Thursday 29 April 2010

The Street Cafe - Norwich

A more recent write up on the Street Cafe can now be found here

147 Magdalen Street

Breakfast menu served all day

A great cafe on Magdalen Street in Norwich that had been recommended to me a number of times so I decided to give it a try and so should you, it was so good I went back a second time.

Standard English Breakfast - £4.95

Bumper English Breakfast - £7.00

Upon entering - It is a large cafe which feels great the moment you enter, plenty of tables layed out nicely and very clean. Each table has a menu and is equipped with everything you need, the atmosphere feels good and you feel straight away that the food is going to be special. 9/10

Service - The friendly waitress takes your order at the table with a smile and comes back to check everything is ok. It's nice to be served by somebody who seems to enjoy their job and cares about their customers. 9/10

Content - A number of breakfast options are available including vegetarian, I will focus on the Bumper breakfast. 2 sausages, 2 bacon, fried egg, hash brown, mushrooms, beans, tomato, fried bread and toast or bread & butter. 8/10

Presentation - Top stuff! 10/10

The food - Good quality pork sausages, tasty bacon, perfect fried egg, perfect hash brown, nice fresh mushrooms, good quality beans, grilled tomato (OK but I always prefer tinned) Fried bread was not so good, it seemed lightly fried and a bit soft in places. Lovely soft white bread and real butter, perfect for bacon sarnies. 7/10

Value for money - Expensive but quality of food and service makes it feel worth it, you will struggle to finish the bumper breakfast. 7/10

Veggie option - Yes

Overall - Well worth a visit and good food & service. On my second visit I tried the standard breakfast which was equally as good. I will be back there soon! 9/10

***Update - 15/10/11***

This time I went for the traditional breakfast and added extra black pudding for 95p. The food and service was fantastic again and this time round I noticed the entire breakfast menu is served all day!

Here is the all day breakfast menu.

This was on my latest visit in December 2011, this place never fails to impress!

Evening fry ups now available Wednesday, Thursday and Fridays!

Monday 26 April 2010

Aarandale Regent B&B - Northampton

*Now Closed*

6-8 Royal Terrace
Barrack Road

A really friendly B&B in Northampton that is 5 mins from the city centre. The staff are great, it is clean, there is parking at the rear of the building and they put effort into making breakfast.

Upon entering - The tables are set up with cutlery, cups, plates, condiments, butter & a selection of jams. There is a menu on each table clearly explaining what is available. 9/10

Tea & Coffee
Apple or orange juice
A selection of cereals
Full English breakfast (fried, poached or scrambled egg)
or veggie option
Toast & butter
A selection of jams

Service - The staff serving are helpful and friendly, they always ask if you would like anymore of anything so unlimited tea, coffee, fruit juice & toast. Im not sure if you could have a second fry-up as I have never asked. The owner cooks the breakfast and obviously cares about the guests as it always arrives freshly cooked. 8/10

Content - 2 rashers of bacon, 1 sausage, 1 hash brown, baked beans, half a grilled tomato, 1 fried egg or scrambled or poached. A jug of fruit juice, pot of tea or coffee & a rack of hot toast. all the condiments, jam etc are good quality branded products. Some mushrooms would be nice as would tinned tomatoes & fried bread. 7/10

Presentation - Nicely presented on the plate and everything clean. 8/10

The food - Good quality bacon, economy but ok sausage, nicely cooked hash brown, perfect egg, slightly under cooked tomato, great beans and the toast is always hot when it arrives. Not a huge plate of food but with the toast it always fills me up. 7/10

Value for money - It is included in the price of your stay. 8/10

Veggie option - Yes

Overall - What you get is great service and good food, a few times the toast gets forgotten so you have to chase it up but they are busy so easily overlooked. I have never tried the veggie option so cannot comment on that, maybe you get mushrooms though! I like it and will keep returning! 8/10

Tuesday 20 April 2010

Return to Lindens

5 months after my stay at Lindens Guest House in Peterborough having decided to never set foot in there again I find myself ringing on the doorbell again. I was going to see "The Meteors" and needed a cheap room, this time only £20 for the night and I figured I would skip breakfast anyway so not a problem as the rooms seemed ok. After a great night out and a top performance by the kings of Psychobilly I wake up feeling hungry and notice they were still serving breakfast.

It is never wise making decisions with a hangover and maybe that was why 5 minutes later I found myself entering that breakfast room again. This time it was just me in there, I sat down thinking last time must have been a one off, perhaps they have a new cook, maybe they had read my negative review on that I left. I heard footsteps, looked up and the same guy was standing there looking like he really couldn't be arsed to be there. Oh well, one way to find out I thought and ordered the fry-up again. I could hear him pottering around in the kitchen preparing it and minutes later he re-appeared, put it in front of me and said 'full English."

I'm not sure 'full English' best describes it but at least this time it was cooked! The presentation needs working on and curry flavoured sausages were a bit weird but a slight improvement at least.

Where it all started..

Back in August 2009 I stayed at Lindens Guest House in Peterborough with my lovely girlfriend Ella. We chose Lindens Guest House as it was just £36 a night for a double room with breakfast, we were going to see Canadian Psychobilly band "The Creepshow" and just wanted a bed for the night. After a great night out we woke up remembering that breakfast was included in the price so we decided to get up knowing a full English Breakfast had been mentioned on the website when booking. When waking up with a hangover often nothing kills the hangover better than a fry-up, I swear it's the fried eggs that do it! Having stayed in numerous B&B's & hotels over the years generally the breakfasts seem ok, but this time we were in for a real shock.

As we entered a bland looking almost depressing breakfast room with 4 large tables and a number of blank faces staring at us we started to wish we had skipped breakfast and had headed for the front door, oh well no going back now! We found an empty table to sit at, empty as no one else was sitting at it but also empty because nothing at all was on the table. We noticed a table in the corner containing a very basic selection of cereals, fruit juices & tea/coffee making facilities. We grabbed some Fruit juice but skipped the tea as the kettle would only work if you held the switch down. Having downed the fruit juice and sat facing a damp mouldy wall for what seemed like forever we both wondered what you had to do to get a fry-up? Ella asked a man sitting opposite who was munching into a jumbo sausage "How do we get a cooked breakfast?" He looked up, stared blankly for a few seconds and said "ask the man."

Eventually a young, tall, slightly embarrassed looking man arrived at our table and stared at us saying nothing. We assumed he must be the person to ask and luckily he was, finally our much needed fry-up was on it's way, though at this point we were rapidly losing our appetite. About 5 minutes later the man appears again and places our plates in front of us containing 2 jumbo sausages, a slice of toast with a fried egg on top and another slice covered in beans. Ok so it was missing a number of key elements that make up a good fry-up but it looked ok.

I went straight for the jumbo sausage, I will always remember the shock of seeing that uncooked pink centre staring back at me. At this point I had completely lost my appetite but so as not to appear ungrateful decided to try the egg on toast. The egg bleed a raw snotty stream as my knife touched it, rank! Before I had time to think about it too much I cut the corner off my piece of toast with beans on it and popped it in my mouth. What had I done, luke warm beans on half toasted stone cold toast. Me & Ella looked at each other in shock and decided it was time to leave. We walked very briskly to the car park, got in the van and drove off in utter shock trying not to gag. By far the worst breakfast I have ever experienced and there was no way in the world I was going back there again, or so I thought!