the wife; was disappointed it was shut (at the time). Looks like we had a lucky escape!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You most certainly did, a stroke of luck!!

      Delete
    2. The cafe has now reopened and Roy's own it. So hopefully things are looking up for the shopping centre. Everytie I've been passed there's been customers eating there.

      Delete
  2. Ahhh, Bowthorpe. Lovely Bowthorpe, the shining cultural jewel that illuminates Norwich with its splendour.

    I think you may have been a little harsh on the service score, the lady only swore once, which could be seen as the height of manners in such a pleasant area.

    I'm surprised you didn't get mugged. Well that fry up looks awful, oh wait...guess you got mugged paying for that plate of "food".

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Not all of bowthorpe is bad!!! Yes people in this pleasant area do have manners, don't all swear or go around mugging people!!!

      Delete
    2. Mugged shut up bowthorpe is that bad and I remember when the cafe.was called sultans my mum used to take us there to eat after shopping when roy's was once sainsburys don't dis the place Yea the cafe now is well vile I ate there a year bk n never again

      Delete
    3. I lived in bowthorpe for years and mum still does never had problems and people are very friendly

      Delete
    4. Apologies to you all - it's just every time I've had to set foot in Bowthorpe there's nearly always been an incident of some kind.


      Delete
    5. Well mayb thts a reflection on u n not bowthorpe!!!

      Delete
  3. I use to work in there a few years ago when it was under a different manager (at least 3 or 4 changes of hands ago) I was 17 at the time and was left running the cafe on various times by myself I eventually left when I realized they were playing around with my money. I went there last year and had a fantastic meal (at the time New manager) and was so happy to see the place so cheery went there last month hoping that the same person was still running it (sadly not) at least half of the food was unavailable, the children's high chairs were disgusting, the food took 3/4 of an hour to arrive the I didn't even give my son what I ordered for him as I wouldn't even eat it, tbh I'm not heading back there again sadly :(

    ReplyDelete
  4. Try the Cafe on Mill Road, Hethersett.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Is that The China Tang Tea House Village Cafe? I will give it a look, cheers!

      Delete
  5. Dixies café in Sprowston is good but we lost the bedt cafe this Christmas ehen longwater cafe in costessey shut.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have visited Dixies and Longwater, both are on the blog. I really like Dixies!

      Delete
    2. Try the third crossing in lowestoft.... Best breakfast for miles guaranteed

      Delete
    3. Having been a regular to Longwater cafe I highly recommend Ivys cafe on Catton Grove Road. I know its on the otherside of the city but for me it has the same freindly chatty staff and the food is great and value top notch.

      Delete
    4. Ivy's is great, they are in my recommended section.

      Delete
  6. Bond street cafe serves lovely fry ups

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have been there and it is featured on the blog, a great breakfast!

      Delete
    2. Is this just a oppitunity to plug other cafes...?

      Delete
  7. Bowthorpe one needs to be shut down.!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Third crossing, lowestoft best breakfast for miles!!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Try the unthank kitchen on unthank road I think you'd like it but go when it's quiet as not much seating inside....... enjoy

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have been there and yes, a good breakfast. The review is on the blog, cheers!

      Delete
  10. The best cafe in Norwich is the runway near the airport. Try it! !

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Do you mean Airways Cafe near the airport? I tried it and it is reviewed on the blog.

      Delete
  11. Bond street are lovely peeps. The food reasonable. Some lovely food on menu. Not gt deal meat content in sussage however. Will change bits to customise your fryup.
    Wouldnt eat at bowthorpe cafe even if free. Feels dirty as walk in

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have visited Bond Street Cafe and agree, a great cafe!

      Delete
  12. Perfect place to spend ur doll money lol - I agree its a dump and an eye sore and attracts some dodgy low lifes - hate walking past it :/

    ReplyDelete
  13. try Harbour Breakfast Bar in Gorleston or Jesters Diner in Great Yarmouth or The Lighthouse in Lowestoft all serve amazing breakfast you cannot go wrong!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I will try and visit both soon, thanks for the recommendations!

      Delete
  14. Lived in Bowthorpe for 16 years and have never been in, not very inviting, could be a nice place in the right hands, with a lot of money spent on decor in and out.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There is certainly lots that can be improved on and it could then be a great cafe maybe?

      Delete
    2. It is a whole lot better since roys took over it. Lovely and clean inside and good food at reasonable prices

      Delete
  15. I have just been to morrisons for a big breakfast and I must say it was lovely and a good price :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Morrisons is reviewed on the blog, thanks!

      Delete
  16. two best breakfasts ever: The White Lion Cafe near Norwich market, opposite the entrance to Castle Mall Shopping Centre - and the Patisserie in Drayton Road, opposite The Cock pub.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have not yet been to Drayton Patisserie but hear it is good and plan to visit soon. The White Lion Cafe is on my blog and displays a "fry up inspector recommended" sticker. A great place indeed!

      Delete
    2. The Drayton Patisserie gave me food poisoning and I ended up in hospital from it on a drip!!! Beware!!!

      Delete
  17. oh dear.certainly was not a gutbuster .and you made me laugh when u mentioned value sauce lol.did not look worth the money

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It wasn't the wisest £6.95 I have spent! The value sauce still in its original bottle was a shocker, sneakily poured into a heinz or even a plain squeezy bottle may have been a better option for them!!

      Delete
  18. I ran this cafe a few years ago and really wish you had come in back then, cleaning that griddle is a nasty, nasty job, the same as changing the oil in the fryers and refilling the sauce pots (heinz only) salt pots and wrapping the knives and forks in a napkin and taking them to the tables with the meals. Cleaning the floor was a nightmare and dont even get me started on the grease trap! All these jobs are time consuming and not pleasant but we did it, regularly, and never ever sent food out with burnt pieces of griddle all over them, EVER! We put blinds up the windows, played music and had a fish tank, fully stocked fridge, clean high chairs, lollipops for the children and always tried to get to know our customers and gauge whether they were the type that wanted to chat or just eat their brekkie in peace.....I went to this cafe a few weeks ago and was shocked by the change, so depressing and the service was so incredibly poor, the 'chef' and 'server' even went out the front to have a cigarette and came in and served somebody after without washing their hands.....so disappointing the place had so much potential :(

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Things sounded much better back then and you clearly run the place with some pride. A real shame it has since gone downhill, it must have been a shock when you recently popped in again.

      Delete
    2. shut it down end of story

      Delete
    3. I had the pleasure of coming in while you guys ran it and loved it. Sad to see that the current owners have destroyed the reputation you had built up.

      Delete
  19. It wasn't all that bad this time, about a year ago.
    It was kept tidy, the staff were welcoming and the food was alright! -Maybe a little pricey for what it were, but enjoyable!

    It's a shame to see it how it is now.
    It could be such a good little Cafe!

    ReplyDelete
  20. They managed to completely botch my order about 3 years ago and when I pointed it out I got told off. Classy. No returns for me

    ReplyDelete
  21. I bring good news, apparently the lease runs out in September and through the grape vine i have heard that wont be renewing it!!!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Excellent! I hope the new owners transform it into a great cafe for Bowthorpe.

      Delete
  22. Acting Manager: We have made a lot of changes to the cafe since your visit, and I am pleased that you highlighted how poor our service was - we have had a complete change of staff and supplier of food since then and as we have said before we welcome you back to try us again. We took all your comments seriously and personally cleaned the place which had not been regularly attended to. We are doing our level best to keep the cafe open in a square which has seen several shops close, and therefore a greatly diminished passing trade. The more support the cafe is shown, the more cash we have at the start of the week to purchase stock, to increase menu availability and quality, which was what we did back in March last year when we began managing it on behalf of the current owner. I only wish we could have kept all the staff we took on back then as they were excellent. :( That said, our current staff are excellent and I hope you will show them your support.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Bein there loads of times over the yrs I thot it was ok

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Why settle for ok though, there are some amazing breakfasts out there on the streets of Norwich.

      Delete
  24. Went passed the other day and is now closed...

    ReplyDelete
  25. I went in there on Saturday.what a transformation, now Roys run/own it.It is now 5 Star cafe.The service is excellent,so are the staff.
    The manager is a credit to Roys.Keep up the good work..

    ReplyDelete
  26. Have been visiting sporadically for about 6 months-their all day breakfast was fine and convenient as I work nights and live nearby. About two weeks ago called in around 2pm to be told "we don't do breakfast at this time, and anyway we have run out of tomatoes and bacon so you can't have one." The signage around the seating area and the A board outside said they did. Roy's Cafe is about 20 yards from Roy's Supermarket where they sell.... tomatoes and bacon! The customer experience was sad.

    ReplyDelete