Wednesday 20 April 2016

UEA Sportspark Cafe - Norwich

University of East Anglia

Breakfast served all day, every day from 8am

The Sportspark is easy to spot within the UEA complex, just look for this sign.

I was here to watch some roller derby, first of all though time for some breakfast.

It was really busy when I arrived and all the tables were taken, I joined the queue and hoped for the best. 

A climbing wall is located beside the cafe, because of this it can get quite noisy.

The website says breakfast is served between 8am and 11am, the menu tells a different story though.

I went searching for sauces and cutlery.

I returned to my table feeling slightly depressed.

I sat with my number 8 waiting for my food to arrive.

I think number 45 was somehow linked to my tea. I don't recall having 6 sugars in it, my head was spinning from the noise and confusion though so I'm not ruling out the possibility. 

The breakfast arrived on a long plate that was placed vertically in front of me, I wasn't appreciating the presentation at all.

On the plus side some real cutlery had arrived wrapped in a serviette, the serviette came in very useful later when I opened the butter packets.

I rotated the plate around horizontally and attempted to restore some sanity to the table.

The eggs were looking good, I popped them onto some toast.

These great eggs were most definitely the highlightof the breakfast.

There was a lot going on in the centre of the plate, butter packets lay across the toast.

The butter had started to turn to liquid, this is where that serviette came in handy.

A nice firm locally sourced sausage.

A few weeks ago somebody on twitter showed me a photo of their breakfast they'd eaten at UEA Sportspark Cafe in Norwich. It looked impressive and made me keen to try it for myself next time I was at the UEA. This moment came sooner than I was expecting, there was a roller derby event at the Sportspark I was attending with my wife, the perfect opportunity to try this breakfast. This is the photo of the breakfast I was shown on Twitter, it looks really impressive, nicely presented and much better than the breakfast I was served on my visit.

Upon entering - The Sportspark cafe is located beside of the climbing wall area so it can get very noisy. There's a large menu either end of the counter, place your order at the counter and pay. You'll be handed a drinks number and a food order number. Be aware that you could well start queueing up only to find that by the time you've paid all the tables are taken, bringing a friend along will make life easier here. The tables have nothing on them but there is an area where you can find plastic cutlery, vinegar, salt, pepper, milk and sugar. I searched high and low for sauces but gave up in the end, thankfully the plastic cutlery wasn't needed though as proper cutlery arrived with the food. So in a nutshell I struggled to find things, risked losing my table every time I went to look for anything and found the entire experience quite frustrating and stressful. I later discovered that sauces are available behind the counter if you ask the staff for them, just making them readily available seems like a much better plan to me! 3/10

Service - The cafe was at full capacity when I arrived and the staff were certainly doing their best to get everyone served, orders were coming out of the kitchen at a steady rate. I placed my order and was given a pair of numbers relating to my food and drink order, by the time I'd sat down I'd forgotten which one they were linked too so listened out for either to be called. My hot drink was ready first, I went over to the counter to collect it and went in search of some milk and sugar. Before long I spotted my breakfast being brought over on a very long plate, it was placed in front of me and the chap dashed off with an order for another table before I had time to ask about sauces. 5/10

Contents - 2 sausages, 2 bacon, 2 eggs, mushrooms, beans, tomatoes and 2 slices of toast & butter. 7/10

Presentation - I didn't like the plate at all, it looked ideal to serve a plate of sandwiches on at a buffet but for a breakfast it was way too long and slim. The choice of plate resulted in a the items being placed very awkwardly and it was quite difficult to eat off. The eggs looked great but the butter packets placed on top of the toast resulted in a rapid and messy butter meltdown. 3/10

The food - The pair of sausages were locally sourced and grilled, they tasted great and had a good texture. The unsmoked bacon was nicely cooked, I popped it between some toast wishing I had some ketchup to coat it with. The mushrooms and tomatoes were fairly average and the beans had reduced quite nicely which is always a bonus. The highlight for me was without a doubt the stunning pair of fried eggs, cooked exactly as I like them with no uncooked egg white to be seen anywhere but nice runny yolks. I enjoyed them on top of the toast with the well melted butter. 7/10

Value for money - £6.25 seemed like a reasonable price for this breakfast, it includes locally sourced sausages and the eggs were really impressive. 7/10

Veggie option - No veggie full English but other options are available on the menu.

Overall - Compared to the smooth flowing systems found at other cafe's I found here it was confusing and frustrating. I struggled to find things and it was far too noisy to enjoy my food in peace. The breakfast here was nice but the presentation on that oblong plate was quite strange, certainly the oddest looking breakfast I've been served in a long time. Perhaps at a less busy time I may have enjoyed the Sportspark Cafe, but even without the crowds a sensible plate and easily accesible sauces are a must for any breakfast experience. 5.5/10


1 comment:

  1. Well done for sticking with it bro, I'm afraid I would have bailed out. Now who, in their right mind, came up with the plan to use those plates...never seen anything like it! I actually would have paid for your brekko if you'd tried to eat it length ways on!!!