Tuesday 27 September 2011

Cromwells Cafe - Northampton

51 The Drapery

Bedlam Breakout psychobilly weekender - 10/10.

Not far from the Roadmender is Cromwells Cafe, buy a kebab there after your night out and kill the hangover with a fry up the next morning.

Plenty of breakfast options available and at a great price too.

Inside it is quite small but fear not the breakfast is big.

The ketchup was almost neon red once on the plate.

A proper nice coffee came with the full breakfast.

So did plenty of hot buttered toast.

The layout was amazing, impressive stuff!

Upon closer inspection I spotted economy sausages but everything else was looking good.

It was September and I was heading towards Northampton which could only mean one thing, Bedlam Breakout time again! My 12th Bedlam Breakout time again to be precise and this time I was not booked into the Aarandale Regent having opted for a cheaper Travelodge where breakfast was not included, so I was looking forward to trying out a cafe in the town centre. We arrived at the Roadmender on Friday night a bit later than we had hoped as it had been a nightmare getting to Northampton with both the A14 and A428 being blocked, as a result of this we missed a few bands. We did catch Graveyard Johnnys, Frantic Flintstones and Mad Sin though who all played amazing sets. On the way back home we stopped for a kebab at a place close by, I noticed this place also did breakfast and this thought entered my head when I woke up the next day. Feeling a bit rough from the excellent night before we got up and headed to the place we had bought our kebab from the night before..

Upon entering - It all seemed quite familiar having been there about 9 hours before, a small but long establishment with a few tables and a few spaces on stools by the window. You can't miss the counter in the corner with its large menu hanging above, there are also menus on each table keeping a neat cluster of condiments company and a menu in the window incase you want to decide before entering. 7/10

Service - With a hangover everything always seems more confusing and takes twice the time, luckily for me though the staff here made ordering a straight forward process. Place your order at the counter making the toast/bread and tea/coffee decision, pay and grab a table. Everything, including cutlery is bought over when it is ready. 7/10

Contents - 2 sausages, 2 bacon, 2 fried eggs, 1 hash brown, mushrooms, beans, tinned tomato, 2 slices of fried bread, toast & butter and a hot drink. 9/10

Presentation - Everything was holding together the sea of beans where the tinned tomato resided . Triangles don't mean a lot to me but if you are fond of them then you will love the way the fried bread and hash brown is placed on the opposite side of the plate to the perfectly round fried eggs. This plateful certainly looked the part when it arrived and was clearly plated up by somebody who gives a shit about presentation. 9/10

The food - I could tell straight away that the sausages were looking economy and was hoping they were not the awful mega cheap spongy type you get that almost deflate as you cut through them, luckily although nothing special they did taste ok and the texture was not too bad. The bacon was nice enough and cooked just right as were the fried eggs that had been cooked in rings. The fried bread was about as good as it gets, crunchy, golden and fried right through. A crispy hash brown and deep fried mushrooms were all good. Juicy beans and the tinned tomato went nicely with the toast & butter. 8/10

Value for money - £5.25 for the full breakfast and that includes toast and a hot drink, bargain! 8/10

Veggie option - No meat alternatives on menu but for £3.50 you could get 2 egg, mushrooms, tomatoes, beans and fried bread.

Overall - I could have tried many places in Northampton but I was glad to have come across this place. The only downside was that the sausages were no prize winning butchers variety but at this price I wasn't really expecting them to be. What you get is well worth the money, presented nicely and the fried bread is out of this world. 8/10

Sunday 11 September 2011

Regency Cafe - Pimlico, London

17-19 Regency Street

Opening hours
Monday - Friday
7.00am - 14.30pm
7.00am - 12.00pm

Regency Cafe is featured in 2 books I had been reading "London Caffs" by Edwin Heathcote and "Egg, bacon, chips and beans" by Russell Davies.

As soon as we arrived in london we headed straight for Pimlico.

The exterior of this art deco cafe is stunning with its black tiles and Gill typeface sign.

Be sure to place your order first before sitting down or you run the risk of irritating the regulars. The chap in the white shirt at the counter will bellow your order out when it is ready, fear not you will hear him!

There were four chefs busy in the kitchen and rest assured the food they are cooking will not disappoint.

This place gets very busy but as we arrived so early there were free tables which was a relief.

There are many photo's coving the walls of the cafe during different decades and screen shots of the film "Layer Cake" which the cafe featured in.

The condiment selection was about as spot on and traditional as you could ever wish for.

So was the mug of tea. Do remember to collect hot drinks as you place your order though.

The toast and real butter is served before the fry up arrives.

I had never seen such massive tinned tomatoes before!

The huge slab of bubble and squeak was delicious and cost just 90p.

I chose the set breakfast with beans and added 2 extra's, black pudding and bubble & squeak.

Having read about Regency Cafe in a couple of books I decided on a day trip to London to book the tickets for an early train so I could visit the place for breakfast. Once in London we headed straight for Pimlico on the tube, the cafe was not too far from the tube station on Regency Road. As soon as we spotted it in the distance we were immediately loving the classic art deco exterior, the cafe established in 1946 has featured in the film "Layer Cake" and a Channel 4 advert. Anyway, having admired how fantastic the place looked on the outside we decided to head inside..

Upon entering - Cream tiles line the walls and many pictures hang showing the cafe over the decades since it opened in 1946. The seats look like they have been there since the 1970's and everything from the hot water urn to gingham curtains screams "traditional no nonsense cafe". There are a vast number of tables but don't even think about taking one until you have placed your order as you could upset the locals. There are blackboards above the counter displaying the set breakfast and daily specials, to the left of the water urn is another menu but you will most likely find it difficult to focus on making your choice 1st time round as the interior will have you looking in every direction trying to take it all in. 10/10

Service - The chap that takes the order is fast, efficient and I imagine he doesn't suffer fools gladly! Tell him what you would like and collect your drink at the counter, grab some cutlery and find a table. When your food is ready he will bellow out your order in his deep and very loud voice, the 1st time you hear him shout an order out you will most likely jump out of your skin as this guy is loud! Collect your food from him once it is ready. The chap on the counter although loud is very friendly and seems to recognise newcomers giving you a nod and a swift wave as he calls your order. When you leave he thanks you and shouts goodbye. 9/10

Contents - 1 sausage, 2 bacon, 1 fried egg, beans or tomatoes, toast or bread & butter and tea or coffee. I ordered bubble & squeak and black pudding as extras. 8/10

Presentation - The food looked great when it arrived with the fried egg sitting on top of the slab of bubble & squeak, you could tell by looking at it it was going to taste great. 8/10

The Food - Quite possibly the best sausage I have tried so far on my search for fry up perfection, plump and juicy with a delicious herby taste. Good quality and perfectly cooked bacon and 2 generous slices of tasty black pudding. The huge slab of homemade bubble & squeak was golden on the outside, full of flavour and without a doubt the best i have ever eaten. A perfect fried egg, a sea of beans and hot toast and real butter finished off this amazing breakfast. My girlfriend had chosen tinned tomatoes and a side order of mushrooms, both of which I tried and can report were delicious too and I have never seen such massive tinned tomatoes before in my life! 10/10

Value for money - The set breakfast costs £5.50 and includes toast or bread & butter and tea or coffee, incredible value for money as everything is so delicious. To make the breakfast more complete though you may want to order extra's at 90p each, these include black pudding, bubble & squeak, hash browns and mushrooms. I added 2 extra's so paid £7.30 but even with extra's added it is still well worth the money considering you are in central London. 8/10

Veggie option - I didn't see a specific veggie breakfast on offer but you can build your own breakfast from items on the menu and don't forget that amazing bubble & squeak!.

Overall - Wow, what an experience and what an incredible place! You will love the way it looks, the order's being boomed out across the cafe and the amazing food. There are not many left like this anymore so well worth a visit if you are in London. No fried bread stopped this place from becoming my favourite so far but it does come a respectable 2nd. 9/10

Sunday 4 September 2011

Birchy's Diner - Norwich

- Now Closed -

118 Hall Road

Limited parking spaces outside 

Birchy's Diner was looking a lot better since I had last visited.

A vast selection and now they are open till 11.pm

I was tempted to sit outside but needed more photos so decided to sit inside instead.

An excellent breakfast selection at great prices

Your order is prepared here.

Plenty of sauces to squirt over your breakfast are found on each table.

The place was full when I arrived.

By the time I had finished everyone else had left, was it something I said??

Free tea or coffee with all breakfasts.

I usually can't decide between toast or bread & butter, no such dilemma at Birchy's though and just look at the presentation!

The bumper breakfast, as soon as it arrived I knew I was about to eat something special.

Yep, take a closer look and make it your next place to visit, you won't be disappointed.

Long before I started "The Fry Up Inspector" I had visited Birchy's Diner, probably around 2007. It had always stuck in my mind as the fry up I had back then was awful, the worse I had ever eaten actually. A couple of friends recently had mentioned that Birchy's had undergone a refit and things were different now. Having spent the past week in Italy eating lots of delicious pizza, pasta and seafood I decided it was time for another fry up and Birchy's popped into my head again. To be honest despite recommendations the 2007 visit was making me feel a tad cautious but I decided there was only one way to find out...

Upon entering - Inside there are about 6 tables with the counter located at the back of the cafe, there are also 4 tables outside. Everything inside is clean and tidy and each table has a menu and a good selection of condiments. Order at the counter, take your drink to a table and the food and cutlery will be bought over. 8/10

Service - When I first arrived at the counter I had not seen the menu's on the tables but the lady serving me showed me the list of breakfast options, I chose the bumper breakfast. The staff seemed friendly and efficient bringing everything over to my table when it was ready and saying "goodbye and thanks" to all their customers as they left. 8/10

Contents - 2 sausages, 2 bacon, 2 fried eggs, 2 hash browns, baked beans, fried bread, toast & butter, bread & butter and tea or coffee. 8/10

Presentation - Everything looked cooked perfectly and sat nicely together on the large oval plate, the side plate with toast and bread & butter was served by a perfectionist! As soon as I saw everything arrive I knew I was in for a real treat! 9/10

The food - Ok, lets start with the sausages, decent quality with a good texture, none of your economy crap here, these tasted damn nice! The bacon was cooked just right and tasted great too. 2 perfect fried eggs that sat nicely on top of crisp and golden perfect fried bread. The hash browns were fluffy in the centre and nice and crispy on the outside and the beans were the perfect stodgy consistency that I like the best. Great toast and fluffy white bread & butter finished off this magnificent dish that could do no wrong. 10/10

Value for money - £5.75 for a perfectly cooked breakfast served with tea or coffee and bread served 3 different ways is not to be missed! 9/10

Veggie option - 3 different veggie breakfasts available (see menu pic above)

Overall - I was hoping for something good this time round but nothing prepared me for the fantastic fried breakfast being served at Birchy's. Mushroom and tomato fans may not share my enthusiasm however these are available on different breakfast options as is black pudding, they may be available as extras too but I don't know for sure. What I do know though is this place is well worth a visit and is right up there with Harty's Diner as my one of my favourite places so far. Well done Birchy's!! 9/10