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Since my first visit in June 2011 the menu had changed, the economy sausage had been  replaced by a local Cambridge sausage and hash browns were now part of the breakfast.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 Gone are the old sausages...which have been replaced by a 'Cambridge sausage' from a local butchers ( i have been told)...they now also give hash browns, and 2 eggs!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


  1. i think the bean bowl was to fill the plate as it looks very sparse lol

  2. The problem with spreading the food out round the edge of the plate like that is it does cold very quickly, which is just stupid as it does nothing for the presentation with the "bucket 'o' beans" in the middle being the only thing which might remain warm. The tiny packet of butter to last two full slices of bread is just tight, and goes further to reduce the credibility of this meagre offering from a place where superb fry-ups should be plentiful and offer students great value for money. As mentioned in a previous Morrisons analysis, economy sausages and low budget beans force a further reduction in the overall score for this paltry breakfast. Cheers... Mark B

  3. Noted after your review and my earlier comments how similar this cafe's namesake in Norwich appears to be, they have clearly spent the money on first impressions and not on lasting ones like the quality of the food ingredients used. There's no excuse for value sausages, although my dog prefers them to decent flavoursome ones for some reason. Cheers... MB

  4. Very true Mark, if I ever come across another Copper Kettle Cafe anywhere again I will immediately expect a cheap sausage. A little bit extra spent on better ingredients would have been a good move even if it meant putting the price up a bit.

  5. that looks like a disappointment on a plate! please bring out the good quality ingredients.

    John and Zoe

  6. Dr Heinz Haricot20 October 2011 at 18:25

    Dear Sir,

    I was very shocked by your review of this fine establishment. I was immediately taken aback by your lack of appreciation for the enclosed bean recepticle - its function is surely obvious to anyone who had dined on cooked breakfasts in the past, namely to prevent bean sauce contamination of the other breakfast components.

    In fact, I'm beginning to question your credentials as a "Fry-up Inspector" - please do not make any other schoolboy errors in future. I'm probably doing a disservice to schoolboys, who have surely suffered at the hands of soggy sauce-covered toast like the rest of us.

    Yours disappointedly,


  7. I have heard of the bean sauce contamination on my travel Heinz but it is not something I fear. For me the toast is there to put the beans on top of along with an egg.

  8. Whoever this fry up inspector is he clearly hasnt got a clue. While butter is served in one portion, i doubt it is beyond your capabilities to simply ask for one more upon realising you have no butter, yet two pieces of toast left....

    I agree with Heinzy on the beans thing, if you are that fussed - pour the beans and hand the bowl to a member of staff...simple.

    Not sure if you have sampled all your breakfasts at Hilton hotels or if you are simply too 'busy' inspecting that you seem to forget how to use your hands and mouth for anything other than eating.

    I say man up

  9. I am simply on a search for the perfect fry up experience and having to catch the attention of a waitress for a bit more butter for my toast isn't really fry up experience heaven in my eyes. As soon as my breakfast photo was taken I did pour the beans onto the plate, my point here about the bean bowl was why bother trying to be up-market yet serve cheap, nasty sausages. I say try Tudor Rose Cafe on Mill Road or CB2 on Norfolk Street for a better breakfast experience in Cambridge!

  10. Ive always enjoyed my breakfast experience there. and certainly tudor rose or CB2 cannot produce the view or atmosphere that Copper Kettle does

  11. If the view out of the window is what is important whilst eating breakfast then I must agree that the view from Agora is stunning, for me though it is more about the food. I would as I mentioned in my write up much sooner have paid a couple of quid more and been served a half decent sausage. For me the stunning view is soon spoilt the moment you bite into that economy sausage which is a bit of a shame really..

  12. 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!)

  13. That is great news! I visit Cambridge fairly frequently and will pop in and see the changes next time I am there and update my write up if it impresses. They have such an amazing location an amazing breakfast to go with it is just what was needed. Thanks for letting me know!

  14. RE: Baked bean juice contamination....I have to add my tuppence-happeny. I suffer from a severe baked bean juice contamination phobia & always have my beans in a bowl, separate from the rest of the food. I suspect someone at Agora/Copper Kettle has encountered a bean-juice phobic individual at some point in his/her catering career and is in fact, doing the one thing I wish all fry-up establishments would do...serving beans in a bowl. This would make me go there DumDumSnr.

  15. Hi,

    I am writing as a member of the management at Agora at the Copper Kettle. I regularly check various websites in order to improve our business and was saddened in reading about your experience.

    I can assure you the members of staff working that day have been warned about their conduct and hope that you accept my sincere apologies for what happened.


  16. Hi, This is good to hear as you have a lovely establishment in a fantastic location and serve a good breakfast, for me the rude service really did ruin our experience on our last visit so glad to hear it has been addressed.

  17. I have to say that the chocolate nut crunch is delicious! Now they have subtituted the Black Chocolate Nut Crunch for a White Chocolate one, but still, it was fantastic!

  18. Troby and Sefud will be visiting soon for a review on I hope the sausage is up to scratch!

    1. Good luck! I look forward to reading the review :-)

  19. New Copper Kettle Review! The staff were fine. But there were reservations about the sausage. Read it at the Cambridge Breakfast Blog -

  20. If you want a *decent* breakfast, you'll need to travel further north than Cambridge!

    1. Well that's total bollocks for a start, what on earth has location or the North/South divide got to do with a decent fry up? I've had brekkos from the West of Scotland to Southampton in the South of England, and pretty much everywhere in between. I've had shockers everywhere, but great ones too.