Friday 31 July 2015

Jamie & Jacqui's farewell breakfast at House Cafe

On my search for the perfect breakfast experience I first visited House Cafe in March 2012. I didn't realise at the time but Jacqui and Jamie had only just taken it over a few days before I visited. I was instantly impressed with House Cafe on my first visit and it soon became my favourite breakfast in Norwich. Many times I've planned on visiting a new cafe to feature on the blog but been tempted back to House for a Full House Breakfast instead. My wife and I love the relaxing environment and chatting with the friendly staff team. The food is always served piping hot and cooked to perfection by Jamie, his homemade ciabatta is the best in the world! Just over 3 years since taking House Cafe over Jacqui and Jamie are moving on to other things and have sold the business. It's been a real pleasure everytime I've visited House Cafe over the years (read my review here) and I wish them the best of luck in the future. The good news is that the new owners plan to keep everything the same, phew!!

To mark their final week at House a special farewell breakfast was created. This sounded very special indeed, I couldn't wait to try it!

On this occasion my drink of choice was an English breakfast tea, served in a pot with a tea strainer, lovely!

My wife chose the veggie breakfast which also featured haloumi and bubble & squeak, she thoroughly enjoyed it.

 When the farewell breakfast arrived it looked amazing and was so big too! The beans arrived in a separate pot as their was no space on the plate. I quickly took some photos as I was eager to sample this masterpiece!

I've always said the ciabatta here served with real butter is to die for. Today though homemade toasted brioche also joined the party, It was equally as stunning and almost melted in the mouth.

When everything arrived I took a shot of everything together, what a beautiful sight.

A beautifully textured corned beef hash sat proudly beside an impressive bubble and squeak. Both were perfect and tasted out of this world.

Peering out from beneath the egg was homemade white pudding.

The white pudding was the best I've ever eaten with a perfect texture and flavour that your taste buds will thank you for. 

This shot features the full house regular items and is a perfect reminder of why I love this breakfast so much.

I do love fried bread and seeing it appear on the farewell breakfast was a lovely treat. The eggs as always were spot on with runny yolks, perfect to dip the fried bread into.

Without a doubt the best breakfast I've ever had the pleasure of eating! Good luck for the future Jamie and Jacqui, it's been a real pleasure everytime we've visited House Cafe during your time there. I'm sure so many others feel the same way too, thanks so much!!

Tuesday 21 July 2015

Mr D's Diner - Attleborough

A11 Southbound
NR17 2PU

Breakfast served everyday 
8am till 11am Mon - Sat
8am till 12pm Sundays

All day brunch served till 5pm 



Exterior shots are usually a piece of cake, Mr D's was no easy task though taken at 70mph whilst travelling in the opposite direction! My apologies for the screen reflection.

You should see Uncle Sam pointing at you as you approach it Southbound on the A11.

From the outside it looks quite plain.

The jukebox entrance takes you into somewhere very special though.

This 1950's American diner interior is just stunning! 

The upholstery is beautifully finished in turquoise and pink.

There's a jukebox in the corner and impressive lighting overhead.

I was too full up for desert but the menu sounded delicious.

A good mix of breakfasts are available, look at the full menu here.

The tables are set with cutlery, sauces and napkins so once the food has arrived you can tuck right in.

All breakfasts come with tea or coffee, refills are available too.

The Fat Boy breakfast was a decent enough size and tasted great.

It included 2 slices of toast and butter.

Nicely cooked meats and the straight edged eggs fitted nicely onto the toast. 

Very nice meaty sausages with firm texture.

Great yolks on both eggs.

 Crispy hash browns but the beans were not quite hot enough and in quite a lot of juice.

A tasty tomato and large juicy mushroom.

My wife chose the veg little buddy breakfast, her only regret was not choosing the veg fat boy instead. She enjoyed it and would have happily eaten more!

Having passed Mr D's Diner on the A11 numerous times an early morning trip out to Banham gave us an excuse to finally stop here for breakfast. It wasn't open on the way to Banham but by the time we passed it on the way home it was, we pulled up outside and headed towards the door...

Upon entering - The fairly bland exterior people see as they pass Mr D's Diner on the A11 initially leads you to believe you're at just another roadside eatery. As you head towards the jukebox entrance though that feeling starts to change, once you're through the door though you can't fail to be impressed! The interior of this 1950's American themed diner is stunning and beautifully finished. Choose from booths upholstered in pink or turquoise or standard tables and chairs, the tables have aluminium edging and everything ties together perfectly with the dark wooden flooring. There's a jukebox in the corner and a lovely blue glow shines between the ceiling panels above. The tables are already laid with cutlery and have a sauce cluster in the middle, once you're seated you are given a menu and there's full table service. Either wait for the bill at the end or pay at the counter on the way out. This place is a feast for the eyes and the layout is superb, I loved it! 9/10

Service - We were well looked after here by the young chap serving us, he was doing a great job and it was certainly efficient service with a smile. When we first entered we were told we could sit anywhere we liked, once seated a menu was brought over and drinks were offered. Once the drinks arrived our food order was taken, the food arrived in a reasonable amount of time and additional sauces were offered. This place feels laid back with the 1950's soundtrack in the background and the friendly staff make it place you will want to return to. 9/10

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

Presentation Everything looked nicely cooked and well placed on the large oval plate, toast arrived on a separate side plate with butter sachets. The eggs had been fried together in the pan and cut to separate, this left them with distinct straight lines. Not something I see very often but it meant they fit superbly on top of the toast. 7/10

The food - Delicious sausages with a solid meaty texture and nicely griddled bacon. A good pair of fried eggs with intact but runny yolks and nice crispy hash browns. The mushroom was juicy and delicious and the tomato quite flavoursome. The beans were served in quite a lot of juice but were not quite hot enough and the toast was standard white sliced served with real butter. Certainly an enjoyable breakfast that filled me up nicely and the filter coffee was good too. 7/10

Value for money - The Fat Boy breakfast cost £8.49 and included toast and coffee refills. Certainly a bargain considering how nice it all was and cheaper than any other roadside services I've ever encountered. 8/10

Veggie option - Veg fat boy for £8.49 or Veg little buddy for £5.69. Both include toast and tea or coffee refills.

Overall - On my travels I've encountered quite a few 1950's style American diners, often they look the part but the food leaves you unimpressed. This place ticks all the boxes though, a beautiful interior, great service and good food at a fair price. It's not in the most convenient location but because it's so great it certainly warrants a special trip out to visit it, I know I'll be back again for sure, I loved it! 8/10

Monday 20 July 2015

2015 Spanish Food Adventure

Day 1 - Click here 

Day 2 - Click here 

Day 3 - Click here 

Day 4 - Click here 

Day 5 - Click here 

Day 6 - Click here

Days 7 & 8 - Click here

Sunday 19 July 2015

2015 Spanish Food Adventure - Day 7 & 8

Day 7 - A day in Valencia

We got up early today as we had lots to look at, on our way to the Oceanografic centre I was distracted by this ferris wheel. Sadly it was closed, my wife was delighted though!

After a flood in 1957 that damaged much of the city, the Río Turia (River Turia) was diverted, now passing around the southern and western suburbs of the city. The former river bed wrapping around the northern and eastern rim of historical Valencia, now boasts what is easily the largest urban park in Valencia, the Jardín del Turia. Stretching for an impressive 10 kilometres. We walked through this towards the Oceanografic centre.

In need of some breakfast we stopped at this cafe, popular with workers.

My best discovery on this trip to Spain was manchego cheese, delicious between some bread with tomatoes. This with a coffee cost just €4.

We spotted quite a few orange trees.

I loved the shape of this building but better was yet to come.

Valencia Opera House takes your breath away!

The science museum is really impressive too.

This partially shaded walkway was a welcome relief from the sun beating down.

This is what we'd come to visit, Europe's largest aquarium the Oceanografic.

We visited the dolphin show first but a slow build up and a slightly tacky presentation left us feeling quite underwhelmed.

Walking through the large tunnels surrounded by sharks soon made us glad we had visited though.

The tropical birds were incredible colours.

The turtles lay in a line on the rocks enjoying the sunshine.

This chap didn't look particularly friendly.

We explored the different sections and came across these jelly fish, really mesmerizing to watch.

There were a number of different tunnels to walk through, all offering stunning views of the different aquariums.

Oceanografic is well worth a visit, the entrance fee was €27.

When we walked back towards the old town the heat was almost unbearable, thankfully a Calippo helped to cool us down.

Some areas of Valencia feel like you're in the future.

We were heading to Mercado Central but misread the map and ended up here, it had a similar name and was an amazing building.

We continued walking in the right direction for Mercado Central. Many of the pavements in Valencia have marble paving slabs, very shiny and slippery if you wear flip flops!

Finally we found Mercado central, a huge food market.

A few places were still open but most had closed for the day, perhaps we should have headed here first.

It wasn't a wasted trip though as the building was incredible!

We had passed this restaurant last night and liked the look of it, we decided to stop for some lunch. Inside was air conditioned which was much needed after being outside in the heat for so long.

Soggy fish rice didn't sound too appealing!

We shared a Valencian salad as a starter.

The homemade samosa here were delicious. I ordered duck samosa with leeks, pears, plum and orange marmalade. My wife ordered goats cheese samosa with caramelised onion and tomato jam.

For dessert we ordered this amazing fruit coulis with ice cream.

We couldn't resist trying the homemade cheesecake too, delicious!

This 1950's style diner looked great, it was closed though so all we could do was peer through the window and admire the stunning interior.

The Quart Towers were a part of this old Christian city wall build in the 14th century but the towers are from the 15th century. We headed through the archway towards the botanical gardens.

The botanical gardens cost just €2.50 to visit, we had heard many cats lived here.

It was a peaceful and relaxing place to explore.

There's a large allotment area, had these tomatoes been ripe I may well have picked one, I love Spanish tomatoes!

The botanical gardens also boasts an impressive collection of different cactus.

As we made our way through the gardens we spotted around 15 cats.

Nearly all of them were really friendly and happy to be stroked.

Long after leaving the botanical gardens we kept spotting cats everywhere.

We were feeling exhausted so stopped for a nice cold beer.

This ice cream looked amazing, we had to get one.

I chose violet flavour, it tasted great but melted so quickly in the heat.

We had returned to the hotel utterly exhausted but couldn't resist one final look around the old town.

We stopped here for some food, the prices seemed insanely cheap!

My bacon, sausage and cheese baguette cost just €3.

Definitely worth the money and great if you're looking to eat on a budget. Meeting point had a number of restaurants scattered across Valencia.

Day 8 - The journey home

Valencia airport is really easy to get to, regular trains go there direct from the city centre. 

The food options at the airport are not great though. This toasted bun served with a hot drink and orange juice was really bland.

My wife decided to liven things up with a farton and Horchata, a drink made from tigernuts, water and sugar.

I ordered a chicken salad baguette, fairly nice.

From the air we spotted the Oceanografic centre down below.

I was amazed by the colour of these lakes!

There was no way I was going to order Ryanair's cooked breakfast. Far better to play it safe with a cappuccino and some chips ahoy.

Rest assured Ryanair, your cappuccino really isn't that good!