Saturday 22 October 2011

The Breakfast Club - London

12-16 Artillery Lane
E1 7LS

Brunch served from 9am till 5pm everyday

It took me a long time to find and it doesn't really stand out much.

I had a feeling I had finally found it when I came across this sign though.

The full menu can be viewed here.

Enter here and wait to be seated.

There are big tables if you are in a larger group.

By the window are smaller booths.

The toilets are themed, boys..

And girls.

Top brand sauces.

Great cup and the coffee (£2.50) was spot on.

I went for the full monty for £9.20

It looked really good but was it worth £9.20?

As soon as I arrived in London I decided to head straight to The Breakfast Club in Spitalfields. I must say it was a complete nightmare to find and it didn't seem to be where google maps was saying it should be. It turned out I had walked past it twice but lack of signage didn't help the situation, eventually the "Bacon's for life, not just for breakfast" sign outside convinced me I was in the right place so in I went..

Upon entering - The first thing you notice as you walk in is how quirky the place is, there are fairy lights, neon signs, toys on shelves and if you want to get to the bar downstairs you will need to walk through the Smeg fridge to get there! There are a few large tables and some small tables to sit at but mainly metal framed booths by the window. The waiting staff will find you an empty table and give you a menu, once you have placed your order everything is bought to your table. 9/10

Service - You will be well looked after here by the friendly and efficient staff. Despite it being busy when I was there the food arrived in good time. 8/10

Contents - The full Monty consisted of.. 1 sausage, 2 bacon, 1 slice of black pudding, 2 fried eggs (you can have poached or scrambled if you prefer) a mound of hash brown, 1 large mushroom, half a grilled, beans and a slice of toast. 8/10

Presentation - It looked fantastic and full of colour when it arrived. 8/10

The food - A great tasting quality sausage and delicious bacon. Fairly standard black pudding with a good texture and 2 nicely fried eggs. The hash brown was homemade and the best I have come across so far and tasted amazing. Some nice stodgy beans a mouthwatering mushroom and a bright red tomato full of flavour. Everything was a real pleasure to eat but not sure why no butter was served with the toast? 8/10

Value for money - At £9.20 it was not cheap but the quality shone through and it is in the City of London. 7/10

Veggie option - Yes, Reggie the veggie for £8.70

Overall - Expensive but I felt it was well worth a visit not just because of the great food but to experience the great interior, it looks amazing and is a great environment to spend time in. Without a doubt the best hash brown I have ever eaten is served here and the service is great too. 8/10

Saturday 15 October 2011

Frank's Bar - Norwich

19 Bedford Street

Full english breakfast served on Sunday only between 10am - 6pm

Quality free range ingredients, herby baked beans and the ketchup is homemade.

I have attempted breakfast at Frank's Bar a number of times but due to its popularity I had never managed to get a table there before. Although they serve breakfast each day between 10.30 and 12.30 it is only on a Sunday that the full english is served, late risers will be relieved to hear it is served till 6pm! On a recent visit I managed to find a free table upstairs so finally I was going to get to try out Frank's full english breakfast... Before I start though I must mention due to my phone freezing during an update I managed to lose all but 1 off my unsaved photos that I took, I was going to revisit and take the photos again but I have decided to write about my experience whilst still fresh in my mind and add more photos later. There are however more photos on their website here and you can view the Sunday breakfast menu here.

Upon entering - As soon as you walk in there is a counter to your right but don't worry too much about that, just go find a free table. You can sit in the main room or if you prefer there is another room out the back. Each table has a menu so choose what you want and somebody will come along to take your order, everything you need will be brought over to your table. The interior is quirky and random with odd lampshades and chairs, there is a fantastic beamed ceiling and books sit on the window ledges. 9/10

Service - The staff here are helpful and friendly ensuring everything you need is bought over to the table. 8/10

Contents - 1 Sausage, 1 bacon, black pudding (all free range), roasted tomato & mushroom stack, saute potatoes, herby baked beans, fried or scrambled egg and toast & butter. You also get to try the homemade ketchup. 8/10

Presentation - It looked fantastic when it arrived, everything sat neatly around the bowl in the centre containing the herby beans. I am not really fussed about having my beans in a bowl but I know some people will love it. Another small bowl arrived with butter for the toast and the homemade ketchup was served in a glass bottle with swing top cap, nice touch! 8/10

The food - The sausage was juicy, tasty and great quality as was the bacon. The black pudding was top quality and had a great texture but was a very small piece. Delicious sautéed potatoes, fluffy inside and crunchy on the outside. The fried egg was pretty much spot on with a nice runny yolk and went nicely with the toast covered in real butter. Both the tomato and mushroom were delicious but there was very little of each. The beans had herbs added which worked ok but to be honest I prefer them as they come. I loved the idea of homemade ketchup but for me it was not tangy enough. 8/10

Value for money - Great quality ingredients are used but small portions of each and by the time you add a hot drink to the breakfast you won't see much change out of £10. 7/10

Veggie option - Yes, veggies are well looked after here.

Overall - Frank's Bar is very popular and it can be difficult to get a table but if you do then you are in for a treat. There are some unusual features to the full english breakfast like herby beans and homemade ketchup which I'm sure most people will love but I must say were wasted on me. The environment is fantastic, the staff are friendly, quality ingredients are used and you can get breakfast there on Sunday till 6pm! 8/10

Saturday 8 October 2011

The Orange Tree - Norwich

(Now closed)

13-15 St Georges Street

Breakfast served till 11am

The Orange Tree is on St Georges Street not far from The Playhouse.

You can sit by the window on a stool if you prefer.

Underneath the mirror is a sit down video game, rack up a high score whilst you wait for your food to arrive.

No expense spared on the ketchup and vinegar.

A nice mug of coffee and...

A glass of orange juice and...

All of this for just £4! Bargain!!

It certainly looked the part when it arrived but was it any good?

Trying to find a new place in Norwich to feature on my blog is fast becoming very difficult as I have covered nearly everywhere now. A few weeks back I spotted The Orange Tree with its "full english breakfast for £4" poster in the window so I knew it was the next place to visit..

Upon entering - At first it looks like a quite small cafe but there is additional seating out the back. It is mostly table and chairs with a few tall stools along the long window table, look hard enough and you will spot the sit down video game. There is a large menu in the window and another above the counter, there is one full english breakfast option so it's not a difficult decision to make. Order and pay at the counter, grab a seat and everything is bought over. 7/10

Service - The staff here are really friendly and service is with a smile so you will feel at home right away. 8/10

Contents - The big breakfast consists of - 1 sausage, 2 bacon, 1 fried egg, mushrooms, half a grilled tomato, beans, toast and butter, orange juice and tea or coffee. 7/10

Presentation - It looked fantastic when it arrived, full of colour and I was eager to get stuck in. 8/10

The food - The small sausage was reasonable quality but something about it I didn't particularly enjoy, it had a very bouncy texture and It didn't taste great. The bacon was well nice though and full of flavour, the fried egg was spot on and the mushrooms were fantastic. A juicy grilled tomato and nice beans in a thick sauce accompanied the hot buttered toast perfectly. 7/10

Value for money - To be honest I don't know how they do it for £4 but I'm glad they do! 9/10

Veggie option - No

Overall - I still can't believe I payed just £4 for the cooked breakfast with toast and 2 drinks, If you are feeling a bit skint then this is the place to head! Price aside the staff are friendly and the food is good so well worth a look, still a bit unsure about that sausage though! 8/10

-- Update, October 2013 --

The breakfast now costs £6

Tuesday 4 October 2011

Kensingtons - Brighton

1a Kensington Gardens

Another trip to Brighton and a chance to try out another cafe.

Kensingtons can be found in the busy and popular North Laines.

As you walk up the stairs you get the feeling that you are in the right place.

Decide and place your order here, you will be spoilt for choice.

If you want to sit inside you can but why bother when...

There is an amazing balcony perfect for watching the world go by.

The condiments were spread out fairly randomly.

The coffee came with the breakfast but was not very hot.

There was plenty of nice food on the plate which I enjoyed eating but..

Yep, economy sausages.

There seems to be a vast number of places in Brighton offering a full english breakfast so it was going to be difficult deciding which one to visit, luckily a friend recommended Kensingtons to me. As soon as I got off the train I headed to North Laines, spotted Kensingtons and headed upstairs..

Upon entering - As soon as you reach the top of the stairs you are greeted by a mass of menus and a counter where you place your order. There is a long narrow seating area inside with both tables and booths, the counter was full of customers waiting to place their order so I wondered why nearly all these tables where empty. Then I spotted a door open towards the rear, this led to an outside balcony area which was rammed with customers eating and chatting away. I managed to get a table outside and whilst waiting for my food to arrive realised what a fantastic spot this was. This place had a great atmosphere, the perfect place to relax, meet friends and chat over lunch whilst the world went by on the busy North Laines below. 8/10

Service - Place your order at the counter and keep your receipt, it has your order number on it and this will be called out later. My breakfast came with a drink which I collected as I placed my order, I chose coffee and it wasn't particularly hot. Collect cutlery and find a table, the waiter will call your number out when your food is ready. Some tables had sauces on others had none so be sure to grab what you can when you see it. Getting past people on the narrow balcony to get to my table was quite difficult, my rucksack almost knocking somebody's table over in the process. When I finally sat down the table was in need of a good wipe but I was not about to head inside again risking knocking more tables over on the way to ask if it could be wiped so I tried to ignore the sticky mess. That said though after I had finished my food the waiter did eventually come out to give some tables a wipe, I must have just caught them during there busiest period. 6/10

Contents - Big Meat Breakfast - 2 sausages, 2 bacon, 2 fried eggs, 1 hash brown, half a grilled tomato, beans, toast & butter and a tea or coffee. 7/10

Presentation - Nice layout and loved the way the toast was placed along the edge of the plate. 7/10

The food - I will start as I always do with the sausages, these were economy and not very special at all. The bacon though was truly delicious a real pleasure to eat. The hash brown was different to the norm with a slight onion taste, very nice indeed. The fried eggs looked a tad undercooked on top but were very good and went nicely on top of the toast. Baked bean fans will be in heaven here as you get so many and the grilled tomato was tasty and cooked nicely. 7/10

Value for money - £6.00 for a breakfast that comes with toast and a hot drink on Brighton Laines is great value for money, especially if you get a table on the balcony. 8/10

Veggie option - Plenty of veggie options here such as Big Veggie breakfast for £6

Overall - I loved the atmosphere of the place, it felt very laid back and you could happily spend some time here relaxing over lunch or killing off that hangover from the night before over a fry up. If like me you like a quality sausage you may well be a tad disappointed but that said the prices are reasonable and as the environment is so great this can be forgiven. Kensingtons is a popular place so be sure to get there early and try and get a table on that amazing balcony. 7/10

Buddies USA - Rushden

A45 Eastbound
NN10 6AP

Opening hours
Mon - Thurs 11am -10pm
Fri & Sat 9am -10pm
Sundays 9am - 9pm
Bank Holidays 10am - 9pm

On-site parking

Buddies USA can be found on the eastbound section of the A45 as it passes by Rushden.

Park up and head inside for a vast breakfast choice.

Click here for a closer look at the menu.

The lady on the counter makes up any drink orders.

The large diner has a vast choice of booths to sit at so take your pick.

Decent sauce brands are a welcome sight and trivial pursuit cards will keep you entertained whilst you wait for your food to arrive.

The American theme is constant and the coffee is great!

You will certainly feel welcome at Buddies.

The sausages on the New York Breakfast at first glance had an economy look about them but fear not they were incredibly nice.

This is the vegetarian breakfast and no, I didn't eat two breakfasts!

I was quite surprised how healthy I was feeling as I left Northampton having had another top weekend at Bedlam Breakout but as we headed along the A45 we decided we should probably stop and eat something. Before long a "services in 2 miles" sign appeared so we decided to stop there and see what we could find to eat, as we came off the A45 on the slip road Buddies USA appeared..

Upon entering - The building you walk into is very big and spacious with a vast amount of soft seating booths to pick from. The American theme is everywhere from the flag outside to the mugs and serviettes. There is a big selection of "Buddies" themed food containers on a high up shelf that runs around the edge of the diner, a model train also runs around this shelf. In amongst the American photos and pictures on the wall is a Buddies slang list challenging you to place your order in slang. The tables with top brand sauces and Trivial Pursuit cards have a mass of menus, the breakfast options will keep you occupied for sometime before you finally decide. 9/10

Service - As soon as you walk through the door you are looked after by the friendly and efficient serving staff. They will show you to a table, take your order and bring everything over when it is ready. When you ask for the bill it will arrive on a small plate with a couple of sweets, always a nice touch! 9/10

Contents - New York Breakfast - 2 eggs (any style) 2 sausages, 2 bacon, potato choice, grilled mushroom and toasted brioche. 6/10

Presentation - "Potato overload" was my first thought as the plate was placed before me. Not the best presentation in the world but everything looked nicely cooked. 7/10

The food - The sausages were slightly longer than usual and had a slight economy look to them, but I soon discovered they were a good quality slightly herby sausage. The bacon was really tasty and cooked to perfection, as were the fried eggs. I must admit to not being a fan of fried potatoes on my breakfast however these were very nice, fluffy in the middle and crunchy on the outside. Delicious fried mushrooms and slightly sweet tasting brioche finished off this New York special. 8/10

Value for money - The New York Breakfast cost me £7.60 and coffee was £1.90, the food was good and motorway food outlets are always more expensive so it seemed like a fairly reasonable price. 7/10

Veggie option - 2 veggie sausages, beans, 2 eggs (any style) tomatoes, mushrooms and potatoes choice - £6.50

Overall - A great experience and the friendly staff will make you feel at home straight away. Often stopping off at motorway services is a mediocre affair and far from special but Buddies USA is by far the best I have found so far so be sure to stop by next time you are on the A45. 8/10