Friday 2 January 2015

The Bicycle Shop - Norwich

17 St Benedicts Street

Fry ups available on Sundays only

For 82 years 17 St Benedicts Street was a bicycle shop, now it's a very popular place to eat, drink and enjoy music.

I would have visited much sooner but wasn't aware of a fry up being available here until I spotted this outside. 

The parlour upstairs was kitsch and beautifully decorated.

 Traditional furniture and plenty of plants.

Christmas paper chains hung from the ceiling.

The Sunday fry up was quite expensive at £10.95 but I was well up for trying it and my wife had her eye on the veggie fry up.

Had I have known the food was going to take so long to arrive I may  have considered a game of bed bugs.

Organic sauces and Tabasco if you want to spice things up a bit.

Tea in a pot, milk in a jug, I loved the mismatched crockery.

 A mug of Americano coffee cost £2

When the breakfast finally arrived it certainly looked like they had set out to offer something a bit different to everyone else.

Seasoned tomato and potatoes.

 The black pudding was excellent and so were the mushrooms.

No egg dilemmas here, scrambled is the only option and it tasted great.

I wasn't a big fan of the rich tasting homemade beans, nice idea but with so many other seasoned items there were far too many flavours going on for my liking. The sausages were quite rich tasting and the bacon was very crispy.

I did really enjoy the basil toast, to me it seemed more like a lightly fried bread, delicious!

The veggie fry up costs £9.95, it comes with halloumi and veggie hash.

My wife and I decided to walk into the city on the Sunday after Christmas, it was nice to get out of the house to stretch our legs and get some fresh air. With many places still closed our initial idea of finding somewhere to eat breakfast wasn't looking too promising so our thoughts turned towards lunch. We headed to The Bicycle Shop on St Benedicts Street which we were delighted to see was open. The blackboard outside offering a Sunday Fry Up was an unexpected surprise and seemed like an opportunity not to be missed, we headed inside..

Upon entering - On the ground floor there is a counter to the left and a selection of tables to sit at, some beside the window. We headed upstairs to the Parlour and took a seat at the last remaining empty table. The room was beautifully decorated with mis-matched furniture, plenty of plants and paper chains on the ceiling to mark the festive period. Although fairly compact inside there was certainly enough room between each table ensuring you had enough space to feel comfortable and manoeuvre. The sound level when we first sat down was making it difficult to concentrate and hold a conversation but this improved as more people left making it far easier to relax. I particularly liked the sign saying "if we are not over in 5 minutes come and find us" thankfully we didn't need to act on it though. The breakfast menu is on a large black board, sugar is on the table and sauces are offered when the food arrives. Ask for a table when you arrive and enjoy the full table service on offer here, either wait for the bill at the end or pay on the way out. Clearly a popular place that looks great and oozes character. 8/10

Service - We were delighted to discover there was one free table available when we arrived, we were told it was upstairs so went to find it. Somebody came and took our drinks order and once the drinks arrived we placed our food order. The staff were friendly enough and ensured everything we needed arrived at the table. From ordering the food it took 40 minutes to arrive, this wasn't really a problem but I do generally find knowing it is going to take this long makes the wait more bearable. At the end we headed downstairs and paid on the way out. 7/10

Contents - 2 sausages, 2 slices of bacon, 1 slice of black pudding, potatoes, scrambled egg, mushrooms, tomatoes and basil toast. 8/10

Presentation - It looked pretty good to me when it arrived but the very crispy bacon and amount of seasoning used on this breakfast was fairly noticeable. 7/10

The food - The sausages were clearly high quality but I found them to be far too rich and would have preferred a much plainer pork sausage. The bacon was very crispy and although a quality rasher had been used I prefer it cooked for far less time. The black pudding was excellent with a nice balanced flavour and coarse texture, the highlight of this breakfast for sure. I always usually choose fried eggs when given the option but do also love scrambled eggs and these were excellent with a smooth creamy taste. The potatoes and tomato were both cooked nicely but very seasoned and I felt far too rich on a breakfast. To add to this overload of flavours were the homemade beans, possibly great on their own but just far too rich for my liking alongside the other seasoned items on the plate. The tiny mushrooms were beautifully cooked and tasted delicious and I really enjoyed the basil toast, it appeared to be lightly fried and tasted great. 6/10

Value for money - With a coffee the Sunday Fry Up cost £12.95, compare this to those featured on the recommended trail map and it seems a bit overpriced to me. 4/10

Veggie option - Veggie hash, halloumi, potatoes, scrambled eggs, homemade beans, mushrooms, tomatoes and basil toast. £9.95.

Overall - A great place to sit and eat breakfast with friendly service and clearly very popular. I can't say I really appreciated the seasoned aspect of this breakfast though, one seasoned item may have been quite nice but with so many rich flavours going on my taste buds were struggling to cope. Certainly a slightly different breakfast to those that other places are offering but a bit more expensive and a bit wasted on me as I prefer a much plainer breakfast. 6.5/10


  1. It looks like the only un-herby things on your plate were the bacon and eggs, and there's just far too much seasoning on everything else. Also, basil toast (apart from being a good name for a 1950's detective) just sounds so wrong.
    The best breakfasts should come with the option of white or granary toast only!

  2. Definitely too much going on here I think, some of the best most enjoyable breakfasts for me are simple things done right.

  3. The grammar inspector3 January 2015 at 21:24

    You always usually choose fried eggs? Which is it?!

    The texture was coarse, of course.

    It is a nice-feeling environment but I have only ever drunk beer or coffee, never tried the food. The fact that a proper veggie option is offered is good.

    1. Grammar Inspector, Happy New Year!! Thanks as always, much appreciated :-)

  4. Not for me that one, trying too hard with the herbs and seasonings for an early breakfast. Crispy bacon should only ever be served if asked for and I'm afraid the beans just look like a 3 bean chilli. The herb toast looks to me like its been brushed with a basil/oil mix then warmed in the oven, same as I do when I have pasta...but not brekko! Shame because I applaud them for trying to be different but I don't think the F.E.B is the place for tinkering.

  5. How was the veggie fry up received? I suspect the veggie hash was heavily-seasoned as well?

    1. Yep, over seasoned too, my wife wasn't too happy with it.