Sunday 29 March 2015

The Glass House (Wetherspoons) - Norwich

11-13 Wensum Street

Breakfast served daily from 8am till 12pm


I had last visited The Glass House back in June 2013, It was time to return again though to see what had changed and whether the breakfast had improved.

Sit at a table or if you prefer on a stool, plenty of places to choose here.

This area seemed quite cosy but dark.

Lots of light here though and perfect for couples.

Two more large areas can also be found upstairs.

The bar can be seen down below, time to go there and order some breakfast!

Once you have a table number place your order at the bar.

Last time I was here all the sauces were in sachets, I was delighted to find them in bottles now, much better.

You shouldn't have any problems finding some sauces! 

The large filter coffee with refills till 2pm for 99p was a nice touch.

Collect sugar and milk from here.

 Return for a refill if you like, just help yourself.

Not too bad for 99p.

A varied breakfast menu with something for everyone and everything under £5.

 It was interesting to read the calorie content of the breakfasts, I wished I hadn't though having just ordered the large one!

The sauce racks contained a quality branded line up.

The large breakfast cost £4.70

It was certainly a decent enough size but didn't stay hot for very long.

Everything was ok but nothing stood out as being particularly special.

 This egg yolk was very strange looking.

This one looked better though.

A trio of hash browns and very dry bacon.

It did taste ok though.

 The toast is served with butter and the mushroom was rather nice.

The slightly herby sausages served here are far better than the economy type found on other breakfasts at this price.

A good solid texture and fairly pleasant taste.

My wife's vegetarian breakfast cost just £2.99, she told me "it was alright, probably quite a good hangover cure, shame it was served warm though"

Back in June 2013 I visited The Glass House for breakfast, I had eaten quite a few Wetherspoon breakfasts before and decided to try my local. Back then I wasn't particularly impressed with it, you can read the 2013 review here. I was recently contacted and asked if I would re-review The Glass House as a number of changes had taken place since my original visit. I am always happy to re-visit places so I went along with my wife to give it a second look..

Upon entering - This place is huge and covers two floors, both have a selection of places to sit with different levels of lighting. Downstairs has plenty of seating areas and is where the bar is located, off the main bar area is a fairly big outside seating area which is perfect for warmer days. Upstairs has another big seating area with a balcony as well as a large room off the corridor. Place your order at the bar, tell them your table number, order your drinks and pay. If you need milk and sugar you can find it close to the bar, remember to collect a rack containing a selection of sauces. The sauces in bottles was different to when I last visited and they were served in sachets, this is much better and makes life far easier when the breakfast arrives. Another change I noticed was the coffee refills, the refill machine is located by the bar, just help yourself if you fancy another coffee. The food is bought to the table when it is ready and arrives with cutlery wrapped in a serviette. We sat downstairs by the window and it seemed like a good choice with a good view outside onto Wensum Street, we made good use of the free wifi. 8/10

Service - The service here seemed pretty good and the guy taking our order was quite friendly. When I returned for a coffee refill the machine was empty, before I had a chance to mention this a member of staff had spotted me trying to work it out and quickly changed it for me. 7/10

Contents - 2 sausages, 2 bacon, 2 fried eggs, 3 hash browns, 1 large mushroom, half a tomato, beans and 2 slices of toast with butter. 8/10

Presentation - The nice blue plate arrived at the table with toast and butter in packets sat beside the other items. Not too bad but one of the egg yolks wasn't looking too good and possibly the driest bacon I have ever seen. 4/10

The food -  The sausages used by Wetherspoons are a slightly herby variety, better than an economy sausage and reasonably enjoyable. The bacon tasted ok but was really dry, no moisture left in it at all! The fried eggs were ok, one had an odd looking yolk and the other yolk was much better. The hash browns were not particularly crunchy but ok, the beans and toast were ok and the tomato quite tasty. The highlight was probably the mushroom, quite juicy and tasty. Having eaten many Wetherspoon breakfasts before it was pretty much what I was expecting and as always didn't stay hot for very long. 5/10

Value for money - The large breakfast and a coffee with refills cost me £5.69. It was a good price but sadly not a great breakfast. I did enjoy it more than last time I was here though and the coffee refills ensure you get better value for your money. 5/10

Veggie option - 2 vegetarian breakfasts are available here costing £2.99 or for the larger one £4.70. 

Overall - The bottled sauces and coffee refills are a great idea and this particular Wetherspoons is a nice environment to eat breakfast in. The staff were friendly enough and the prices are great if you are looking to eat breakfast on a budget. You generally know what you're going to get with a Wetherspoons breakfast it's just a case of how hot it will be when it arrives and how good the eggs are going to be. I would personally rather pay more for a much better breakfast but if you are looking to spend less or are just trying to get rid of last nights hangover then Wetherspoons could be for you. 6/10

Tuesday 24 March 2015

Expresso Cafe - Norwich

12 St Georges Street

Sunday breakfast from 9am till 1pm


I walk past Expresso everytime I walk into the city and have enjoyed a cappuccino or two outside in the past.

This sign was one I couldn't ignore.

The counter is in the centre.

 There are plenty of tables to choose from in the cafe.

It's much quieter in the back room where there are a few more tables.

She looked like she was having a great time!

 This menu is only served on a Sunday

If you want the Expresso Full English with both extras it does get expensive at £10.20.

The regular cappuccino cost £2.30, it's a decent size and tasted amazing!

Quality sauces were already on the table as well as sugar, salt and pepper.

For £10.20 it didn't seem like much breakfast for your money, I just hoped it was all about the taste here.

Both breakfasts come with toasted ciabatta, it seemed a bit stale in the centre though.

The plates were nice and hot ensuring the food stayed that way too, sadly the butter didn't cope too well with this..

The mushroom was excellent and the eggs close to perfect.

This is how I always eat my eggs, on top of the toast with the beans. Many can't bear to see the two touching but I love eating them both together.

When I popped the yolk it flowed beautifully.

Great bacon and a decent sausage.

Lovely texture and flavour but I would expect two on a breakfast costing over £10.

The tomato looked great but tasted of nothing at all.

A small portion of beans in quite a lot of sauce

The crispy hash browns were hiding under the eggs.

The vegetarian breakfast came with 3 veggie sausages (my wife got lucky as two are listed on the menu!) and double the mushrooms and tomatoes. With the beans and hash browns added as extras it cost £9.20 and I thought the presentation was much better than the Full English.

I walked past Expresso Cafe on St Georges Street the other week as I do on a regular basis on my route into the city. This time though I spotted the Sunday breakfast sign which stopped me in my tracks. I had drunk some excellent coffee here in the past so decided to return with my wife to see how the cooked breakfasts compared..

Upon entering - There are some tables outside which are perfect in the warmer weather but on this cold and windy day we headed inside. Much of the main room here is taken up with the counter area where drinks are prepared, sandwiches and cakes are displayed and orders are placed. Around the edge of the cafe are plenty of tables to choose from as well as the option to sit looking out of the window. We initially chose a table in here but later spotted a smaller back room which had plenty of natural light and was far more peaceful. With our order placed we relocated to the back room, salt, pepper, sugar, menus and sauces are already on the tables. The room at the back was a lovely peaceful environment to relax in with an excellent natural light to take photos of the food. Once you have placed your order and payed, everything including cutlery is bought to the table once it is ready. 8/10

Service - The person taking our order was being shadowed by another member of staff and seemed to be doing really well. Once our order was placed she bought our drinks over and a while later she returned with the food and cutlery. On our way out we were thanked and bid goodbye, certainly a friendly and efficient staff team here. 8/10

Contents - 1 sausage, 2 bacon, 2 fried eggs, 2 hash browns, 1 field mushroom, half a tomato, beans, two slices of toasted ciabatta and butter. 7/10

Presentation - It looked pretty good but the presentation of the vegetarian breakfast was much better and more evenly balanced. I was quite surprised to see how much of the butter had melted to a liquid in the pots, this was though due to how hot the plates were which in itself isn't such a bad thing. 7/10

The food - Nicely cooked good quality sausage and bacon and a near perfect pair of eggs were the highlight. The hash browns were delicious with a crispy edge and the mushroom was cooked beautifully and tasted excellent. The tomato looked really nice but I couldn't taste anything from it, neither could my wife. The beans were piping hot but way too much juice in that pot for my liking. The ciabatta was quite disappointing with a dry and fairly stale centre, thankfully the excess bean juice absorbed into it very easily. For the best part an enjoyable breakfast but let down in a few places. 7/10

Value for money - Many people say that beans are too modern for a Full English breakfast and hash browns don't belong on one. I disagree with this but can only imagine this is why they are sold as extras on this breakfast. With them added as extras you are paying over £10 for a breakfast that comes with just one sausage. I enjoyed it but felt it was overpriced for what it was, especially once a coffee was added bringing the total price to £12.50. 4/10

Veggie option - 2 sausages, 2 eggs (scrambled or fried), 2 field mushrooms, tomatoes, ciabatta toast and butter for £6.95. Add baked beans for £1 and hash browns for £1.25.

Overall - I've eaten so many decent breakfasts in Norwich with quality ingredients and double items including a coffee for under £10 now. For this reason I find this breakfast to be a bit overpriced for what it is. It's a lovely environment, the service is great and I enjoyed most of the breakfast but I can't see any point in paying more than you need to for a great breakfast, especially when so many others are doing the same or better for less money. 7/10