Monday 30 August 2010

Rose Marie Guest House - Peterborough

14 Eastfield Road

The table had everything you could possibly need in a breakfast situation close to hand.

Orange juice, perfect for the dreaded hangover and there was a whole big jug available too, slurp. A selection of newspapers were available for guests to read whilst they waited, I only got a few pages in before my food arrived.

The owner clearly cares about his guests and the plate that arrives makes that very clear.

August bank holidays are often a bit of a let down, not much going on and it always ends up raining. This year things were different though, The Meteors were doing 3 UK shows over the bank holiday weekend. I decided to go to the Friday night show in Peterborough, initially I thought about driving and sleeping in the van but ended up booking train tickets and searching for a B&B. In the past I had stayed at Lindens Guest House which had turned out to be a bad idea. A quick search online and I discovered the Marie Rose Guest house, a single room and full Irish breakfast for £25. When I arrived the owner was welcoming and the accommodation was clean. The room had an en-suite bathroom, fridge, microwave, tv, plates & cutlery and enough tea making supplies to last you a couple of weeks. After an excellent Meteors show I woke feeling quite hungover and not particularly hungry but the best way to kill a hangover is a fry-up and plenty of orange juice, so I headed downstairs for breakfast..

Upon entering - The breakfast room is small but nice, everything you could ever need at breakfast sits on the tables or the window ledge. 7/10

Service - The way things are layed out make it clear you can help yourself to anything you want. The owner takes your order if you want a cooked breakfast, offers you newspapers, brings you hot toast and finally returns with the cooked breakfast. 8/10

Content - A selection of cereals, toast, tea, coffee and orange juice. The cooked breakfast contained: 2 sausages, 3 bacon, black pudding, 2 fried eggs, mushrooms, beans & tinned tomatoes. 8/10

Presentation - A lot of food to fit onto the plate but everything sat side by side quite nicely. 7/10

The food - The sausages appeared overcooked but did taste nice as did the bacon, fairly standard black pudding, fried eggs with slightly runny yolks, lots of beans and tinned tomatoes, the mushrooms were well nice. 7/10

Value for money - £25 for a well equipped room for the night and masses of food. Many establishments cut corners but this place didn't, good for them! 9/10

Veggie option - Not sure if there was veggie alternatives to the meat but you wouldn't have left hungry.

Overall - Its so easy to cut corners and so many people unfortunately do to save a few quid. The owner of the Marie Rose cared about his guests and this showed in so many places. I would recommend this place to anyone visiting Peterborough and I would happily return again some day. 7/10

Sunday 29 August 2010

The Copper Kettle - Norwich

The Copper Kettle
Lower Goat Lane

Opening Hours
Monday - Saturday 8.30am - 04.00pm
Sunday 09.00am - 03.00pm

Limited metered parking available on St Giles Street

The Copper Kettle is located in the popular Norwich Lanes area of the city centre.

Inside it is clean, light and spacious.

Copper kettles line the window ledge looking out onto the street outside.

When I visited at only one other customer was there. I later discovered it was 90 year old Harold Walpole enjoying a cup of tea, I hadn't seen him for ages and it was good to have a chat!

Each table had a good selection of condiments and sauces, if only the sauces were the only things that were economy brand.

A good strong mug of tea for £1.10

The food arrives nicely presented and there is plenty on the plate.

The Copper Kettle in Norwich is a place I have passed hundreds of times over the years but had never got round to going into until now. According to their excellent website they have been there for 50 years and many people had recommended it to me so I was quite keen to see what all the fuss was about.

Upon entering - There is the main seating area and a slightly raised seating area towards the back. As I walked up to the counter the friendly lady told me to choose a table and then bought me a menu over. I ordered the Best value super deluxe breakfast for £7.50 as I wanted to try everything, a mug of tea was an extra £1.20. 8/10

Service - The lady taking my order was very friendly and efficient so all good. 8/10

Contents - 2 sausages, 2 bacon, black pudding, 2 fried eggs, fried potato slices, 2 hash browns, fried bread, beans, mushrooms & tinned tomatoes. 9/10

Presentation - A lot of food to fit on the plate but they managed it quite nicely and neatly. 7/10

The food - Everything was cooked nicely but the value sausages were very bland. The bacon & black pudding were nice but not outstanding. The hash browns, beans and tinned tomatoes were nice and the mushrooms were ok. The fried bread was like it always turns out when you make it at home, not crunchy enough and drenched in oil. I felt a few quality ingredients would have made a huge difference. 6/10

Value for money - A lot of food for the money and I couldn't finish it. Fry-ups started at £3.50 if you wanted to spend less. 8/10

Veggie option - Yes, see website link above

Overall - A great place in a good location with friendly staff and service. The cutlery was wafer thin and almost hurt your hands as you cut into things, I have never come across such strange cutlery before! The food will fill you up and is cooked nicely but the economy ingredients is a bit of a let down. 7/10

Review scores explained

- Awful
2 - Really bad
3 - Bad
4 - Not very good
5 - Ok
6 - Above average
7 - Good
8 - Very good
9 - Excellent
10 - Perfect and cannot be improved on

Hunger Breaks - Full Monty in a tin

Available from most supermarkets

It might seem like a good idea at the time but you will end up wishing you never bothered!

Yep, you will think somebody has puked onto your plate!

Me and my wife were shopping for beer as we were off to "Boomtown Fair" (a music festival in Buckingham) for the weekend. We normally either bring a BBQ with us or buy food off the stalls when we get there. We decided against the idea of taking a BBQ this time and kept an eye out for anything instant to eat in the mornings. We noticed Hunger Breaks full monty in a tin for £1.24, thinking they might be ok we grabbed 4 tins.

Waking up on the Saturday morning in the back of the van at Boomtown we suddenly remembered the full monty's in a tin. I think at this point the reality of how rank they were going to be had dawned upon us, what the hell were we thinking when we bought them! It was pissing down with rain outside and we were far too hungover to get dressed and go buy some proper food so we opened a can..

Contents - 2 sausages, bacon slices, beef cutlet, mushrooms, potato chunks & beans. 4/10

The food - Imagine what it would be like to eat cat food then bite into the sausage, bacon & beef cutlet, yuk!! Very bland mushrooms, potatoes & beans. 2/10

Value for money - You will not be impressed, £1.24 spent on anything other than this is always gonna be a better option. It's edible but so is paper, it will fill you up if you can stomach it but don't do it to yourself! 2/10

Overall - Having tried it cold out of the tin I decided to heat the other tins up when I got home again thinking they must be nicer hot. They are just as grim when heated up so do yourself a favour and avoid like the plague. Why the company making these didn't at testing stage realise they were rank and go back to the drawing board is beyond me! 2/10

Pat's Cafe - Norwich

(Now closed)

65-65a Hall Road

The cafe has looked the same for decades

As you enter you feel like you have walked right back into the 80's. On the wall is a slightly faded newspaper article from many years ago featuring Pat's Cafe in its heyday.

There is plenty of seating inside the cafe. In the far corner a "video games" sign still hangs from the ceiling, the video games are long gone and the corner is now occupied by a fruit machine and a selection of cold drinks.

Salt, pepper & vinegar are on each table but don't forget to add sauces from the pump action bottles when you collect your food from the counter.

A good mug of strong tea will keep you occupied till you hear your order called out.

This is the reason Pat's Cafe is always so busy and the reason why you will most likely return.

Norwich has changed a lot over the decades but the city end of Hall Road has been home to pat's Cafe for as long as I can remember. On occasions when mentioning Hall Road people have looked puzzled, but mention Pat's Cafe and they immediately know where you mean. I lived almost opposite it for a number of years, every day I would look at it from the balcony telling myself "I must pop in there one day." When I finally got round to visiting the place I was amazed at how time had stood still there, it really is like stepping back in time to the 1980's. The natural retro feel to the place I like a lot but others could see it as being dated and in need of a makeover. The place is clean but nothing much has changed for decades, even the nicotine stains post smoking ban remain on the walls and ceilings. The place is always busy and has a steady flow of regulars that can't get enough of the place. It certainly has lots of character and quirkiness aside they know how to cook a good fry-up.

Upon entering - As you walk in and take a step back in time you may well be too overwhelmed to notice the counter. Just keep walking and you will eventually find yourself at the counter, menus are displayed on the walls. Place your order, pay, grab some cutlery and find a table, there are plenty to choose from. 8/10

Service - The staff seem friendly enough and when your food is ready they will shout out the order. This can become a bit confusing and you may well walk up to collect your order and realise it is someone else's who has ordered the same thing as you. The person shouting the orders will soon inform you of this and you simply sit and wait until yours is ready. 7/10

Contents - I ordered the full monty for £5.25, it contained: 2 sausages, 2 bacon, 2 eggs*, Fried potato slices, tinned tomatoes, beans & bread and butter. (*as they had run out of mushrooms an extra egg was added) 7/10

Presentation - Nicely presented on a large oval plate, everything sat together just right. 9/10

The food - Very nice juicy butchers sausages and tasty bacon. Slightly crispy hand cut potato slices, perfectly cooked fried eggs, standard but nice beans, tinned tomatoes & bread and butter. 8/10

Value for money - £5.25 seemed like a fair price and other types of fry-up are available for less money, tea was just 55p a mug. 8/10

Veggie option - Yes

Overall - It might not be everyones cup of tea but plenty of people love the place. There are not that many places like this left anymore so treat yourself to a trip back in time and a good down to earth fry-up at Pat's Cafe. 8/10