Sunday 26 June 2011

Agora at The Copper Kettle - Cambridge (revisited)

4 Kings Parade

The location is perfect, directly opposite Kings College on Kings Parade.

Inside it is modern, light and spacious.

Since my first visit in June 2011 the menu had changed, the economy sausage had been  replaced by a local Cambridge sausage and hash browns were now part of the breakfast.

A good selection of sugar.

Top brand condiments were a nice touch.

This is the slightly revamped breakfast and it tasted good.

The deep fried mushrooms were saturated in oil and not so good though.

Back in June 2011 I visited Agora at the copper kettle for the first time. I was not too impressed with the economy sausages back then and felt it was letting down an otherwise good breakfast. There was quite a number of comments left on the blog and one comment that caught my eye was left by a local Cambridge student, it said "Fry up inspector! I have news for you. I am a student at Cambridge and recently visited the Copper Kettle for breakfast. The place has been refurbished AND the breakfast has changed! Gone are the old sausages...which have been replaced by a 'Cambridge sausage' from a local butchers ( i have been told)...they now also give hash browns, and 2 eggs! The sausage was very nice i must say! You should re-visit...and maybe do a 2012 update for the website (which Im a big fan of by the way!)" 

I was back in Cambridge again and knew I needed to return to try the new breakfast and update my write-up if things had changed. second time round here is what happened.

Upon entering - Location wise this place is perfect, sited directly opposite Kings College. I realised straight away that this place was here mainly for the tourists. There are plenty of tables in this light and airy establishment, everything is nice and clean and there is full waitress service. 7/10

Service - Back in 2011 I said "Friendly and efficient waitress service though we did have to wait a fairly long time for the food to arrive. 7/10" On my second visit though the service was very odd indeed, it was almost as if they didn't like the look of us or want us there and was far from friendly. It started off ok with the waiter taking our order and eventually the food arrived. My girlfriend asked politely for some more butter for her toast but was ignored so asked again. He then giving her a bit of a frown said abruptly "yes, yes I am getting you more butter" and returned with the butter looking most annoyed. I have no idea why he responded like that and it was incredibly rude. When my girlfriend later went to pay she mentioned the mushrooms were not very nice and the person taking her card payment again looking most annoyed ripped the receipt from the card machine and decided to not charge for the mushrooms but in a very brash and annoyed manner without saying anything. My girlfriend was about to mention to the lady that she was very rude but she quickly turned to another customer and walked away, the only time we got a smile from any of the staff was as we were leaving and I think they were just glad to see the back of us! On my search for fry up perfection service is as important as the food and when it is not good it ruins the whole experience. Such a shame as it was good the first time round and after this experience I will never return here again. 1/10

Contents - 1 sausage, 1 bacon, 2 fried eggs, 1 hash brown, beans, half a grilled tomato, mushrooms (as an extra item) 2 slices of toast with butter and marmalade. 7/10

Presentation - Im not a fan of square plates and the beans being served in a separate bowl is not for me but it looked nice when it arrived, upon closer inspection there was a fair bit of excess oil on the plate though. 7/10

The food - The sausage was a huge improvement since last time and tasted delicious, it seemed a shame to deep fry such a good sausage though! The bacon was ok and went nicely between 2 slices of toast, the toast was really nice but just one small packet of butter between 2 slices of toast was not really enough. The best thing about this breakfast was without a doubt the fantastic fried eggs. The hash brown was nicely crispy and the beans  and tomato were rather nice. The mushrooms were pretty grim though deep fried and saturated with oil. 7/10

Value for money - £5.25 and an extra £1 if you want mushrooms. We were let of the £1 for the mushrooms as we pointed out they were not nice. The food is well worth the money but when the staff were rude it didn't really feel like money wisely spent. 3/10

Veggie option - Yes, the same cost as the meat breakfast and the meat is substituted with mushrooms. A veggie sausage would have been a nice touch.

Overall - I was looking forward to revisiting Agora at the copper kettle and hoping to increase the overall score as last time everything was good but the sausages were letting the breakfast down. They have certainly improved the sausage situation, just a shame it is deep fried though. What sadly let the place down this this time though was the rude staff, when a business relies on customers surely you can't afford to be rude to them? Agora at the copper kettle most likely has regular customers but its prime location opposite Kings College puts it in a tourist hot spot so I guess many tourists eat there too just once on their trip to Cambridge. We were polite and possibly seen as tourists but there is no need for rudeness and for me it guarantees I will not return again. 5/10

Friday 24 June 2011

Longwater Cafe - Norwich

- Now closed -

68 Longwater Lane

The cafe can be found off Dereham Road on Longwater lane, there is not much parking space outside though.

Order your food at the counter, the blackboard will help you decide which fry up you are after.

Sit by the window if you prefer or even outside if you fancy it.

The binmen were either camera shy or just very fond of their truck.

The coffee was fairly standard but is included in the price of the breakfast.

The condiments were all present and correct but could have done with a quick wipe.

The big breakfast was indeed nice and big.

Under those 2 eggs were 2 whole uncut slices of good fried bread, there goes another few days off my life!

Nice sausages, tinned tomatoes and really tasty mushrooms. Things were going well!

This was the first time I would be leaving a Fry Up Inspector calling card with web address on the back.

Having not had a fry up last week due to the radio interview I was keen to visit somewhere this week, I had been told that Longwater Cafe was supposed to be good by a couple of people so it seemed like a Friday morning fry up inspection plan to me...

Upon entering - I did have a few problems finding somewhere to park but managed to squeeze in along the side of the cafe. As I entered I noticed the counter straight ahead with a large blackboard displaying a good selection of fry ups on it. The cafe has a fairly large seating area with all the tables nicely spread out, there was a couple of tables outside too. Order at the counter, grab some cutlery from around the corner (I did look but never spotted the cutlery) and take a seat. 6/10

Service - The lady taking my order was friendly and offered me the different breakfast options ensuring I got exactly what I wanted. The other lady who bought my food to me was friendly and efficient even happy to bring me cutlery that I had not spotted earlier on a table around the corner. 7/10

Contents - 2 sausages, 2 bacon, 2 fried eggs, 2 slices of fried bread, 2 hash browns, beans, tinned tomatoes and mushrooms. 9/10

Presentation - Everything sat together quite nicely on the plate, the fried eggs were so happy in fried bread heaven one of them shed a tear. 8/10

The food - The sausages were to my delight fairly good standard with good texture, the bacon was nice too. The 2 whole uncut slices of decent fried bread were a real treat and they housed the fried eggs quite nicely. The hash browns were crispy and tasty and the mushroom were a real pleasure to eat with a great taste too. There was only 1 small tinned tomato but the good amount of beans made up for this. 8/10

Value for money - The big breakfast with a mug of tea or coffee was £5 which seemed like a fair deal to me! 8/10

Veggie option - Yes.

Overall - It is quite far off the beaten track if you live in the city but well worth a look if you are passing. Good service, a lot of nice food for your money and not an economy sausage to be seen anywhere. 8/10

Wednesday 22 June 2011

Fry Up Inspector makes it onto the BBC

After a live interview at Harty's Diner on Friday 17th June for BBC Radio Norfolk I was then featured on BBC Look East's breakfast show, the feature can be seen here.

Friday 17 June 2011

Thanks for looking!!

There are nearly 50 fry up reviews on my blog with an A-Z of places visited so far on the left hand column of this page, either click on those or when you get to the bottom of this page click on "older posts" to view more. I also have a Fry Up Inspector Facebook page click here to take a look. Thanks!

Monday 13 June 2011

Morrisons - Norwich

Albion Way

Once you have placed your food order queue up here for a drink and then pay at the till.

There were plenty of free tables when I arrived at 11am.

A good pot of tea to wash the food down.

Salt, pepper and vinegar are on each table but ensure you remember any sauces you want at the till. You get 1 sachet of sauce free per meal, additional sachets cost 8p each.

A rather ugly looking and overcooked egg covered the rest of the food on the plate.

The slightly shameful fried egg tasted like it had departed from the frying pan quite some time ago.

Everything else on the plate was ok and the fried bread was quite nice.

Having tried Tesco and Sainsburys my thoughts turned to Morrisons, I shop there each week and had yet to visit the cafe for a fry up. At a glance I had noticed the fry ups there looked rather tasty so the time had come to see if they could better the other 2 supermarket giants...

Upon entering - As you enter the cafe you will notice a large menu and food ordering point. The cafe area is really big so you are always likely to get a table. Order your food and you are given a number, help yourself to a drink if you want one and pay at the till. Remember to get any sauces you need when you are paying at the till, grab some cutlery before picking a table and popping your number onto it. 7/10

Service - The lady taking my order, the chap on the till and the lady bringing me my food were all nice and friendly. The problem was that the food was ready before I had even payed for it at the till some 3 minutes after ordering it, swift service is all well and good but I had a feeling the food may well have been served before I had even entered the store. 6/10

Contents - 1 sausage, 2 bacon, 2 hash browns, half a slice of fried bread, half a grilled tomato, fried egg, mushrooms and beans. 8/10

Presentation - A bit hard to tell at first with the big unsightly fried egg sprawled across everything, having moved the egg aside everything else sat quite nicely though. 6/10

The food - The sausage although fairly cheap was quite enjoyable as was the bacon. The fried egg had seen better days, it was overcooked and a bit rubbery. The hash browns were a bit overcooked and chewy but the fried bread was great and a real pleasure to eat. The mushrooms and beans were ok and the tomato tasted fantastic. 6/10

Value for money - Morrisons 'famous big breakfast' cost me £4.29 which is a fair price but it didn't seem such good value with the ropey fried egg so.. 7/10

Veggie option - Hash browns, beans, mushrooms, tomato, buttered toast and a fried egg for £2.69

Overall - I must admit I was hoping for better and wonder if it was just bad timing and an hour later a much better plate of food could have arrived? I first thought that Tesco's system of serving your food in front of you as you queue was not such a good idea as the food didn't stay hot long enough, but at least you could choose what you liked the look of. The food was fairly cheap and tasted ok, the service was good but the fried egg did trouble me slightly. It was better than Sainsbury's but I did prefer Tesco so.. 7/10

Tuesday 7 June 2011

Cake perfection!

Turning 40 is not so bad, especially when you are presented with the perfect cake based on Harty's amazing fry up!

Thank you Vanilla Cloud Bakery for making it and my lovely girlfriend for arranging it!