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!!


  1. Hi Fry up inspector, I went to the Britannia Cafe on Good Friday to review on my Norfolk Cafe Cycle Tour blog but it was so busy it was a disappointing experience. My friends were also just too late to have a breakfast so I have put a link in my post across to your review in case people want proper breakfast info. Enjoying your reviews Kevin

  2. All very lovely and laudable, but definitely a drain on genuine businesses that have to make a profit. That don't have the advantages of lovely views, spacious accommodation, cheap on-tap labour, and contract catering type economies of scale.

    1. Surely the "profit" is giving people a second chance to acquire skills and give back to the community? The prisoners working there have a massively reduced reoffending rate. How on earth is this a "drain"? If you're trully business-minded you should know that a free market economy is all about competition.

  3. Visited the Brittania cafe this morning. We were more than impressed with the cafe itself well decorated and very tidy. The staff were more than helpful and informative of the delay due to a large party. We were both impressed with the quality of the produce and size of the the breakfast, mine was the well named due to its size, kings breakfast and the other was the queens. The coffees were spot on. This will definately be a regular haunt for us! Thanks for the recommendation!

  4. Visited the Britannia last week and was really impressed with the quality and quantity of the food, plus the friendly service. Lovely brightly decorated room and we also sat outside afterwards and had our coffee. Am looking forward to a return visit for a breakfast and also the 2 course Sunday lunch. Long may it continue!

  5. We went to Britannia Cafe this morning and thought it was great.I had the £4.95 breakfast and I really enjoyed it. For 4 people in our party the bill came to £22. Really rated the food and the view.

  6. Went yesterday for breakfast ,with son,daughter in law & 2 grandchildren . Have been there on more than one occasion,breakfasts,morning coffee & scones,tea & cake. Absolutely excellent, plenty of space round tables which is good as it does get busy, polite service,clean tables, very good quality food,the perfect place and good value for money . Tips can be placed in the Victim Support Tin which is a brilliant idea. Excellent to give people a second chance to learn a new skill.Thank you, keep up the high standard,I will be returning again for sure.

    1. Excuse my necromancy but it should be possible to tip the people doing the work, prisoners or not. Most victim support groups are a scam and virtually no money reaches any victims. This is also true of the unjust victim surcharge now levied on all convictions at magistrate courts etc., the money goes to run the court system, not one penny reaches a victim. Remember prisoners are typically paid 20p/hour for their work if that, they should get the tips.

  7. It's great to read those reviews from the early days when I was cooking and dreamt up the names for the breakfast s