Thursday 27 February 2014

Cafe 338 - London

338 Bethnal Green Road
E2 0AG

Opening hours
Monday to Saturday - 6.00am till 5.00pm
Sunday - 6.00am till 4.00pm

Breakfast served all day

Nearest tube - Bethnal Green


Cafe 338 is very popular, customers queue outside waiting for an available table.

There is non-stop action in the kitchen at the rear to feed the hungry diners.

 Traditional gingham table cloth, sugar pourer and a squeezy tomato on every table.

Possibly the biggest breakfast menu I had ever seen!

Many combinations are possible, one day I may well return to build my dream breakfast.

Frothy coffee or tea comes with all breakfasts.

Stunning presentation but an economy sausage isn't a pretty sight.

Delicious and juicy tomato slices. 

Plenty of mushrooms and bacon.

A beautifully fried egg lay on a slice of fried bread, the sausage can be replaced with a decent one if you pay extra, I wish I had spotted this earlier!

The slab of bubble and squeak was good stuff!

The breakfast was so filling the toast didn't get a look in, it looked nice enough though!

The big veggie breakfast comes with onion rings (an odd choice) and is also impressively presented.

We were going to see our friends band play in London and had booked a night at Liverpool Street Travelodge, the perfect excuse for another fry up inspection! Cafe 338 seemed a popular choice and was only three shops away from the legendary E. Pellicci. With a bit of a hangover from the night before we entered feeling relieved at the sight of an empty table in the corner..

Upon entering - Quite a lot of tables have been fitted into this not particularly big cafe, thankfully there is enough space between the tables to ensure you can sit comfortably. The cafe is well lit with classic lighting, squeezy tomato sauce bottles and gingham table cloths keep things nice and traditional. Find a table and grab it quickly as this place is really popular, shortly after we had arrived people started queueing outside waiting for a free table to appear. It took us sometime to work out if you had to order at the counter or whether your order is taken at the table, it turned out you just sit and wait till somebody comes over to take your order. Everything you need for your breakfast experience will arrive at or already be on the table. The menu has a seriously impressive breakfast section so spend some time planning the ultimate breakfast and avoid the economy sausage, I wish I had! There is a great vibe inside the cafe, we got a window seat which was nice until the queue started to form outside and I felt a bit on display! 7/10

Service - My wife went to order the food at the counter as nobody came over at first, she was told to wait and somebody would be over to take the order. There were plenty of staff, all very busy and fairly friendly too. We didn't wait too long for anything to arrive and was asked if everything was ok during the breakfast. 7/10

Contents  - 1 jumbo economy sausage, 2 slices of bacon, 2 slices of black pudding, 2 large slices of tomato, 1 large slab of bubble and squeak, a whole slice of fried bread, plenty of sliced mushrooms, 1 fried egg, 2 slices of buttered toast and a hot drink. 9/10

Presentation - Certainly an impressive layout with a whole uncut slice of fried bread laying underneath an almost perfect fried egg, perched above this though wasn't a pretty sight, a jumbo economy sausage.. Better things were happening in the east though with a well positioned display of circular delight in the shape of tomato and black pudding. To the west of the plate a large slab of bubble and squeak sat proudly above a heap of sliced mushrooms. The south of the plate was all about bacon, plenty of it and nicely browned. 9/10

The food - I am not a fan of economy sausages but thankfully this was not the worse one I have encountered and although not hugely enjoyable to eat I did go on to finish it. The bacon was much better and cooked nicely on the griddle. The black pudding was standard but piping hot and went nicely with the large slices of juicy and flavoursome tomatoes. The mushrooms were delicious as was the homemade bubble and squeak. The fried bread was pretty good, the toast was nice and the fried egg almost perfect with a nice runny yolk. 7/10

Value for money - I paid just £5.80 for the mega breakfast which also included buttered toast and a nice frothy coffee. It was more food than I could finish and a real bargain! 9/10

Veggie option - Yes, 6 set breakfasts or build your own.

Overall - A very popular cafe with the biggest breakfast selection I have ever seen! It's possible to build your ideal breakfast here and if I ever return I shall do that as none of the set breakfasts contain everything I require on a breakfast. In hindsight I wish I had swapped the economy sausage for a decent one and added some beans. Definitely worth a look and excellent value for money but I personally preferred the mighty E. Pellicci 3 doors away. 8/10

Friday 21 February 2014

Britannia Cafe - Norwich

Britannia Road

Opening hours
Monday to Friday - 6.30am till 4.30pm
Saturday - 8.00am till 2.00pm
Sunday - 8.00am till 4.00pm

Breakfast served till 11.00am

Parking available on Britannia Road

The cafe is housed inside the former staff mess and barracks of Norwich prison.

The view across Norwich is amazing!

Once on Britannia Road look out for the signs, they will show you the way in.

 A spacious and nicely decorated interior awaits you.

The mismatched furniture works nicely with the decor.

 A menu is on each table along with flowers and a table number.

Everything on the menu is very reasonably priced.

 The first coffee was really weak so we asked for another one, this was not a problem.

 The second coffee was much better, I popped some cream in.

The breakfast arrived piping hot and nicely presented. If you want a bigger breakfast then pay £1 extra and you will get another sausage, slice of bacon and a hash brown, bargain!

 A delicious and quality sausage and slice of bacon, beans are served in a pot.

The generous portion of mushrooms were amazing and the nicely cooked egg was delicious.

The toast comes with the breakfast but a little longer in the toaster would have been nice.

A friend recently mentioned that Britannia Cafe had just opened at Norwich Prison, the cafe gives prisoners the opportunity to work in the cafe learning new skills and qualifications. You can read a recent news article about it here. I was keen to visit in a few weeks time but found myself there earlier than I had expected on a visit for coffee and a slice of cake. Once inside though the breakfast was an irresistible option so the inspection began..

Upon entering - I had initial concerns about finding Britannia Cafe but rest assured that the signage along Britannia Road will ensure finding it is easy and parking outside is not a problem. Inside it is very spacious with a distinct British theme, there are plenty of different sized tables to choose from. Each table has a menu, flowers, sugar lumps and a table number. Place your order at the counter ensuring you remember your table number, pay and collect your drink, milk can be found in a jug on the counter or there are small pots of cream if you prefer. The food will arrive at the table when it is ready along with some cutlery and a serviette. The cafe environment is relaxed and pleasant, the views across the city are stunning! 8/10

Service - We were served by quite a few different people whilst there, all were helpful and friendly. We placed our order and sat down with our coffee, the coffee was very weak but as soon as we mentioned this a fresh pot was made and much stronger coffee was served to us. The food arrived next along with the cutlery, I was just starting to wonder where the toast was when I spotted it coming towards me in the distance. I asked for some ketchup but it must have been forgotten about as it never arrived. The cafe has only been open 5 weeks and I fully understand it will take time get to grips with everything. Considering the short time it has been open I thought the staff were doing a great job, their friendliness, enthusiasm and passion to make the cafe a success really shone through! 7/10

Contents - 1 sausage, 1 bacon, 1 egg, mushrooms, tomatoes, beans, 1 slice of toast & butter and a hot drink. 7/10

Presentation - The food arrived looking nicely cooked and well arranged on the plate with beans in a separate pot. The toast lay nicely (but not quite toasted enough) on a side plate with a small pack of butter. 7/10

The food - A really nicely cooked pork sausage with great texture and flavour, the thick slice of bacon with slightly crispy rind was equally delicious. The fried egg looked and tasted great with a good runny yolk and the beans were piping hot. The tomatoes didn't have much flavour but were cooked beautifully, the mushrooms were incredibly delicious. The toast arrived hot but slightly longer in the toaster would have been nice. An enjoyable breakfast and a real pleasure to eat! 8/10

Value for money - The Britannia breakfast costs £3.95 and comes with a hot drink and toast. The quality is good and the food is delicious so this is a real bargain! An extra £1 gets you extra sausage, bacon and a hash brown. 9/10

Veggie option - Yes, menu states (Vegetarian option available on request)

Overall - Definitely worth a visit, friendly service, a great interior and good food at a great price. Their decision to use quality ingredients is a good one, always nicer to see a quality sausage over an economy one! I plan to visit again once they have been open for a bit longer for a second look, next time I will try the bigger breakfast and my wife will find out about the vegetarian breakfast. If you like cake then you could be in for a treat here, a giant slice of homemade cake costs just £2 and it looked really good! A great new project that is well on its way to becoming a massive success, I look forward to returning! 7.5/10

- Update, March 2014 -

 I returned today with my wife and discovered these sausage rolls that were still hot from the oven, a bargain at just £1 each. A lovely buttery pastry and great blend of pork and herbs, delicious!

 There was a selection of homemade cakes on offer for just £2 a slice. This huge slice of carrot cake was really good with a nice moist texture.

- Update, April 2014 -

I had heard that there was a new breakfast menu at Britannia Cafe, this time offering a much bigger breakfast than before and including black pudding and fried bread. This was something I had to try and also something that could potentially adjust the review scores enough for Britannia Cafe to enter the "recommended" section of the blog.

 When I placed my order I discovered they were out of mushrooms which was a great shame, they did however offer me an extra hash brown. This breakfast was massive and a side plate for the toast may have made eating it a tad easier, it was all cooked superbly though and tasted excellent!

 A total of 3 hash browns ensured I would not be leaving hungry and those beans were piping hot in there own little bowl.

The meat side of the plate with 2 quality sausages, a heap of tasty bacon and a thick chunk of black pudding.

The black pudding had a lovely coarse texture and tasted really nice.

 2 slices of thick cut fried bread, crispy and not holding too much oil went nicely with those perfect fried eggs on top.

 This time I found the ketchup too but didn't realise you have to collect your own cutlery, luckily the chap bringing the breakfast over was happy to bring me some. 

With the mushroom situation on this visit I decided it would be better to return again when there is some and re-review the breakfast again then. One thing is for sure though, Britannia Cafe are serving a really impressive breakfast and are clearly popular as it is always busy when I visit, loving the Kings breakfast, keep up the great work!!

Friday 14 February 2014

Breakfast in Brighton

Some places I have discovered in Brighton. 
I will add more places as I visit them.

Joe's Cafe. Read about it here.

 Bills Cafe, Restaurant and Store. Read about it here.

Rock Ola. Read about it here.

 Kensingtons. Read about it here.

New Madeira Hotel. Read about it here.

Sunday 9 February 2014

The Unthank Kitchen - Norwich

117 Unthank Road

Opening hours

Tuesday - Friday
8.00am till 3.30pm

Saturday - Sunday
8.30am till 3.30pm

Breakfast available all day

The Unthank Kitchen is a popular cafe in Norwich's golden triangle.

Inside is fairly small with around five tables and can get very busy, the outside decking area is a very popular option in the warmer months.

 A good breakfast menu that looks after meat eaters, vegetarians and those on a gluten free diet. A nice selection of items make up each breakfast but strangely no tomatoes?

 Order your food and pay at this counter, the kitchen is also behind here. The blackboard displayed a tempting proposition "add black pudding or bubble and squeak to you breakfast" I couldn't resist so added both!

Sauces and menus found on each table.

Coffee costs £2 and sugar awaits in a classic pourer.

With black pudding and bubble & squeak added to my bumper breakfast I was visually just fried bread and tomatoes away from fry up heaven.

Nice mushrooms and beans with a good consistency.

Good black pudding and nice enough bacon.

Delicious quality sausages but not very hot, the hash browns were crunchy and piping hot though.

A nice looking fried egg but uncooked egg white could be seen lurking. The toast was underdone and cold preventing the spread from melting, this was a similar issue on my last visit.

The bubble and squeak was excellent, plenty of flavours going on and a great texture.

The veggie breakfast, my wife ordered tomatoes (not listed on the menu) and got them!
She enjoyed everything but was not such a fan of the bubble & squeak and had similar concerns to me regarding underdone toast and uncooked egg white.

In June 2010 I visited The Unthank Kitchen in Norwich, it was fry up inspection number seven, read the 2010 write up here. Nearly four years on and I decided it was time to return again and replace my original article with a more up to date version..

Upon entering - The outside decking area is not available during the winter months so we headed inside and although quite busy we were delighted to spot a spare table. There are tables along each side of the cafe and one in the window, each has a menu and sugar, sauces etc. The counter at the rear is where you order and pay, it also lists the opportunity to add black pudding or bubble and squeak to your breakfast but doesn't say how much this costs. Once you have ordered and paid take a seat and wait for everything to arrive. I liked the classic cafe feel inside the Unthank Kitchen with radio on in the background and other customers chatting, I also remember how nice it can be to sit outside in the warmer weather. 7/10

Service - The chap cooking the food looked familiar and I eventually remembered where from, it was Chris from Litebite sandwich bar. We placed our order and picked our table, cups and crumbs from the previous customers joined us for the duration of our breakfast. The food arrived in good time after the drinks, we had forgotten to pick up some cutlery but some was brought over for us. My wife loves tomatoes on her breakfast and although not listed on the menu she asked for some and this was not a problem. We were asked if everything was ok and the plates were cleared away at the end. 7/10

Contents - 2 sausages, 2 bacon, 2 slices of black pudding, 2 fried eggs, 2 hash browns, bubble and squeak, mushrooms, beans and 2 slices of toast. 9/10

Presentation - A nicely filled and colourful plateful, nice to see the return of round plates too! Possible plate overcrowding with the toast though which may have benefited from more time in the toaster and being served on a side plate. Some raw egg white visible on one of the eggs was a bit concerning but everything else looked great! 7/10

The food - The sausages were good quality with a solid meaty texture and along with the bacon tasted great, neither were particularly hot though. A good pair of eggs with runny yolks but I spotted some uncooked white which is always a tad off putting. The toast needed longer in the toaster but was ok wrapped around some bacon, when I first saw it I thought I had been given bread and butter. The black pudding was piping hot and tasted great, the sliced mushrooms were delicious and the beans had a good thick consistency. The hash browns were golden and crispy but the star of the show had to be the bubble and squeak with excellent taste and texture. 7/10

Value for money - My bumper breakfast with bubble & squeak, black pudding and a coffee cost me £10.10. A good selection of items are on offer here and it kept me going till the evening. 8/10

Veggie option - Yes and gluten free too! View the breakfast menu here.

Overall - Certainly a good option if you are going out for breakfast in the golden triangle area, vegetarians and those on a gluten free diet are well looked after here. Clearly a popular choice as it is often very busy, the outside area does create much more space during the warmer months. I loved the selection of items on offer here but have no idea how much bubble & squeak or black pudding actually costs? Tomatoes are a key breakfast item but don't feature on any of the breakfasts, however my wife did ask and got some lovely tinned tomatoes. Although not perfect certainly a good breakfast with the bubble and squeak stealing the show for me. 7.5/10