Friday 29 July 2011

Guest Review by Tim Kemp

Chapelfield Mall

Had a Garfunkel's breakfast today. I used to enjoy 'em, although pricey, but I kinda find it hard to want to go back when I ask for extra toms to replace the egg (which I can't eat) and find that I get three thin slices of uncooked tomato instead, presumably, of two. So... a small sausage, one rasher of bacon, a few beans and fries, button mushrooms, and two small slices of toast - oh and the uncooked sliced tom... £7.00 (including the 15% discount). Don't even get a free tea or coffee anymore. Just thought I'd share my disappointment. How did it taste? Fair to middling pretty much says it all. I think it's my last Garfunkel's fry up.

Tim Kemp

Sunday 24 July 2011

The People's Palace - Norwich

26 Suffolk Square

You can sit outside if you prefer.

The healthy option was available but the all day breakfast screamed "choose me!"

The condiments and sauces lived in the basket together in perfect harmony.

Order and pay here.

This decent mug of coffee was included in the price of the all day breakfast, if you prefer tea you can have that instead though.

The soft and fluffy white bread & butter was perfect to wrap around the bacon.

I was expecting 2 sausages but 3 arrived and they were good quality too.

I had gone to bed the night before unsure about whether to go to the 25th VW Bug Jam Festival or not so I decided to wake up on Friday morning and go with my gut feeling. Friday morning came and I had a strong gut feeling to not bother going so decided to start the day with a fry up instead. I thought hard about where in Norwich to go to and realised I was running out of places to try, I tried to visualise different areas of Norwich thinking of somewhere I hadn't been to yet when it dawned on me... The People's Palace!! I pulled up outside where there was plenty of parking and headed through the door...

(After breakfast my gut feeling about attending the Bug Jam did a u turn and we decided to go after all. We must have been about 10 miles away when we found out it was sold out and nobody else would be allowed in, bugger! We decided to keep going anyway and chance it as we were so close and did manage to get in and have a great weekend!)

Upon entering - There is a good number of tables inside and a few placed outside too. The blackboard outside will help you decide before you have made it to the counter which is located towards the rear of the cafe. You will need to order, grab cutlery and choose a table, the food will be bought over when it is ready. I felt quite happy inside the cafe which for some reason reminded me a bit of Roy's Cafe on Coronation Street, I'm not sure why, it just did. 7/10

Service - The man and lady working in the cafe were really friendly, including me in their conversations and seemed to give the place a friendly edge. As I was eating my food a lady came in who had no money and she was told she could have some food and pay them when she got payed again, I'm not suggesting they give credit but it was nice to see how they seemed to really care about their customers and the name of the cafe seemed really fitting. 9/10

Contents - 3 sausages (2 were listed on menu), 2 bacon, 2 fried eggs, hash brown, half a slice of fried bread, beans, a slice of bread & butter and a hot drink. 7/10

Presentation - The sausages and hash brown were a bit dark in places but everything sat together well on the plate. 6/10

The food - I was delighted to discover that the sausages were really nice porky butchers ones, they did appear a bit overcooked but tasted delicious and had probably just caramelised a bit, Matt Davies fashion! The bacon was nice and chunky and really tasty too but could have done with a bit longer in the pan. The fried eggs were spot on and the beans were that perfect stodgy texture that I love. The hash brown was different to any other I had tried and although it appeared slightly well done in places was remarkably good. The fried bread was nice but a bit like when I attempt it at home myself, cooked more in some places than others. It has been a long time since I have eaten such lovely fluffy white bread and butter. 8/10

Value for money - Well worth the asking price of £4.30, especially when you get an extra sausage! 8/10

Veggie option - Yes, there was a veggie breakfast advertised at the counter with veggie sausages for £4.30.

Overall - There were many things about this place that I liked. The fact it seemed to be a real place to meet and socialise for many locals and the owners seemed to really care about their customers. The fact that despite the budget price tag really nice ingredients were used and of course the fact I got an extra sausage! Keep up the good work People's Palace!! 8/10

Saturday 16 July 2011

Frankie & Benny's - Stansted Airport

Departure area
Stansted Airport

Turn left as you enter the departure lounge to find Frankie & Benny's.

A selection of breakfasts were available, I went for traditional.

The reality of going on holiday alone had just hit him.

This looked like a nice place to sit.

The seating area is really big and the lady to the left has spotted me taking a photo.

There is a full waiter service.

The fork was dirty but they changed it right away.

As it is inside the airport expect funny little knives.

No expense was spared on the sauces.

The coffee was £1.95 and was just what you needed when getting up at silly o' clock to drive to the airport.

Toast was not included costing around £1.50 extra, the rack was full when it arrived at the table.

The sprig of parsley was the only thing left on the plate at the end.

After months of looking forward to the Pineda Psychobilly Meeting the day had finally arrived to drive to Stansted airport and fly over to Spain. Usually we have breakfast at Wetherspoons in the departure lounge but this time we fancied a change and headed into Frankie & Benny's...

Upon entering - There was a sign at the entrance that said "Please wait to be seated," you are then shown to a table by one of the waiters. As it is in the airport departure lounge the seating area is really big with a selection of tables and around the edge booths with nice comfy seats, although very busy it is still a nice environment to sit in. There are menu's on each table so you just decide what you want and wait for the waiter to come over to take your order. 8/10

Service - I was quite impressed with how efficient the waiters were, as soon as we required anything it was sorted out promptly. We noticed that one of the forks had hard egg yolk between the prongs but as soon as we mentioned it the waiter bought us a clean one and an apology. Also when the food arrived only one plate turned up as they though we had only ordered one breakfast, before steam had time to exit my ears they brought another breakfast over. It was a good job they did as eating separately due to meals arriving at different times would have resulted in a low score as nothing is more annoying, except maybe dirty cutlery or square plates. 8/10

Contents - 1 sausage, 1 bacon, 1 free range fried egg, grilled half of tomato, sauteed mushrooms, Frankie's herb potatoes and a sprig of parsley. 6/10

Presentation - Everything looked nicely placed on the plate with a sprig of parsley to finish it off. 7/10

The food - A rich tasting and quite herby quality sausage and fairly decent bacon, the fried egg was very nice but a tad raw on top of the yolk, the tomato was incredible and full of flavour and the sauteed mushrooms were spot on. I'm not a fan of fried potatoes on my breakfast but these were really nice, full of flavour and crispy around the edge. 8/10

Value for money - The traditional breakfast cost £6.95 which for an airport seemed quite reasonable. 7/10

Veggie option - Free range fried or scrambled eggs, grilled flat mushroom, french toast, grilled red & yellow peppers, grilled tomato and baked beans.

Overall - Compared to eating at the Weatherspoons in the airport did I prefer it? Yes definitely, you get less food but the quality is much better and it tastes delicious. The environment is much nicer and the service is better too. I know I will be heading back here again next time I'm at Stansted. 7.5/10


I found myself back at Stansted on 27th August so decided to try the bigger "New England Breakfast" for £8.95. It was definitely better having double sausage, bacon, eggs and some beans.

This one was the best so far on 15-12-2011

Sunday 3 July 2011

Byfords of Holt

1-3 Shirehall Plain
NR25 6BG

Breakfast served 7 days a week 8am - noon

Holt is a lovely market town, Byfords can be found on Shirehall Plain in the town centre.

Inside is spotlessly clean and traditional.

There are a good number of tables outside too.

Just find a table and wait to be served.

Somewhere that will please vegetarians too.

Standards here are high but that is reflected in the price.

The price does include a nice hot drink though.

A chunky doorstep of toast with real butter is also included in the price.

So are a selection of really nice homemade jams.

Everything was neatly stacked when it arrived.

The beans were in a separate pot ready to be poured wherever you wanted them.

The tomato was incredibly tasty and the black pudding was out of this world.

With the egg on top of the toast, beans firmly on the plate and stack dismantled it was time to finally tuck in.

We had originally decided to visit Dubs at the hall VW festival in Holt for the day but just before setting off with the sun shining we decided to stay over and take the camper van too. This last minute decision resulted in the bare essentials (duvet, pillows and change of clothes) being thrown in the back of the van before setting off. The festival itself was really good, usually the music at VW festivals is not too great but this time a few decent bands played and the last band "Ska Face" were a top choice to end the night. The food we ate at the festival was however quite bland, particularly a serving of Paella with four tiny cubes of chicken mixed in. We woke up early and quite hungover, I went to check the food stalls at 8am to see what to get for breakfast but they were still closed. We were hungry and couldn't be bothered to wait so decided to drive into Holt town centre in the search for a fry up. We were told by a chap in a newsagent about a place a little further up the street which we found without a problem, it seemed quite expensive but we decided to try it anyway..

Upon entering - We initially decided to sit outside as the weather was nice, there was a good number of tables to choose from. After a few minutes of the sun beating down on us we decided to head inside as it was far too hot, inside there are a number of different rooms to eat in. The decor is very traditional and each table has a menu on it, your order is taken at the table. 9/10

Service - The staff are friendly and very efficient, when I informed the waiter we were sitting inside he asked if we needed a hand bringing things in. Everything arrived at good intervals and each time we were asked if we wanted anything else. 9/10

Contents - 1 sausage, 2 slices of bacon, 1 slice of black pudding, 1 fried egg, 1 hash brown, half a mushroom, 1 grilled tomato, a small pot of beans, 1 thick slice of toast with butter and a selection of homemade jams and a hot drink. 8/10

Presentation - It looked like a work of art when it arrived, most things were stacked up on the plate with the pot of beans served in a pot. Although visually stunning I did rearrange a number of things into more practical positions before I tucked in. 8/10

The food - Very high quality herby sausage and smoked back bacon that was full of flavour. The black pudding had a fantastic taste and texture as did the very long and slim hash brown. The juicy tomato tasted fantastic as did the mushroom, the beans were a good consistency. The fried egg was a tad undercooked on top of the yolk but went nicely on top of the delicious fat slice of buttered toast. I tried each of the jams and they were amazing too. 9/10

Value for money - It is not often I pay as much as £9.50 for a fry up but bearing in mind a drink was included in the price, the cafe was a real joy to be in, the service was incredibly good and the ingredients used were locally sourced top quality produce I didn't mind at all. 8/10

Veggie option - Yes, as seen on menu pic above.

Overall - When we first noticed the price was £9.50 we did consider not bothering and finding somewhere else. Im glad we decided to give it a try though as it didn't disappoint and was a real treat. No expense was spared on ingredients and you get what you pay for, delicious food and great service in a fantastic environment. If you are passing through Holt treat yourself and pop in, as far as "top end" places go this is one not to be missed. 8.5/10

Saturday 2 July 2011

Dixie's Diner - Norwich

81 School Lane

Opening times

Monday 8am - 1.30pm
Tuesday to Friday 7am - 1.30pm
Saturday 7am - 12.15pm
Sunday 8am - 11.30am

There are two entrances, this one can be found on School Lane.

I keep forgetting to check opening times recently but this time I remembered.

Head to the counter and choose from the blackboard, the guy in the back cooks one hell of a fry up!

In the background is the other entrance, this leads to an outside seating area which looked really nice.

Inside it is big and spacious with plenty of tables.

I liked the spotty table cloths, sauce bottles and sugar dispenser.

A damn good strong mug of tea for just 70p.

Lovely fluffy white sliced bread, perfect to wrap around the bacon.

You are looking at what I look for in a fry up, I can tell you it was delicious.

Hidden under the mushrooms was a sea of juicy beans.

The eggs sat on top of perfect fried bread and look, tinned tomatoes!

Another weekend in Norwich and another Friday fry up inspection, only one problem though, where to go this week? I ended up typing "cafe" into google maps, thats how I found out about Dixie's Diner. There were a couple of reviews online saying the food was good so I decided to go along and find out for myself..

Upon entering - There is a small car park outside and a few spaces along the road. I walked into the School Lane entrance and walked down a flight of steps into the cafe. It is basically a large seating area with a counter situated in the corner. The tables are large and there are plenty of them, outside are tables too. You are drawn to the counter by the large blackboard, the cutlery is on the counter, everything else is on the tables. 8/10

Service - The lady taking your order who I assume is Dixie is happy and helpful. When the food is ready she brings it over to you at the table with a smile. 9/10

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

Presentation - It looked visually stunning when it arrived, I did briefly worry where the beans were but it was ok they were just hiding. 8/10

The food - Everything was piping hot when it arrived at the table. The sausages were a decent pork variety that were well nice, the bacon was also delicious and went nicely between the fluffy white slices of bread and butter. The fried eggs were cooked nicely with runny yolks that poured onto the perfect and crispy fried bread. The beans were perfect too with a nice stodgy consistency. Nicely cooked mushrooms and tinned tomatoes finished off this truly magnificent plateful. 9/10

Value for money - I paid £5.10 for the mega breakfast, tea was just 70p. 9/10

Veggie option - There was a 'build your own' option available.

Overall - What a fantastic place! So many other places out there are serving cheap catering sausages for the same price so it is nice when you find another place that clearly wants to impress and please the customer. This place has everything going for it and the food is great.  9/10