Friday 17 April 2015

The Woolpack - Ipswich

1 Tuddenham Road

Breakfast served daily
9.30am till 11.45am


Ipswich's oldest pub The Woolpack is about a 10 minute walk from the town centre on Tuddenham Road, it dates back to the 1600's.

It's a lovely traditional pub with plenty of tables to choose.

These old bottles took me back to when my dad used to collect them back in the 70's, I used to love looking through his collection.

The quality sauces set the scene for the breakfast that was about to arrive.

The cutlery arrived in a traditional tankard accompanied by a serviette.

A great cappuccino cost £2.20

The breakfast menu was on the bar, I couldn't manage to get a sneaky pic discreetly on my iphone so here's a screen shot instead.

The full English at The Woolpack is all about quality and a real pleasure to eat.

The meats are locally sourced from Artisan Butcher, all stunning!

The egg sits on top of the toast, I'm still kicking myself for not studying the menu in more detail and ordering the dripping toast.

The saute potatoes were so nice.

The stunning sausage and the wonderful moment the yolk seeps out.

I hadn't had much luck in the past trying to find a decent breakfast in Ipswich, the ones I had tried so far had been ok but I was looking for something much better. Thankfully I was given some help with a tip off that The Woolpack in Ipswich was where a decent breakfast was to be found. I stored it in the back of my mind for my next visit which happened whilst I was helping my wife at a makers market in the Corn Exchange. With her stall all set up I headed North of the town towards Tuddenham Road in search of The Woolpack..

Upon entering -  The Woolpack is a stunning looking building which dates back to the 1600's, outside it has a large seating area at the front, this looked perfect with the warmer weather fast approaching. As I stepped inside I was impressed with the traditional interior and welcoming feel of the pub. There are a choice of areas to sit in, I chose the large room towards the rear which felt spacious and had good enough light to take photos. Each table has sauces, salt and pepper already on it so once the food arrives you can get stuck in with everything already there in front of you. Place your order at the bar, tell them your table number and pay, hot drinks arrive next followed by cutlery and finally the food. Everything here felt well thought out, a simply ordering process and everything you need is there or brought over to you, it all flowed very nicely and the environment itself was really nice. 9/10

Service - The lady taking my order was really friendly, I ordered the full English breakfast with a cappuccino and paid at the bar. She asked me where I would be sitting and before long the cappuccino arrived at the table with a jar of brown sugar followed by a tankard of cutlery with a serviette. I was surprised at how quickly the breakfast arrived, I had barely sipped the froth from my cappuccino, not a problem though as I was really hungry. Whilst eating somebody came over to check everything was ok and asked if I needed anything else, on the way out I was thanked and bid goodbye. Very professional, friendly and efficient service was to be found here, always a bonus! 9/10

Contents - 1 sausage, 2 bacon, black pudding, 1 fried egg, mushrooms, saute potatoes, half a tomato, beans and buttered toast. 8/10

Presentation - Everything looked delicious when it arrived and the quality of the ingredients shone through. The placement of the toast seemed an unusual choice underneath the egg and beside the beans but for me not a problem as I always combine the three.The egg yolk left me wondering about it's consistency but once cut into I was delighted to see runny yolk flow freely. 7/10

The food - The sausage, bacon and black pudding used on this breakfast were all really delicious and very good quality, their choice of supplier was an excellent decision! The saute potatoes were amazing, the tomato tasted great and the mushrooms were spot on. The fried egg had a yolk that although slightly solid in places was nice and runny too, it went nicely on top of the white toasted bread with the beans. Certainly one of those breakfasts that is highly enjoyable from beginning to end, such a pleasure to eat! 9/10

Value for money - Despite how delicious and enjoyable it was I felt that £9 was a tad expensive, still money spent wisely though. 6/10

Veggie option - Tomatoes, fried eggs, mushrooms, saute potatoes, avocado, beans and toast for £8   

Overall - If you're looking for a decent breakfast in Ipswich then a visit to The Woolpack is most definitely needed. The stunning environment, great service and delicious ingredients used ensure you won't be disappointed. It's quite expensive and contains mainly single items but it still filled me up nicely and was such a joy to eat. Good quality meats are essential in creating a good breakfast and they can certainly be found here making this one very special indeed. 8/10

Tuesday 14 April 2015

Cafe Torero - Norwich

(Now closed)

128 Dereham Road

All day breakfast available

Cafe Torero can be found on Dereham Road, on the corner of Belvoir Street.

Remember to collect your cutlery and sauces from the table beside the counter or you will be returning for it once the food has arrived.

There are sofa's if you want to get really comfy with your coffee.

We chose a table by the window.

A small range of deli items are available to buy at the counter.

An all day breakfast was what lured me inside.

The cappuccino here was nice, I almost forgot to take a photo but remembered after sipping the froth. 

Visually it looked a bit disappointing, perhaps it tasted really nice though?

 The eggs tasted better than they looked but the bacon needed more time in the pan.

Refritos was served lukewarm and in way too much liquid but the potatoes were very nice.

 Quite nice mushrooms.

The vegetarian option was to have tomatoes and mushrooms instead of bacon.

We were walking along Dereham Road on a visit to Pye Bakers when Cafe Torero caught our eye, we were feeling hungry and noticed they served an all day breakfast for just over £5. The next thing we knew we were placing our order, this was the most spontaneous inspection I can remember!

Upon entering - I hadn't been inside this premises since it was a car audio shop quite a few years ago now. The outside seating area was tempting but it was a bit breezy so we headed inside, it seemed nice enough with a number of tables and a couple of sofas to sit at. There's a counter where you place your order and pay, some deli items are available to buy here too. Cutlery and sauce sachets are found on a table by the counter, drinks and food are brought over when they are ready. As a place to eat it seemed ok, probably much nicer in the warmer weather though when you can sit outside on the terrace. 6/10

Service - The lady serving us was reasonably friendly,  my wife asked about a veggie option and was told she could have mushrooms and tomatoes instead of bacon. The food arrived without cutlery and we were told it was by the counter. 5/10
Contents - 2 bacon, 2 fried eggs, potatoes, refritos and mushrooms or tomatoes. 4/10

Presentation - I felt quite depressed when the breakfast arrived and can't say I was very excited about eating it. Undercooked bacon, an odd looking egg yolk and a bowl of liquid were the low point. The mushrooms looked ok and the potatoes looked quite promising. 4/10

The food - The undercooked bacon tasted ok and despite my initial concern over the eggs they tasted quite nice. I was looking forward to refritos but was disappointed to be served a lukewarm bowl of liquid containing a few stray beans, certainly not the consistency or temperature I was hoping for. The mushrooms were quite nice and the highlight was the delicious and golden crispy potatoes. 5/10

Value for money - The breakfast cost £5.50 which initially seems quite cheap, it desperately needed some toast though and before long we were hungry again. You are given the choice of mushrooms or tomatoes, both would have been nice though. 5/10

Veggie option - Not a specific vegetarian breakfast but you could have mushrooms and tomatoes instead of bacon.

Overall - With it being a Spanish cafe I wasn't really concerned about there being no sausage on this breakfast, instead I was really looking forward to refritos but sadly it was the most disappointing part of it. The environment seemed quite nice and the service was at best ok. The breakfast just felt a bit lifeless and depressing though, I can recall making a much better breakfast myself with a terrible hangover in the back of my camper van. 5/10 

Saturday 11 April 2015

The French Food Adventure 2015

 Day 1 - Destination Paris - Click here

 Day 2 - A visit to Montmarte and the Aardman exhibition
Click here

 Day 3 - A look at the Eiffel Tower before heading west to Vernouillet for the Psychobilly Stomp Festival - Click here

Days 4 & 5 - No food for miles, day 2 of the festival and a last look at Paris - Click here 

The French Food Adventure - Days 4 & 5

Days 4 & 5 - No food for miles, day 2 of the festival and a last look at Paris.

Following last nights excessive alcohol consumption at the festival we didn't make it out of the hotel till after 6pm and we were both really hungry. Nowhere near to our hotel was open to buy food so we headed to Vernouillet in the hope of finding somewhere open. It was Easter Sunday and every restaurant was passed was closed here too..

This pizza shop was a god send and our only option so we headed inside.

My wife went for the Vegetarian.

I went for the four seasons, both were great pizzas that we expected to get in a box but the owner kindly served them on a plate for us.

Wristbands on we headed back inside the festival, we wouldn't have much time though as we planned on catching the train back tonight. We couldn't possibly risk waiting around for coaches at the very end like we had the previous night.

We really enjoyed The Coffin Nails from the UK, Charlie Harper from UK Subs joined them for a song too which was an unexpected bonus! 

 We love Long Tall Texans but only managed to catch 2 of their songs before having to make a quick exit to catch our train back to the hotel. If only there had been hotels closer to this festival, We left deciding that because of this we would not return here again. A real shame as the festival was excellent, just too much hassle getting there and back each day.

I loved these double decker trains.

 Back in Villennes we were finally a 30 minute walk away from the hotel.

Having just eaten a pizza each today we scoffed some of these. Really nice chocolate eggs with a soft mousse centre.

Our decision to leave the festival early last night was a wise one. The following morning we felt fresh a daisy and finally the sun was shining too! With a little time before the train arrived we explored Villennes.

The Seine runs through Villennes, it was like a scene from a postcard.

€6 bought 2 espressos and 2 croissants in the cafe by the station.

This was my favourite croissant so far, really buttery inside with a nice flaky edge. So much nicer than those found at the supermarkets back home.

 We boarded the train for our trip back to Paris.

When we were here earlier in the week it was grey skies and rain, everything looked so much nicer in the sunshine. Just a shame we were heading home in under 2 hours really!

We chose a restaurant close to Gare Du Nord station for our final meal. Probably not the cheapest place to stop at, this coffee was €4.

This omelette and salad was really nice and more reasonable at €8.

 As we headed to the departure lounge we spotted this great way to charge your mobile phone, pedal power!

The very last thing we ate was some nougat from the station shop. Our time here was over and although the weather wasn't ideal for the best part it had been great to visit Paris again.

Next food adventure will be in Spain - July 2015

The French Food Adventure - Day 3

 Day 3 - A look at the Eiffel Tower before heading west to Vernouillet for the Psychobilly Stomp Festival.

Montparnasse Tower looked fairly close to our hotel so we headed there before breakfast, the 59 storey skyscraper has a viewing platform on the roof and we were considering going up if the price was right. At €15.50 each we decided not to bother though, €7 max and I may have considered it.

Instead we spent our money on some breakfast, this morning we were keeping it as traditional as we could at a local patisserie.

A friend at work had suggested dipping a croissant into my coffee, I can't bear dipping biscuits into my tea in case crumbs fall in but I survived to tell the tale here.

As we hadn't bought any quiche in Montmarte yesterday we decided to share a slice here. It was heated up for us and tasted excellent, we went for spinach and ricotta.

Having spent under €10 on breakfast we were not about to blow a fortune on seafood, it did look great though.

 Our plan this morning was to visit the Catacombes of Paris, a massive network of caves underneath the city. It sounded amazing but when we saw the queue that went around the block and doubled up on itself we decided to not bother and take a look at the Eiffel Tower instead.

The metro station opposite the Catacombes entrance was another fine example of Art Nouveau.

Close to the Eiffel tower we spotted a pair of rabbits, if you stroke them or take a photo then the owner will demand money. If like we did you don't give him any he will most likely get a bit angry and be quite rude.

I loved this view of the Eiffel Tower.

Having been up it before we decided to not bother this time, there were long queues here too. Instead we started to walk back towards our hotel, it was almost time to leave Paris.

On the walk back we discovered a street of just crepe restaurants, we decided to try one but it was difficult deciding which one to try. One was offering a savoury galette, sweet crepe and jug of cider for just €12.50, it sounded reasonable so we headed inside. The owner was very passionate about what they served there explaining to us that the galette was made from buckwheat and it was traditionally always served with cider. There were a number of fillings to choose from, once we had made our choices the cider arrived and we sat waiting in anticipation for the food to arrive.

I must confess to being gobsmacked when a plate arrived with a hessian place mat on top of it, the owner looked very proud of it though. Ok, so this was the galette but visually it couldn't have looked any less appealing..

It tasted fairly nice though and I did find some chicken and cheese inside.

The crepe was slightly better but didn't really excite me very much.

 There was some chocolate sauce inside but this was certainly the low point of eating out in Paris. We left the restaurant slightly disappointed, collected our suitcases from the hotel and headed to Saint Lazare station.

Our next desination was the Psychobilly Stomp festival in Vernouillet.

 The festival had a great line up of bands but had no hotels nearby so we had to stay in the next town, Villennes Sur Seine. It was a beautiful but sleepy town with barely anyone about, our hotel was 30 minutes walk away from the station here, located between a duel carriageway.

The room at the Ibis hotel was a bargain at just €90 for 2 nights.

 From leaving the hotel it took over an hour to get to the festival, it was inside a large venue with an outside terrace area.

My wife and I generally drink vodka or cider and avoid drinking beer or wine. With a drinks choice of beer, wine, sangria or champagne we were not particularly impressed..

What the hell we thought and proceeded to drink our way through the drinks menu!

Outside we spotted a food stall, perhaps we had better eat something to soak up the alcohol we thought, any excuse!

1 ticket costs €2.50, sandwiches and fries were the options though.

My wife chose fries and I ate an incredible ham baguette with mayo, well worth the money and delicious!

Between eating and drinking we caught some bands, firstly The Gutter Demons from Quebec. The sound here was excellent and the festival had a really nice atmosphere.

Next on were The Griswalds from the UK, a fun and entertaining set. 

My favourite band ever The Meteors finished off the night, they were on top form as always! 

After the last band had finished we headed outside to catch a coach that was dropping people off at their hotels. It was 1.45am and we had just missed one, we waited for what seemed like an eternity for another coach to arrive and finally got dropped off back at our hotel at 4.30am.

The following morning I found this photo taken of the hotel vending machine, I guess we ate some of these!?

Quite possibly some Mikado too? Who knows!

Click here for days 4 & 5
No food for miles, day 2 of the festival and a last look at Paris.