Tuesday 27 October 2015

Q's Coffee Shop & Bistro

2 Quaker Lane
NR21 9BQ

Q's is nice and central in Fakenham, I parked for free at the nearby community centre.

I arrived shortly after they opened so the place was still empty.

Local artists work is displayed on the walls and available to buy.

I was delighted to see fried bread on the list and it was nice to see locally sourced ingredients on the menu.

The coffee here sounded quite promising.

The cappuccino wasn't great though.

The butter, cutlery and ketchup arrived at the table first.

The breakfast comes with one slice of toast cut from a quality loaf.

First impressions were good and I love an egg served on top of the fried bread.

Nice mushroom, average hash brown and a slightly disappointing sausage.

Overcooked bacon.

Tasteless tomatoes.

The fried bread was excellent and the egg looked great.

Yolk seeping into fried bread is a wonderful sight!

I can't recall visiting Fakenham before so was delighted when my wife announced that she'd be selling at the local makers market, the perfect excuse for my first Fakenham inspection! I did some research on the Fakenham breakfast situation but felt I'd hit a brick wall with many people telling me that finding a decent breakfast there could be tricky. In the end I narrowed my options down to four places in the town centre, Q's Coffee Bar and Bistro was the nearest so as soon as they opened I headed through the door...

Upon entering - The interior is very traditional with nicely spread out tables and local artists work is displayed on the walls. With no other customers and no background music it was incredibly quiet, I could hear every foot step as the staff moved around inside. This was perfect for taking photos but it did feel a bit like I was sitting in a waiting room. I couldn't see any mention of a cooked breakfast on the menu so ended up asking, I was given a separate breakfast menu from the counter. I placed my order at the counter and chose a table in a nice secluded area in a corner, perfect for taking more photos. The tables already had menus (but not the breakfast menu) and salt & pepper on them. Before the food arrived I was offered sauces and my coffee arrived with sugar sachets, cutlery and a serviette. On my way out I settled my bill at the counter, some more customers had arrived by this point
and hearing other voices in the background was a welcome from the deadly silence. 6/10

Service - The lady serving me was nice and friendly, she explained that there might be a slight delay as the chef had encountered a puncture on his way to work. I had plenty of time so was happy to wait but to be honest everything took the same amount of time as usual in a breakfast scenario. Once my order was placed and my drink had arrived I was asked if I wanted any sauces, sorting out sauces before the food arrives is definitely a good idea and ensures you can eat without further delay. I paid on my way out at the end and left feeling I had been made to feel welcome here. 8/10

Contents - 1 sausage, 2 bacon, 1 hash brown, 1 fried egg, half slice of fried bread, 1 large mushroom, beans, tomatoes and 1 slice of toast served with real butter. 7/10

Presentation - I was delighted when I saw the breakfast being placed in front of me and then I saw the over cooked bacon. The fried bread and egg perched on top looked great though. I think this was the first time since starting the blog that toast had arrived in a basket, maybe a Fakenham thing? 7/10

The food - I was looking forward to trying the Papworth sausage but suspect I didn't experience it at it's best, sadly it had a strange chewy texture, I suspect it had been overcooked. The bacon was incredibly tough, I popped it between the nice buttered toast and struggled my way through occasionally dipping it in the bean juice, tough bacon certainly wasn't for me though. The hash brown and beans were fairly standard, the tomato fairly tasteless and the mushroom incredibly delicious. The highlight of this breakfast was found on the east side of the plate though, an excellent and crispy slice of golden fried bread topped with an almost perfect fried egg with nice runny yolk. 5/10

Value for money - Q's full English breakfast cost £6.25, had it been cooked nicely throughout it would certainly be a decent price. Sadly the overcooked meats left me wishing I had gone elsewhere for breakfast. 4/10

Veggie option - No

Overall - A pleasant enough place with good service but sadly the breakfast left me feeling a bit disappointed. The sausage was clearly good quality but overcooking it was a real shame and the same can be said for the bacon. The fried bread and fried egg were both excellent though but this wasn't enough to make me consider returning here for breakfast again. The search for a decent breakfast in Fakenham continues... 6/10

Saturday 10 October 2015

The Muddy Cup - Norwich

12 Distillery Square

Open daily from 9am till 4pm
 Breakfast served all day

I'd already awarded The Muddy Cup a recommended sticker in 2014 but a change in ownership meant another visit was needed.

Inside looked much the same, I didn't get a photo but the teapot and teacup lampshades hanging overhead were a really nice touch.

Place your order at the counter, the food is prepared in the kitchen behind.

I was loving the new logo!

I usually review the full English but couldn't resist trying the Irish breakfast instead. Toast isn't mentioned on the menu but it comes with the breakfasts and you can choose fried bread if you prefer.

When the coffee comes from Wilkinsons you know you're in for a treat.

 This was how I felt about this excellent large cappuccino, a bargain at £2.50.

Quality branded sauces arrived just before the food.

A birds eye view of the large Irish breakfast.

 Here it is from a different angle, I liked what I saw and couldn't wait to try it.

The chef here cooks great fried eggs and impressed me with perfect fried bread.

Excellent Guinness sausages from nearby P.B George and delicious potato farl.

Plenty of mushrooms and beans, very tasty tomatoes.

A birds eye view of the vegetarian breakfast.

My wife thoroughly enjoyed it!

A planned inspection at The Reading Rooms off Dereham Road fell through as I realised it had recently closed down, a back up plan was needed. Suddenly I remembered hearing about The Muddy Cup being taken over by new owners, this seemed like the perfect plan! I'd visited the Muddy Cup and declared their breakfast recommended (read that review here) in May 2014, it was time to return though to see what the new owners were serving from their breakfast menu...

Upon entering - The first thing I noticed was the fancy new signage, it looked great and once inside I also spotted a large "Muddy Cup" logo on the wall too. Last time I was here we sat outside where there are a good number of tables, today though we sat inside instead. Everything else looked pretty much the same as before, some quirky teacup and teapot lampshades had been added though giving it a nice unique touch. There are menus on the counter and cutlery, salt, pepper and sugar lumps already on each table. The same ordering process remained where you place your order and pay at the counter, the food is brought over ready when it's ready and prior to this the sauces arrive. 8/10

Service - We were were well looked after and made to feel welcome as soon as we arrived. We were given options over white or brown toast and my wife requested some more hot water to top up her tea, this wasn't a problem at all. My cappuccino arrived with a nice smiley face on top and we were asked if everything was ok. I briefly chatted to the chef that had created the stunning breakfast before leaving and told the staff that I promised to share the photos I'd taken with my friends! :-) 9/10

Contents - 2 Guinness sausages, 2 bacon, 2 fried eggs, 2 potato farl, 2 slices of fried bread, mushrooms, beans and tomatoes. 9/10

Presentation - The items had been beautifully presented on the plate filling it nicely. Beans in a pot ensured pouring them over the fried bread would be an easy task. The huge P.B George sausages sat proudly on one side of the plate, beside them an almost perfect pair of eggs sat beneath the kind of fried bread I always hope to find, golden and crispy. Everything on the plate looked superb! 9/10

The food - Being partial to an occasional pint of Guinness made me quite excited about trying P.B George's Guinness sausages. They certainly didn't disappoint, incredibly big with a firm meaty texture and subtle Guinness flavour, delicious! I think the bacon also came from P.B George, nice thick and tasty rashers. I took a bite of the potato farl and enjoyed it so much I ended up eating it on it's own, it didn't last long! An nice pair of fried eggs with runny yolks went perfectly on top of the golden crisp fried bread, no excess oil to be found inside and a nice crunch with every bite. The tomato was packed full of flavour and a generous amount of mushrooms and beans came with this very enjoyable breakfast. 9/10

Value for money - The large Irish breakfast cost £7.95, certainly a very reasonable price for a breakfast cooked so nicely with a quality line up of meats from the butchers next door. If you don't have such a big appetite you can pay £2 less for the standard sized breakfast. 9/10

Veggie option - 2 Quorn sausages, 1 hash brown, 1 fried egg, mushrooms, beans, tomatoes and a slice of toast for £5.25 (Go large for an extra £1.29)

Overall - I was once again really impressed with The Muddy Cup, a breakfast that's well worth heading to Distillery Square for. I always think a decent sausage at the heart of a breakfast is essential and here it really pays off. If you love proper crispy fried bread you will love this place too, often it's not quite right but the chef here serves it perfectly cooked. The cafe looks great and the staff are really friendly, no change in the scores since my last visit and definitely recommended! 9/10

Tuesday 6 October 2015

Janey's Village Cafe - Hethersett

32A Mill Road

Breakfast served all day

Opening hours
Monday to Saturday - 8am till 8pm
Sunday - 10am till 4pm


Last time I was here I took the exterior shot through my windscreen, another day, same shot but different Cafe! China Tang Tea House had closed it's doors for the last time and Janey's Village Cafe had opened instead.

Inside everything looked pretty much the same.

Table cloths gave it a more homely feel.

Fresh flowers on each table was a nice touch.

The breakfast menu is served all day and caters for vegetarians and even those who prefer a continental breakfast. 

I got 4 mugs of filtered coffee out of this cafetiere, it cost just £1.35, amazing value for money!

A basket arrived with the breakfast containing quality sauces and some chilli and garlic seasoning. My wife was unable to join me for breakfast today but she loves anything chilli based and would have been impressed I'm sure.

I was really impressed when the food arrived, nicely cooked and great presentation, the toast was in need of a side plate though.

A pair of crispy hash browns laid on a bed of bacon.

The fried potato slices were an unexpected bonus not mentioned on the menu.

You can choose between fresh or plum tomatoes, I meant to order plum but forgot. Thankfully the fresh ones tasted amazing so I was very happy.

For just 75p you can add black pudding, definitely worth doing.

Beans touching eggs can cause problems with many, as can garnished eggs. Not for me though, I always eat the eggs and beans together over the toast. The garnish over the eggs I felt added to the presentation and worked well on this vibrant and colourful breakfast.

The plump and juicy sausages were slightly herby with a fairly bouncy texture.

I'd heard through the grapevine sometime ago that China Tang Tea House had closed and Janey's Village Cafe had opened in its place in Hethersett. I didn't think I would make it out there as soon as I did but when Emily Rose Draper posted a photo on my facebook page of her breakfast she'd eaten there I liked what I saw. I discovered they were serving all day breakfasts so headed there after work on a Friday afternoon...

Upon entering - Visually not much had changed inside but table cloths and fresh flowers on each table gave it a much more homely feel. One noticeable difference was how busy it was though, as customers finished their meals and left, more kept arriving. Good sized tables line each side of the cafe with a picnic table outside should you prefer. Menus are nicely presented on a stand beside fresh flowers, salt, pepper, vinegar and sugar. Once inside take a seat and decide what you want from the menu, your order is taken at the table, cutlery and sauces arrive with the food and you simply pay on your way out at the till. It was a lovely little place to enjoy a spot of breakfast, very relaxing and very welcoming, I could see why it was so popular! 8/10

Service - The lady serving me (Janey maybe?) was incredibly friendly, welcoming and an excellent host. I was greeted with a smile and my order was taken, a large cafetiere of filter coffee arrived first, I was only expecting a mug of coffee so was pleasantly surprised! A bit later the breakfast arrived with some cutlery and a selection of sauces, I was asked if I needed anything else and during the meal asked if everything was alright. I settled the bill at the end and got chatting to a couple of customers on the way out, everyone seemed really friendly here! As service goes, here it was friendly, sincere and flawless! 10/10

Contents - 2 sausages, 2 bacon, 2 slices of black pudding, 2 fried eggs, 2 hash browns, fried potato slices, tomatoes, beans, mushrooms, 2 slices of toast and butter. 9/10

Presentation - The vast selection of nicely cooked items filled the plate beautifully offering an impressive and colourful breakfast display. The toast was perched on the edge of the plate, I felt it would have been better served on a side plate though as I had little space to butter it. The sprinkling of greenery (parsley maybe?) over the eggs seemed to finish it off nicely. 8/10

The food - The sausages were a herby variety, quite plump and juicy, certainly a reasonable enough breakfast sausage. The bacon was nicely cooked and went well between some of the evenly toasted white bread spread with real butter. The other slices of toast ended up underneath the generous serving of beans and superb fried eggs, both had nice runny yolks and not a trace of uncooked egg white. The black pudding, mushrooms and hash browns were all nicely cooked and tasted great, the fried potato slices were a delicious unexpected bonus not listed on the menu. When I realised I'd ordered fresh tomatoes instead of plum ones I kicked myself, it turned out the fresh ones tasted amazing though so a good decision in the end. 8/10

Value for money - Janey's big breakfast cost £5.95, by adding black pudding at 75p and an entire cafetiere of filtered coffee for just £1.35 my total bill came to £8.05. That's an incredibly reasonable price for such a varied and tasty breakfast and 4 mugs of coffee. 9/10

Vegetarian option - 2 veggie sausages, 2 eggs, hash browns, fresh or plum tomatoes, beans, mushrooms, toast or bread and butter. £4.95. m

Overall - Even if you're not planning on passing through Hethersett any time soon you may well want to make a detour to Janey's Village Cafe. The food is great and the prices are incredibly reasonable, what impressed me most though was the excellent service and friendly welcome. It was nice to see how well they're doing, it's clearly a popular breakfast destination and it's easy to see why. 8.5/10