Saturday 11 May 2013

Guest review by Jonathan Wilson

Café on the Green
Alice Holt Forest

Breakfast served until Midday
Parking available at Alice Holt Forest - £4 for 3 hours
 You can find Café on the Green near the car park in Alice Holt Forest.

There are plenty of places to sit either outside under cover, and there’s some further decking for if the weather is decent.

 Inside there are plenty of tables but it is still spacious. Collect your drinks when you order, your food is brought to you.

 Not an award winning selection of condiments, but jugs of milk do beat a tiny carton any day! There are also facilities for looking after any baby food and bottles.

 The breakfast menu does the job, and is clear. Not really any vegetarian breakfasts advertised but if there are supplies I’m sure the staff would be happy to exchange items.

 The tea is good and strong! I don’t know how much it costs as I didn’t look, and the total price got rounded down!

Here is the Lumberjack’s Breakfast which cost £6.95. Presentation was better when it arrived; I upset the fried bread stack!


Quality meats used in the sausages and bacon, the hash browns were perfectly crisped!

The fried bread had puffed out a little but was delicious to eat! The eggs were a bit undercooked though.

I've done a good few Parkrun events and we normally as a group look forward to a post-Parkrun fry-up at a cafe or somewhere nearby. I'd been hearing several good things about the breakfast they do at Alice Holt Forest, from quality to quantity to value for money. This in mind, I dragged myself up there for 9am with the family to see what the run and more importantly the breakfast, was all about.

Upon Entering
It will probably be hard to focus on the café itself and not on the surroundings as the forest really is a great place to be! The first thing you will notice is all of the outside seating available which cater for all kinds of weather, with a covered area if you catch the place on a bad day and a large decking to enjoy the sun. Inside the café it is spacious but also can cater for a lot of people. Each table has a menu and there is also a large board to look at before you queue if you think your table may be nicked. Order and pay at the till, this is made nice and clear inside. Collect your drinks and then help yourself to condiments from the trays, as they do not have them on the tables. 8/10
The woman serving was very friendly and efficient, making sure we had ordered what we wanted clearly. Drinks were made on the spot and were to be collected but even during a post Parkrun time, there was never much of a queue forming. There’s a 10% discount for any Parkrunners ordering anything but even with that included, the price still got rounded down at the till! In total, 2 Lumberjack breakfasts, a bacon bap, and 3 drinks came to just £20. Collect a wooden spoon with an order number, and your food is brought to you about 15 minutes later. 9/10

2 Cumberland sausages, 2 rashers of smoked bacon, 2 fried eggs, 2 hash browns, tomato and 2 slices of toast or fried bread (The fried bread I believe is one slice cut into 4 but I can’t eat 2!) 8/10

The Food
An excellent quality pair of pork sausages with a rich meaty texture accompanied the best bacon I have eaten, perfectly salted and browned with a wonderful smoky taste. Standard beans which accompanied the perfect hash browns, nicely crisped outside but not at all chewy. The fried bread was puffed out and didn’t look too golden, but fear not the consistency was very good and it went down a treat. The tomato I didn’t eat as I don’t like them so won’t judge. The only thing that could have done with improving would be the eggs, these were a little too undercooked and had a slightly slimy top to the white and the yolk. 8/10

Value for Money
6.95 for a breakfast seems like a good price considering the good quality ingredients used, better still if you get the 10% discount for participating in the Parkrun, and even better when they round down to the nearest pound on the till even after the discount! 9/10

Vegetarian Option
Forgot to check extensively. Most of the menu caters for meat-eaters however I believe if they have the right stuff to make exchanges eg from meat to veggie sausages, they probably will do.

The talk I was hearing was right, the fry-up served here will not leave you disappointed! The value for money is excellent and the service is very decent too. I would happily pay another pound or two for the breakfast if I saw some mushrooms and didn’t have to choose between toast and fried bread. If you’re in a group there’s no problem to mix about but on your own it might be more difficult. Still, don’t let that put you off visiting when you’re in the forest, the meats especially are some of the best I’ve tasted and the surroundings you won’t find in many other places! Remember though, parking is £4 for 3 hours which is a bit steep, so best off paying for and visiting the whole forest for the day and including the breakfast at the start to get your money’s worth from the meter.  8.5/10

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