Friday 26 April 2013

Guest review by Ally Hadden

The Bridgeview Station
Riverside Drive

The Bridgeview Station was originally a small train station and has been everything from a truck stop to a greasy spoon. Fortunately for the natives of Dundee and many others it is now a contemporary cafe/restaurant offering a wide range of quality food, locally sourced and of course breakfast. 

Upon entering - The eating area itself is very clean and crisp. Dark wood with slate tablemats with some original features, since my last visit it now hosts a few contemporary paintings adding to the feel. As three sides of the main restaurant are glass it’s light and airy and not to foreboding considering the dark wood tables and flooring. You are met by cheery waiting staff who then escort you to a table, we pre-booked as it is a popular haunt, especially as it overlooks the famous old Tay Bridge. Lots of walkers, cyclist etc. pop in for morning coffee and food. 8 out of 10

I’ve visited the Bridgeview many times whilst visiting the homeland and you are always met with a smile, the waitresses are friendly and polite, and more often than not the owner is there making sure you receive a warm welcome. The atmosphere is relaxed and you never feel as if you are being rushed or harassed to finish up and move on. They are very accommodating towards young children and there is plenty of choice for the “wee ones” 10 out of 10 (because of the way they welcome children)

Breakfast offer a good range from bacon, sausage on a roll, scrambled eggs, poached eggs and a range of cooked food, including the full cooked breakfast. The full breakfast consists of 2 slices of bacon, black pudding, mushrooms, fried egg, tomatoes, “tattie scone”, thick butchers sausage and two slices of thick toast, accompanied by a pot of tea. 9 out of 10

The plates are well presented and spread over the plate, nothing is piled on top of each other although in Scotland they don’t seem to have cottoned on to serving the beans in a little pot, still this is something I can live with. There were 5 adults and 3 children in our party and all 5 full breakfasts were identical. 9 out of 10

The food
I would have to say the food was faultless in terms of quality. A proper butchers beef sausage and thick rinds of bacon with very little fat, the black pudding was moist and the “tattie scone” which is like a flatbread but made from potatoes and flour was thin, crispy and not too heavy. The egg was gooey when cut which is how I like it. Thick slices of toast ideal for mopping up the bean juice and egg. My only gripe was there could have been a few more mushrooms. 9 out of 10

Value for money
A full was £5-95 or was it £5-75 (sorry forgot to take a pic of the menu) but I consider this to be excellent value for money, especially as the bacon, sausage, black pudding and eggs are all locally sourced. There is plenty enough on the plate to set you up for the day. The kids had bacon and sausage on rolls and my eldest had a huge portion of scrambled egg on toast again very good value. 10 out of 10

Taking into consideration the decor, the location, service and price I have to say this is a must if you ever visit Dundee. It has a very good reputation (I’ve had an evening meal there and it was very good and excellent value for money). It’s a popular place and you can see why. A little gem on the banks of the Tay River. 9 out of 10 (few more mushrooms please)

Wednesday 24 April 2013

The Daily Grind - Spitalfields, London

71 Brushfield Street
Old Spitalfields Market
E1 6BG

Breakfast served all day
 Click here for further information

The Daily Grind has seating outside in Spitalfields Market.

Another entrance can be found on Brushfield Street.

Inside is modern and light with a counter running along one side.

I was not sure what the pot of water was for?

A fairly decent large cappuccino cost £2.50

The breakfast menu looked fairly varied and reasonably priced.

I was keen to see how this photo on the menu compared to the real thing.

Hmm.. Fairly similar but where were the tomatoes I was promised on the menu?

The jumbo sausage will haunt me for many weeks to come as will the toast that tasted of bananas!

The eggs were not too bad but the hash brown had no crunch whatsoever.

The beans were luke warm which is not what you expect when served in a pot.

The veggie breakfast came with red peppers that were a little odd on a breakfast but very delicious. I also noticed the tomatoes had been remembered on this breakfast too.

The last month had flown by and I found myself stepping on to Liverpool Street Station once again for another day in Spitalfields market. The cafe I had hoped to visit last time round wasn't open for another 40 minutes so in a hungry moment we decided to try The Daily Grind instead. Interestingly it was listed online as being closed on Saturday's but appeared open so we headed inside.

Upon entering - We entered from Spitalfields Market passing some outside seating on the way in, there is also another entrance on Smithfield Street with further seating outside in the sunshine. There is a large counter along one side and a fair number of tables to choose from. It has a modern, well lit contemporary interior and each table has salt, pepper, sugar and a small pot of water (not sure what this was for) There was a large menu above the counter and menus were available upon request, as was ketchup. The ordering process was a complete mystery and we were in quite a hurry so after waiting for 10 minutes at the table in an almost empty cafe I ended up waiting at the counter till somebody finally took my order, I then paid for it and everything eventually was bought over when it was ready. This looked like the type of place with waitress service but I have a feeling maybe it's not but there is nothing inside telling you how to order so a bit frustrating really! 4/10

Service - When I first popped my head in to ask if they were open I was told yes by a quite stressed looking person behind the counter making me feel a bit like having a customer arrive was an inconvenience. When I finally headed to the counter after giving up on table service I waited a few more minutes till my order was finally taken, customer service didn't seem very high up on the list of priorities in this place. Things did improve slightly when the coffee arrived bought over by a different person who almost cracked a smile. The food arrived shortly after that and we were told "sorry I am in a hurry" by the waitress who went to walk away but we insisted on some ketchup which she then bought over. Not the most welcoming of places really and efficient service with a smile was not to be found here. 3/10

Contents - I chose the largest breakfast: No 5
1 jumbo sausage, 1 slice of bacon, 1 slice of black pudding, 2 fried eggs, 1 hash brown, mushrooms, beans and 1 slice of buttered toast (tomatoes were listed on the menu but didn't show up on the plate) 5/10

Presentation - Everything was placed on the plate reasonably but the cheapness of the sausage was immediately apparent making me think "tourist breakfast." 5/10

The food - The first thing to mention is how nothing seemed particularly hot, the beans were barely warm which seemed odd considering they were served in a separate pot. The bacon was quite nice but the sausage I didn't enjoy, cheap quality with a quite chewy texture. The fried eggs were quite good and I popped them on top of the toast as I always do. When I took a mouthful of the eggs on toast I got the strangest and most unexpected taste, bananas! I am not sure why the standard white sliced buttered toast tasted of bananas but it did, I tasted my wifes toast and hers seemed to taste normal so bit of a mystery really! The tiny portion of mushrooms were ok, the black pudding standard and the hash brown very soft with no crunch. I finished everything as I always do for research purposes but can't say I particularly enjoyed it. 4/10

Value for money - £6 for a cooked breakfast in London seems quite cheap but the quality of the ingredients is too. This may well leave you feeling like you wish you had spent your money more wisely somewhere else. 4/10

Veggie option - Yes, red peppers instead of meat! Rather nice though!

Overall - It was somewhere to get breakfast when everywhere else was closed but not somewhere I would ever return to. This is down to a confusing ordering process, unfriendly staff and an unenjoyable breakfast served warm with an item missing. Plenty of room for improvement here but being a tourist hot spot will most likely ensure they stay busy enough anyway...  4/10

Tuesday 23 April 2013

Bacon roll & hot drink offer from Greater Anglia's coach H

Bacon roll and a hot drink for £4.70 

 Available from Coach H on Greater Anglia's Norwich to London service

I visit London fairly frequently and always board the train on coach H, the buffet car. Often my first port of call in London is a cafe to inspect a breakfast but with an almost 2 hour journey ahead of me I find it hard to resist the bacon roll and hot drink deal for £4.70 that the buffet car offers. The coffee is always rather nice and the bacon roll (despite being microwaved) I always really enjoy too, time to take a closer look...

Usually within 10 minutes of boarding the train I decide a coffee and bacon roll is needed.

I always approach the counter praying they have some bacon rolls left, thankfully they always seem to. I have tried Bacon rolls from Upper Crust on Norwich station and Subway on Prince of Wales Road but they just don't seem as good as the ones found in coach H. 

£4.70 gets you a tea or coffee and the bacon roll served with Heinz ketchup. A coffee on it's own costs £2 so it seems to make sense to pay the extra £2.70 for the bacon roll too.

It is always piping hot in a soft roll and packed full of bacon, usually about 3-4 rashers. I am not really bothered about bacon being crispy so I always really enjoy it and with buffet car prices always being quite high this always seems like a good deal and money well spent.

Sunday 14 April 2013

Fry Up Inspector recommended

Coming soon..

Recommended places to eat breakfast from my travels so far..

The Green Grocers - Norwich

Earlham House Shops
Earlham Road

Free parking available on-site

The Green Grocers can be found in Earlham House Shopping Centre which is currently being refurbished.

Half of it is a cafe.

The other half is a shop.

There is seating around the edge too and the menu on the blackboard can be seen in the mirror reflection.  The only way to find out what is available to eat is to look on the blackboard which appeared to make the people sitting underneath it trying to enjoy their meal feel a tad uncomfortable.

I had no idea how or where to order food until I spotted this.

 Newspapers are available to read by the window as you walk in.

The cappuccino cost £2 and was excellent.

Tea was served in a pot for £1.60

The organic ketchup was delicious.

When the breakfast arrived my initial feeling was disappointment, it looked incomplete, overcooked and based heavily around toast. 

 The eggs looked great but egg white seeped out once I cut into them.

The bacon was quite dry and the sausage situation shocking.

 A good quality sausage that had been overcooked was such a shame and a bit of a surprise on a breakfast costing £6.95

The toast was excellent and extra was bought over free of charge as there had been a mix up with the wrong toast being served on the breakfasts when they arrived.

The Green Grocers is somewhere I had been meaning to visit for breakfast for a long time. I first spotted it when I visited Litebite Sandwich Bar back in 2011 that has sadly closed down since. I was visiting a craft fair with my wife on Earlham Road so it seemed like the perfect opportunity to finally try the breakfast at The Green Grocers..

Upon entering - The Green Grocers is half cafe and half shop, the cafe section has  a good number of tables with further seating in front of the window on bar stools and a few tables outside. The interior is nice with newspapers available to read and it seemed like a pleasant place to spend some time in however I was feeling far from relaxed before long due to the frustrating process of deciding what you want and working out how to order it. I eventually realised that the only menu was listed on blackboards directly above where people were eating, whilst looking at the menu I could tell that the people sitting below it were feeling uncomfortable. It reminded me of when you sit down in a pub only to realise there is a TV directly above you and everyone is starring in your direction. I am just glad that we didn't sit beneath the menu as people staring just over my head would have driven me nuts. Anyway, having decided to go for the cooked breakfast I wondered where to place my order or whether a waitress would take my order, there seemed to be no direction or flow in the ordering process. I took a seat by the window thinking somebody might come over and take my order when I noticed the small note saying "please order at the till". I headed to the till inside the shop and we placed our order and paid, we ordered a tea and a coffee with the food but had no idea how much drinks actually cost before ordering as I couldn't see a drinks menu anywhere. The cutlery could be found in a tin, we grabbed some and waited for everything to arrive. I do like to study a menu, know what I'm spending and know how to order it when I arrive somewhere for breakfast but the ordering process here was frustrating leaving me feeling like I was on the Krypton Factor. 3/10

Service - The service here is good, the person on the till was really friendly bringing our drinks over quite quickly. The chef bought our food over but the white toast I had ordered on my breakfast was on my wife's veggie breakfast and her brown toast on mine. We mentioned this and we were immediately offered more free of charge which arrived a bit later.  We asked for some ketchup and a delicious organic ketchup was bought over. 8/10

Contents -  1 sausage, 2 bacon, 2 fried eggs, mushrooms, 2 halves of tomato and 2 slices of buttered toast. 5/10

Presentation - Layers of thick buttered toast dominated the plate with a pair of nice looking fried eggs perched on top. A small and overcooked sausage lay sadly on top of some very dry looking bacon, the mushrooms and tomatoes sat closely together looking quite nice. My first thought was that something was missing but it could just have been that nothing was placed in the centre of the plate. The bonus plate of toast and butter that arrived did look stunning. 6/10

The food - I will start positively with the excellent thick cut toast served with butter, excellent and delicious! The fried eggs looked great but did release some runny egg white when I cut into them. The mushrooms were rather nice but very oily and the seasoned tomatoes quite nice too. The bacon was really quite tough and very dry and the sausage made me feel quite sorry for it. I imagine what had started of as a quality sausage had been cooked for way too long with one end almost rock hard and the other end really chewy. 4/10

Value for money - £6.95 for this breakfast seemed a lot of money considering it contained just 1 very small sausage and some things were overcooked. 4/10

Veggie option - 2 veggie sausages, 2 fried eggs, mushrooms, tomatoes and buttered toast for £5.95

Overall - I had been looking forward to eating breakfast here for a long time but the awkward ordering process and overcooked food left me feeling disappointed especially when so many places in Norwich are offering such excellence at the same price or less. On the plus side the coffee and buttered toast was great and the staff were friendly. 5/10 

Thursday 11 April 2013

Breakfast on a budget - Greggs vs Wetherspoons

Special Feature - Breakfast on a budget

Bacon roll & coffee for less than £3


Most weeks I pop into Greggs for a coffee and normally end up going for the bacon roll and coffee deal as the bacon roll ends up only costing around 60p when ordered with a coffee. I have also in the past bought a similar deal at Wetherspoons which costs slightly less so I decided to compare them both to find out which place is offering the better deal.

White Lion Street - Norwich

I had recently tried the dreadful cooked breakfast here but had always found the bacon rolls to be much better, rather nice infact.

A large fresh roll and 3 slices of bacon.

Butter and sauce is added to the roll if you require it.

With Greggs the trick is to arrive mid morning or you can end up queuing for ages, even mid morning can still be quite busy but this ensures the bacon is not long out the oven as the roll and coffee deal is really popular. Place your order at the till, butter and sauces are offered and the roll is made up and given to you at the counter (sometimes if the bacon is not ready it will be brought over to your table when it is ready), pay and then find somewhere to sit.

The deal - Any regular hot drink or orange juice and a sausage or bacon roll for £2.60 (£2 take away) served before 11am.

The drink - Served in a tall mug is a reasonably nice Latte, it was still nice and hot when I sat down to drink it.

The roll - A really fresh and enjoyable soft white bap buttered both sides.

The bacon - 3 slices and nothing really special but served hot and with a pleasent enough texture and taste.

The sauce - Heinz ketchup generously applied by the staff.

Overall - A large fresh roll with plenty of bacon and just the right amount of sauce served with a fairly nice latte for £2.60 (less if you take it away) is the reason I keep returning week after week.


The Queen of Iceni, Riverside - Norwich

I don't visit here very often anymore and would only ever pop in during the daytime.

The coffee was not quite as nice and the bun looked very dry.

Yep, a very dry burger bun and just 2 rashers of dry bacon.

When buying a hot drink in Wetherspoons it is equally tempting to pay an extra 60p (approx) to get a bacon roll. Place your order and pay at the bar, give them a table number and the roll will be brought over when it is ready (usually about 5 minutes) collect any sachets of sauce you require before sitting down.

The deal - Choose a large coffee or orange juice with a sausage, vegetarian sausage, fried egg or bacon roll for £1.49 before midday. (with a small drink £1.19)

The drink - Fairly nice coffee but not particularly hot by the time I had collected sauces and sat down. 

The roll - A really dry burger bun that was buttered a little on the bottom but not at all on the top.

The bacon - 2 slices of quite tough bacon that had been sitting far too long before being served.

The sauces - Heinz ketchup which although in a sachet meant you could put on as much as you wanted also meant that by faffing around putting it on yourself ensured any heat in the bacon was lost.

Overall - A dry roll and tough bacon served with a not very hot coffee will ensure I return to Greggs next time. To be fair I have had better bacon rolls in Wetherspoons but never as nice as what Greggs are offering.

Conclusion - The cost of the deal is cheaper at Wetherspoons (although you need to order the large drink for it to compare against Greggs regular sized drink) and they offer more roll options but with Greggs offering fresh rolls cooked on site and more substantial fillings you are getting a much better roll at Greggs. The coffee at both places were fairly nice but seemed much hotter at Greggs.

Winner - Greggs

Sunday 7 April 2013

The Boho - Norwich

- Now Closed -

60-62 St Benedicts Street

Breakfast served 
Tuesday to Saturday 9am - 2pm

Metered car parking available on St Benedicts Street

The Boho seemed very familiar as it is situated where Taste used to be which I featured on my blog back in 2012. 

Inside is quite small with a number of tables located in different areas.

I done well to get this photo without being seen in the mirror! 

There are plenty of things on the walls and a fresh flower on each table.

Through here is another seating area.

The cakes looked great but I managed to resist the temptation.

The Full English & Veggie breakfasts have been added to the menu since my visit.

I was delighted when the ketchup arrived in a squeezy tomato.

I enjoyed a great flat white coffee whilst waiting for the breakfast to cook.

Tea is served in a pot and extra hot water to top it up was offered too.

The breakfast was stacked in the centre with items around the edge and it tasted excellent!

The pork sausage was good quality with a great texture.

 The black pudding was delicious but there was just half a slice.

 I have tried homemade baked beans a few times now but these were the best I have eaten and the added lentils worked really well.

Hidden between the toast and eggs sat the delicious bacon.

This is the veggie breakfast served with haloumi.

I had attempted to go for breakfast at The Boho twice before but it had been closed on both occasions so third time lucky I thought. To be sure they would be open I phoned first to check, I also asked how late they served breakfast till and was told 2pm, they are open until 3pm though so I can't be certain. Safe in the knowledge I would be able to be eating breakfast there today I headed to St Benedicts Street...

Upon entering - Inside is fairly small but nicely decorated with lots to look at on the walls and a selection of books to browse through. Traditional furniture, vintage crockery, fairy lights and ketchup in squeezy tomato bottles blend together nicely and make it a delightful place to dine in. Each table has a fresh flower, salt, pepper, sugar lumps and a menu. Your order is taken at the table and everything bought over, simply pay on the way out. When I was here the Full English and veggie breakfasts were not listed on the menu but they have since been added which is great news! 8/10

Service - The waitress and chef here are really friendly, efficient and helpful. The waitress found out for us what the breakfast included, the chef also came out checking everything available would be ok for us and also explaining the baked beans were homemade. The drinks arrived first and the waitress offered more hot water for the tea pot a bit later. The food arrived in good time and the chef asked how it was at the end. 9/10

Contents - 1 sausage, 2 slices of bacon, half a slice of black pudding, 2 fried eggs, half a grilled tomato, mushrooms, homemade baked beans and a slice of toast. 7/10

Presentation - The bacon and fried eggs were stacked on top of the toast in the centre of the plate with the other items surrounding this, everything was huddled together quite nicely. 7/10

The food - A delicious quality pork sausage and tasty black pudding with a nice course texture. The eggs with their nice runny yolks were perfectly placed on top of the toast with the bacon sandwiched inbetween making every mouthful breakfast heaven. The mushrooms cooked in a quality oil were really delicious and the tomato was packed full of flavour. The homemade baked beans were easily the best I have ever tasted, the added lentils gave them a great texture and the flavour of the sauce was spot on. 9/10

Value for money - The full English breakfast, a veggie breakfast, a flat white coffee and a pot of tea came to £14 which was money well spent as the food was delicious! 8/10

Veggie option - Yes, Haloumi, fried eggs, mushrooms, tomato, homemade baked beans and toast. 

Overall - A lovely place with a nice interior and friendly staff, definitely worth a look and you just have to try those delicious homemade beans! 8/10