Friday 27 February 2015

The Rumsey Wells - Norwich

4 St Andrews Street

Breakfast available all day


I've been in The Rumsey Wells many times over the years and often too drunk to remember it! It was time to visit sober though as an all day breakfast was on the menu.

Photos on this visit were easy as nobody was about.

The all day breakfast was £7 for a regular or £9 for a big daddy. Although not mentioned on the menu they were happy to do a vegetarian breakfast for my wife.

A wax coated bottle filled with plastic flowers, I quite liked it.

Between midday and 2pm a free tea, coffee or fruit juice comes with the breakfasts.

A sand castle bucket arrived with everything a breakfast might need.

You can't go far wrong with HP and Heinz but something much better had joined the condiment gathering..

Pieminister pie chutney! It went down a treat with the bacon.

This was the big daddy breakfast, something didn't seem quite right though.

Stunning Pickering's sausages but was the toaster broken?

Incredible Pickering's bacon, the 2nd sausage was standing in for the black pudding who couldn't make it onto the plate, they had run out..

I think the sausages were pork and leek, a top banger for sure!

The slushy and tasteless tomatoes were disappointing.

Real butter was served with the toast, or was it bread?

Beans are usually a straightforward item but I didn't enjoy the taste or texture of these.

A nice runny yolk flowed from the egg.

My wife spotted my breakfast was missing hash browns, I mentioned this at the bar.
They soon arrived on a side plate piping hot and soft.

The veggie breakfast, my wife wasn't very excited by it.

After a great weekend in Brighton and having already eaten a breakfast the day before my wife and I decided to go for breakfast again to blow the cobwebs away. The Rumsey Wells was on my "places to visit soon" list and knowing free drinks were being offered with breakfasts on a Sunday between midday and 2pm we headed down there..

Upon entering - I am sure most people in Norwich have been in The Rumsey Wells at some point so the layout will be familiar. For those that haven't though it has two main seating areas, a bar area and (private hire) basement. Menus were on the table when we arrived so we placed our order at the bar, paid and had the choice of any table as nobody else was in there. Everything is bought to the table and although empty the music in the background created some atmosphere. A sandcastle bucket arrived at the table before the food containing cutlery, sauces, salt and pepper. Sugar can be found on a ledge beside the bar. Quite a nice place to eat in and no beer smells lingering from the night before so we were happy enough. 7/10

Service - The chap serving us did a great job but was the bearer of bad news telling us the kitchen had no black pudding. An extra sausage or slice of bacon was offered but I did feel a tad gutted, always disappointing when items are not available. I was later the bearer of more bad news pointing out my breakfast was missing hash browns, these rapidly appeared on a side plate. Other than missing item moments, the service was good and we were asked if the music volume and the food was ok. 8/10

Contents - 2 sausages (1 replaced the black pudding), 3 slices of bacon, 1 fried egg, 2 hash browns, tomatoes, beans and a slice of toast served with real butter. 7/10

Presentation - The meats were looking great but the barely toasted toast and dry looking beans allowed a feeling of disappointment to set in. Perhaps if the hash browns had arrived with the everything else then it might have had more impact, seeing them arrive later on a side plate though kind of ruined the crucial first impression. 5/10

The food - It was a story of two halves, first the good part. The Pickering's meats were incredibly nice, thick and juicy sausages and some of the nicest bacon I can recall eating. The fried egg was a fairly fine example too with runny yolk intact. Sadly the other half of the story is one of disappointment. A pair of soft hash browns lacking any crispy outer edge, toast that had popped out of the toaster far too soon, slushy and tasteless tomatoes and dry beans that just didn't taste right to me. 5/10

Value for money - The big daddy breakfast cost £9, I will happily spend this on an excellent breakfast but this one came with too much disappointment. I initially thought the free drink would improve the value of it but not even a mug of instant coffee could prevent me from wishing I had spent my money elsewhere. 4/10

Veggie option - 2 veggie sausages, 2 hash browns, 1 fried egg, tomatoes, beans and a slice of toast for £7

Overall - It's always a disappointment when a place runs out of an item and even more so when they forget to put something on your plate. I was expecting really good things here and the meats and fried egg were really good, just a shame the other parts of the breakfast were a big let down. I hear the Pieminister pies are amazing and I can confirm the pie relish certainly is. I just expected much better from a breakfast with a £9 price tag. 6/10

Wednesday 25 February 2015

Joe's Cafe - Brighton

24 Upper Hamilton Road

Opening hours
Monday to Friday - 8am till 3pm
Saturday - 9am till 3pm
Sunday - Closed

Not my usual exterior shot but I like it and it gives you an idea of what to look for once you are on Upper Hamilton Road. To be honest there were so many people waiting outside it made it impossible to get a better shot, great to see how popular it was though! Joe's Cafe was voted as Brighton's best breakfast last year by Brighton and Hove independent, read the article here.

It was busy the entire time we were there but I did manage to get an interior shot after some customers had left.

 Everything you need is found inside the condiment box.

 A vast breakfast menu is available with decent vegan and veggie options.

I wasn't feeling particularly hungry but decided to order the biggest breakfast to ensure I got to try all of the items on offer.

We were offered water which was nice as I had a bit of a hangover.

My wife had a mug of tea, the milk came in a small milk bottle, very nice touch!

The cappucchino was great and best of all it was offered free!

 The biggest full English breakfast cost £8.20 and looked really good.

2 slices of buttered toast comes with it too, nicely toasted and cut from a decent loaf.

 Crispy fried potatoes and nice chunky mushrooms, both tasted amazing!

Thick cut locally sourced bacon and a delicious free range egg, the bigger breakfast also comes with black pudding.

A generous amount of really tasty tomatoes and a locally sourced sausage hold back a sea of beans.

My wife went for the veggie option but my photo was too blurry to do it justice, she said it tasted amazing though! I will show you instead a dish that a friend who was joining us for breakfast had, the meaty hangover hash. It's a speciality at Joe's that is clearly very popular, sautéed potatoes with bacon, sausage, onion and mushrooms topped with a fried egg, cheese and chives.

I hadn't visited Brighton for a couple of years but as soon as I heard that The Meteors would be playing at the opening night of Brighton Tattoo Convention I knew I would be returning again. I had so far reviewed four breakfasts in Brighton but this time I wanted to visit the place serving the best, Joe's Cafe was the place I was hearing about so my decision was made. Our plans to not drink too much at the tattoo convention didn't quite go to plan with us returning back to our hotel just after 4.30am. We had to leave our hotel by 10am and made it out just in time feeling a bit worse for wear. We were meeting friends at Joe's Cafe for breakfast at 11am and safe in the knowledge that nothing cures a hangover like a decent fry up we headed towards Upper Hamilton Road..

Upon entering - The cafe itself is quite compact with a warm friendly environment and heaps of character. Find a table (this place is popular so you may have to wait but it's well worth it!) and everything you need is there right in front of you, a good varied breakfast menu and a large wooden condiment box containing sauces, sugar cutlery etc. Local artists work is displayed on the vibrant coloured walls and the chunky wooden tables combined with quirky details like the tiny bottles containing milk are what make this place look and feel so special. There is full table service and you simply pay at the counter on your way out, a great system and you won't find yourself wondering where anything is as this has all been well thought out. 9/10

Service - The service here was excellent and really friendly, clearly a team that enjoy their work! We had reserved a table but there was a slight mix up with the booking, it was a nice sunny day so we waited outside until a table was free. We were told a table would be available soon and the drinks would be on the house due to the mix up, it sounded good to us! Once inside we were greeted, our orders were taken and everything arrived in a reasonable amount of time. After the hot drinks had arrived we were offered a jug of water, my wife and I were quite hungover from the night before so this was perfect. We were asked if we needed anything else and later if everything was ok, after eating we chatted with the friends we had met for well over an hour and didn't feel at all rushed. 9/10

Contents - 1 sausage, 2 slices of bacon, 2 slices of black pudding, 1 fried egg, fried potatoes, mushrooms, tomatoes, beans and 2 slices of buttered toast. 8/10

Presentation - It looked stunning when it arrived with the beans held back by the sausage and a wall of tomatoes ensuring the egg didn't come into contact with any bean juice. This of course doesn't worry me but I know that many that can't cope with egg/bean contact will sigh a relief at this presentation! Clearly a lot of care had gone into cooking and serving this breakfast, everything looked nicely cooked and resulted in a colourful and delicious looking combination of items. 9/10

The food - Your taste buds are in for a treat, the ingredients used on this breakfast are good quality and locally sourced and you can really taste the difference! The sausage had a nice firm texture and stunning flavour, quite different to any other I had tried before, a great choice of breakfast sausage. The bacon was packed full of flavour and cut nice and thick, it reminded me of the amazing bacon served in Norwich's House Cafe. Tasty black pudding and a lovely free range fried egg with a runny golden yolk, this went nicely on top of the buttered toast which was from a decent loaf. The mushrooms were cut into nice wide slices and tasted excellent, as did the slow roasted tomatoes. The fried potatoes tasted really good with a crisp golden edge and fluffy centre, these accompanied the beans really well. 9/10

Value for money - Joe's "bigger" full English breakfast costs £8.20 and includes 2 slices of toast. It's a good size (I didn't manage to finish it!) and with such quality ingredients being used it seemed a fair enough price to me. 8/10

Veggie option - Yes, in 2 sizes and a vegan option too (See menu pic above)

Overall - Joe's Cafe is a good 15 minutes walk up a steep hill North of the train station but don't let this put you off as the reward at the end is well worth it! I can see why it was voted Brighton's best breakfast and it is another perfect example of how chains can't touch independents like this for quality and good service. A lovely little cafe with a really friendly staff team serving stunning breakfasts, loved it! 8.5/10

Sunday 15 February 2015

Horatio Mugs - Holt

20 Bull Street
NR25 6HP

Horatio Mugs is in the town centre of Holt on Bull Street, not far from the post office.

Look out for the hand painted sign and you are nearly there.

 Place your order whilst admiring the vast selection of homemade cakes.

You can sit in the front area by the counter if you prefer.

 Further back are plenty more tables.

Local artist's work is displayed on the walls and is available to buy.

The artwork on the front of the menu, where it comes from is no secret!

I wasn't here to admire clip art though, the breakfast menu was the reason for my visit and it was looking very promising indeed!

The breakfast comes with a tea or filter coffee, I ordered a cappuccino and wasn't charged any extra which was nice.

I didn't notice the opening hours here and couldn't work it out online either due to there being no website or facebook page. One thing is for sure though, Sundays 10am till 4pm.

Ketchup comes in a pot and real butter is served in small packets.

This is the Full Nelson which costs £8.50

It was a big breakfast served on a huge plate.

The toast would have been better served on a side plate but just look at those sausages.

Excellent quality and stunning flavour.

 Beans in a pot and a nice pair of eggs.

 Both eggs had a nice runny yolk and I always ensure they are next to the beans, the perfect combination in my opinion but others may shudder at the very thought of this!

Well cooked bacon and nice tasty tomatoes.

Crispy hash browns and delicious mushrooms, I thoroughly enjoyed this breakfast.

 It was a big breakfast so I wrapped up a sausage in a tissue to eat later.

The veggie breakfast (£7.95) was enjoyed by my wife, she loved the veggie sausages but mentioned the poached eggs were slightly underdone.

Between Christmas and New Year my wife and I had briefly visited Holt and had tea and cake at Horatio Mugs Cafe. On that visit the breakfast menu had caught my eye and I was keen to return. With a trip to Amazona Zoo in Cromer planned we decided to go via Holt for breakfast..

Upon entering - This quaint coffee house is beautifully decorated and has natural light flooding in through the many window. Local artists work is displayed on the walls and is available to buy, you may not spot this straight away though as the delicious selection of homemade cakes on the counter will most likely hypnotise you! All the tables have menus, salt, pepper and sugar as well as fresh flowers on them, once you have decided what you would like place your order and pay at the counter. Everything including cutlery is brought to the table and sauces are offered too, these come in small pots. It was a lovely place to dine in and the large tables ensured there was enough space for everything once it arrived. 8/10

Service - We placed our order at the counter having secured a table, I didn't notice that the breakfasts included tea or filter coffee and ordered a cappuccino. It was only once I had sat down that I realised I wasn't charged any extra for having a cappuccino which was a nice touch. The waitress arrived with drinks and later the food in an acceptable amount of time after ordering, certainly an efficient and friendly enough service to be found here. 7/10

Contents - 2 sausages, 2 bacon, 1 slice of black pudding, 2 fried eggs, 2 hash browns, mushrooms, beans, tomatoes, 2 slices of toast with butter and a hot drink. 9/10

Presentation - The Full Nelson was served on a large round plate with the toast perched on top, I think the toast would have been better served on a side plate though. The food all looked great, a couple of crispy bits of egg white lay on top of the eggs and the tomatoes were looking a bit dark in places but other than this a breakfast that was looking good. 7/10

The food - Amazing sausages that were the highlight of this breakfast, certainly good quality and quite a rich, slightly herby flavour. I saved one for later as I was so full up and ate it whilst looking around the town, it was even nicer when eaten cold. The bacon was very smokey and well cooked, I ate it between some buttered toast with plenty of ketchup, delicious! The black pudding had a fairly smooth texture which was quite unusual but very nice indeed, I ate it with some of the nice rich tasting tomatoes, they looked quite pale but did taste great. The beans were piping hot, mushrooms spot on and the hash browns nice and crispy. An enjoyable breakfast from beginnning to end and plenty of it. 9/10

Value for money - The Full Nelson is a nice big breakfast that includes toast and a hot drink for £8.50. You probably won't be needing any lunch after this and the coffee house is a really nice environment to eat it in so worth every penny. 8/10

Veggie option - 2 veggie sausages, 2 eggs, 2 hash browns, tomatoes, mushrooms, beans, toast and a hot drink for £7.95
Overall - I was really impressed with the breakfast here, a good size and served with some really nice sausages. It's not just the breakfasts here that make it worth a visit though, the homemade cakes are really impressive too and the slices are cut really generously. Great food, good service and a lovely little coffee shop to enjoy a breakfast in. 8/10