Friday 29 July 2016

Frizzante Cafe @ Hackney City Farm - London

1a Goldsmith Row
E2 8QA

Opening hours
Tuesday to Sunday
10am till 4.30pm*
*Kitchen closes at 3pm during the week and 4pm at weekends

After walking the busy streets of Bethnal Green we finally arrived at Hackney City Farm, home of Frizzante Cafe.

It feels like you've instantly stepped from the city into the countryside, pure bliss!

I remembered to take a photo of this unique garden feature but forgot to take some photos of the actual farmyard. The farmyard is a joy to explore, you can get up close to the pigs, goats, chickens, geese and donkeys.

 As well as serving great breakfasts Frizzante also offer weekly Agriturismo supper nights and barbecues.

 There's a large indoor seating area with plenty of different sized tables to choose from.

 You can relax with a coffee on a sofa if you prefer.

 Place your order and pay at the counter, remember to tell them your table number.

 It was a really hot day so we sat outside where there are plenty more tables to choose from. With the sun beating down the parasols gave us some much needed shade.

The breakfast menu offers something for carnivores and vegetarians, the only eggs on offer seemed to be just scrambled though. 

 Coffee cost £2 and included a double shot, if you prefer tea with your breakfast a cup of PG Tips here costs just £1.

The condiment selection consisted of a strong line-up, I'm not a huge mustard fan but if you like some on your sausage then you'll love this place.

We were certainly impressed when the food arrived!

I ordered the Farmhouse breakfast which cost £9.50.

 The hand made sausage was superb and the homemade baked beans made a really nice change from tinned, they were delicious.

The bacon was nicely cooked and the tomato was packed with flavour.

I usually choose fried over scrambled when it comes to eggs, the free range scrambled eggs here were excellent though so I was happy enough.

The grilled flat mushroom was beautifully cooked and really juicy.

Toasted sourdough, I topped it with the delicious scrambled eggs.

My wife chose the vegetarian breakfast which cost £8.50. I tried some of the sauteed spinach, it was amazing!

Having walked over 23 miles around London the previous day my wife and I decided to walk to our breakfast destination today, you get to see so much more on foot! We didn't have too far to walk today though, we were staying near Brick Lane so made our way towards Hackney in search of Frizzante Cafe at Hackney City Farm. Having visited St Werburghs City Farm in Bristol a few years back we were keen to see what was on offer in Hackney, most of all though we were looking forward to eating breakfast at Frizzante...

Upon entering - The cafe is housed inside a beautiful building beside the farm, it has a vast seating area inside and out the back are plenty more tables to choose from. The sun was beating down so we chose to sit outside underneath a parasol. There's a blackboard as you enter the cafe giving you clear instructions on the ordering process. Once seated choose what you'd like from the menu and place your order inside at the counter, don't forget to tell them your table number. You pay as you order which we really liked as it means you can leave as soon as you're ready without queueing up at the counter again or waiting for a bill to arrive. The food and drink is brought to the table when it's ready and a good selection of quality sauces are available here. The decor throughout was a mix of traditional and modern with plenty of up-cycled objects, everything seemed to blend together really well. The breakfast menu offered locally sourced and homemade items making it feel more exciting than your average cafe menu. Frizzante had a really nice calm feel to it so the perfect place to spend some time away from the hectic city a short distance away beyond the hedge. 9/10

Service - The friendly staff team here are welcoming and friendly ensuring you have everything you need to enjoy your time here. My wife went to order the food as I was still busy taking photos, not long after she returned the hot drinks arrived. A big wooden box of sauces were already on the table, this was a relief as I like to have everything ready for when the food arrives. The food arrived in a decent amount of time with a smile from the lady bringing it over to us. The team here seemed to be really on the ball whilst remaining calm and relaxed, this helped to make Frizzante such a relaxing environment to eat breakfast in. 9/10

Contents - 1 sausage, 2 bacon, scrambled eggs, Flat mushroom, homemade baked beans, tomato and toasted sourdough. 8/10

Presentation - Everything was served neatly in the centre of a large white plate with the sourdough perched on the edge. This breakfast had real impact with its vibrant colours, whole roasted tomato and chunky homemade baked beans. 8/10

The food - The homemade pork and leek sausage was excellent, really juicy with a good firm texture. The bacon was equally as enjoyable, browned all over with a nice crispy rind. Frizzante certainly serve impressive scrambled eggs, made using free range eggs it tasted superb with a good consistency. I often find homemade baked beans either too dry or too rich, they were just right here though, served in a delicious tomato sauce and the large beans had a really good texture. The roasted tomato was deep red and packed full of flavour, I haven't enjoyed a tomato as much as this one in a long time! Finally the sourdough, nicely toasted and delicious topped with the scrambled eggs and some ketchup. A very enjoyable breakfast made using quality ingredients that really stood out. 9/10

Value for money - The farmhouse breakfast cost £9.50 and a coffee cost £2. The breakfast was really filling and with the ingredients used it certainly seemed worth the money. 8/10

Veggie option - Free range scrambled eggs, Grilled flat mushroom, Roasted tomato with oregano, Sauteed spinach, Homemade baked beans and toasted sourdough.

Overall - An amazing place to enjoy a spot of breakfast in Hackney, the environment is really relaxing with a good outside space and the staff are excellent. The different items that make up this breakfast compliment each other really well,  the ingredients are locally sourced and you can really taste the difference. Be sure to take a look around the farm and garden afterwards, it was fascinating to get so close to all the animals and walk amongst the veg growing in the allotment. 8.5/10 

Wednesday 27 July 2016

Beppe's Cafe - London

23 West Smithfield

Opening hours
Monday to Friday - 6.30am till 3pm
Saturday - 7am till 1pm

Beppe's Cafe can be found on West Smithfield, a short walk from Smithfield Market.

Established in 1932, Beppe's Cafe is one of a handful of classic cafes still remaining in London. I really liked the original green tiled exterior and signage, this place has really stood the test of time.

The interior is really impressive with its original wooden counter and classic water urns.

The traditional booth seats are a rare sight these days, I love places like this!

The staff were busy preparing buffet food during our time here but they still made time to ensure we were well looked after.

Fridge magnets from all over the world covered the fridge.

I'm not sure who the people were in the photos but I felt sure there was a strong link to the cafes history.

This classic sugar pourer felt right at home here.

The breakfast menu is made up of 6 very reasonably priced set options, add extra items for £1 if you want to make up you're ideal breakfast. The vegetarian breakfast isn't listed on the menu but is available if you ask.

Glass cups, now these take me back. My wife went for tea and I ordered a coffee, a proper old school frothy coffee! 

I was half expecting to find sauce in squeezy bottles here, they arrived in sachets though.

The breakfasts were a good size and tasted great, our bill for everything was just £13.30!

I chose Beppe's breakfast #1 with a few added extras, black pudding, tomatoes and a hash brown.

The fried egg was placed exactly where I wanted it, on top of an entire slice of golden fried bread.

I was surprised not to find bubble and squeak on the menu here, the hash brown was nice enough though and the black pudding was delicious.

If only all bacon could taste as good as it does here, nice thick rashers from Smithfield Market.

The sausage was a delicious Cumberland variety.

My wife's vegetarian breakfast came with a tasty mix of halloumi, mushrooms and spinach.

My wife was treating me to a weekend in London as a birthday present, an ideal opportunity to visit some more London cafes I thought. I started researching London cafes a week or so before the trip but struggled to find somewhere that really stood out as being special. Restaurant chains and pubs serving breakfast were everywhere but this wasn't what I was looking for, I was searching for another classic London cafe. My search was proving quite unsuccessful until my friend from The Fry Up Police suggested Beppe's Cafe which he'd spotted on Instagram. This place looked perfect so once off the train we headed straight there...

Upon entering - After admiring the exterior of Beppe's Cafe with its original green tiling and stunning "snack bar" sign we headed inside. With the sun beating down I'd usually choose to sit outside on a day like this. Beppe's Cafe has so many original features though that I just had to see everything so we picked a booth inside beside the door. The classic booths with white tables and green seating were comfortable and nicely placed alongside the windows. On the other side of the cafe is the counter and display cabinet, behind here is the kitchen. The original wooden fronted counter sits proudly with chrome pipes from the water urn standing tall on top. A selection of fridge magnets gives a hint of where staff and customers have been on their travels over the years. The black and white photos on the walls remind you just how long this place has been open for. I couldn't be certain who was in the photos but I had a strong sense that they were an important part of the cafes history. (I've since found out they are Serg's Grandparents, the original owners) The breakfast options on the menu give you plenty of choice and the reasonable prices will make you look twice wondering if you've mis-read it. There's full table service so just grab a booth and you'll soon be well looked after, simply pay the bill at the end. The sugar comes in classic pourers, sauce sachets arrive in a box, cutlery is brought over wrapped in a serviette and there's a toilet in the basement should you need it. This place has heaps of character. If something works then don't change it and this place was testament to that. 10/10

Service - We were greeted by a lady behind the counter when we arrived and a menu was brought over to the table. My wife enquired about a vegetarian breakfast and I wanted to mix and match some extra items to a set breakfast, this wasn't a problem at all. There was also a chap behind the counter, the boss I believe called Serg who was busy cooking the food. The drinks arrived very quickly and the food arrived about 15 minutes later, not bad at all considering the staff were also preparing a large quantity of buffet food. The staff here clearly know the cafe like the back of their hand and can cope calmly at the busiest of times whilst remaining friendly and efficient. We overheard some banter between the staff and some other customers, it was clear that the regulars here were more than just customers and the sense of community spirit was strong. It made me realise that to many this place wasn't just a local cafe but also a lifeline and place to make regular contact with others in the community. Halfway through our breakfast the volume of the music was turned up, usually I'd be slightly irritated by this but here it just added to the overall character of the place and made a good soundtrack to finish our food to! 10/10

Contents - 1 sausage, 2 bacon, 2 slices of black pudding, 1 fried egg, 1 slice of fried bread, tomatoes and beans. 7/10

Presentation - A nice large plate is used here giving plenty of space for the food to lay comfortably across it. When it comes to fried bread I always eat the egg on top of it so was delighted to find it served this way when it arrived. The meats were nicely browned, the tomatoes were chopped into chunks and there was a generous dollop of beans. 7/10

The food - A Cumberland sausage accompanied some delicious bacon, both nicely cooked and from the nearby Smithfields Market. Often black pudding can taste a tad bland but here it had a nice rich flavour and deep red appearance inside. The fried egg had crispy edges and an almost runny yolk, on top of the golden fried bread it was a tasty combination. The beans were piping hot, the hash brown was crispy and the chunky tomatoes had plenty of flavour. 7/10

Value for money - We were very pleasantly surprised when we paid the bill, our two breakfasts with drinks came to just £13.30, bargain!! 10/10

Veggie option - Halloumi with mushrooms on a bed of spinach, 1 fried egg, 2 hash browns, tomatoes and beans.

Overall - Beppe's is a family run Italian cafe that is still standing strong since it first opened its doors in 1932. Many restaurant chains have since dominated our high streets but Beppe's Cafe along with Regency Cafe and E. Pellicci are untouchable, classic London Cafe's loved by the locals and steeped in history. If you want to enjoy a good honest down to earth fry up at a classic London Cafe then be sure to head to Beppe's, the service is excellent and it has heaps of character. 8.5/10

Monday 18 July 2016

The River Kitchen - Wroxham

Riverside Road
NR12 8UD

Breakfast served
Monday to Saturday - 9am till 1am
Sunday - 9.30 till 11am

The River Kitchen can be found behind the small shopping precinct in Wroxham. We parked for free in Roys car park across the road but there's also parking available (pay and display) right outside the cafe.

Inside looked lovely but as the sun was shining we decided to eat outside today.

The outside decking area has plenty of tables and a few parasols if you prefer to sit in the shade.

With views like this sitting outside is hard to resist!

I spotted this on the way out after eating so be remember to collect stuff as you arrive.

 The menu offers a good selection of breakfasts including a proper vegetarian option.

I forget how much the coffee cost but it tasted great and I loved the tiny milk churn that the milk came in, very cute!

The ketchup arrived in a small jar, it seemed to contain just the right amount inside.

The Chef's Breakfast cost £10 and included all the main items you would hope to find on a full English breakfast. Presentation was good and everything was served nice and hot.

The sausages were from Clevelys, they worked well on this breakfast.

The bacon was well cooked and quite tough, still a pleasure to eat though! The black pudding was a nice fat slice and the butter was served in a small jar.

The beans came in a pot and the bread was toasted evenly.

Delicious mushrooms and an egg with a frilly edge and intact yolk.

The yolk was a mix of runny and soft, it tasted great on top of some buttered toast.

The tomatoes were quite nice, I generally cover them in ketchup anyway.

My wife's veggie breakfast, she really enjoyed it. I took the photo a bit late as I was waiting for her toast to arrive, this was taken after she had cut through the yolk and added pepper.

I was working out where to go for breakfast next in Norwich when somebody on my facebook page reminded me about The River Kitchen in Wroxham. I'd been meaning to visit for a long time now and my wife suggested we went for a drive out to Wroxham, the sun was shining so it seemed like an excellent plan. Once in Wroxham we parked at Roys and headed over the road in search of The River Kitchen, it was easy enough to find and as the name suggests could be found right beside the river...

Upon entering - The beautifully decorated cafe interior was light and spacious with it's lovely table cloths, mis-matched chairs and flowers on each table. The sun was shining though so we headed outside and sat right next to the river, a peaceful spot with stunning views. The breakfast menu featured a good selection of breakfasts for every appetite as well as a proper vegetarian option. Once you've decided what you'd like place your order at the counter inside where you'll be given a table number, outside there's a table where you can collect cutlery, condiments and sugar. The food and drinks are brought to the table when they are ready and sauces are available on request. Simply settle your bill at the counter on the way out. A peaceful and relaxing setting to enjoy breakfast and the welcome you're given makes you feel right at home. 9/10

Service - All the staff we encountered here were incredibly friendly, helpful and welcoming.  We were greeted and given menu's when we arrived and were told to place our order inside once we'd decided what we wanted. After ordering our drinks arrived first followed by the food, we were offered ketchup which arrived in small jars, each jar seemed to contain the perfect amount so this worked well. We were initially confused about the salt, pepper and cutlery situation but we'd simply not spotted it on the table nearby with a sign saying "please help yourself". The waitress went to collect some for us which was very kind. During the meal we were asked if everything was ok and we were asked again as we we paid at the end. The staff here seemed to enjoy their work and as a team ensured everything was run really smoothly whilst making their customers feel really welcome. 9/10

Contents - 2 sausages, 2 slices of bacon, 1 slice of black pudding, 1 fried egg, 1 hash brown, mushrooms, beans, tomatoes and a slice of toast served with butter. 8/10

Presentation - A nice large plate was used and it was one of those breakfasts that fills you full of joy when it arrives. The items were nicely placed on the plate with the butter served in a small jar, the toast sat on the side but with a plate this size nothing felt overcrowded. Everything looked a good colour and the bread had been evenly toasted to a nice shade of brown. The egg was looking a bit frilly on the edges but I quite like this and the bacon looked a bit overcooked. I had been expecting the beans to arrive served in a tiny frying pan, instead they came in a small pot, not a problem at all though as everything looked neat and tidy. 8/10

The food - The sausages from Clevelys were a great breakfast sausage with a nice meaty texture and simple flavour. The bacon was a bit overcooked and slightly tough to cut through, despite this I did thoroughly enjoy it though, really nice to chew on! The black pudding was a really delicious fat slice, for me the highlight of the breakfast. I buttered the toast and popped the egg on top, slightly frilly around the edges with a semi runny yolk, it tasted great though. The hash brown was crispy and the beans piping hot. My least favourite part of any breakfast is the tomato, here it was nicely cooked and reasonably tasty, I added some ketchup over the tomato as I often do to add to the flavour. Finally the mushrooms, delicious and cooked to perfection. 8/10

Value for money - The Chef's Breakfast cost £10, certainly a great breakfast but being the largest breakfast on the menu I was quite surprised it didn't include double eggs and double hash browns. The stunning view and the fact this breakfast still really fills you up does kind of make up for this though. 6/10

Veggie option - 2 veggie sausages, halloumi, 1 hash brown, 1 fried egg, mushrooms, beans, tomatoes and a slice of toast served with butter. £7.50

Overall - A beautiful spot to enjoy a great breakfast, whether you're eating inside or outside you're spoilt with a stunning view over the river. The staff are friendly and make you feel right at home here which is always a real bonus when going out for breakfast. The River Kitchen is well worth visiting if you're in Wroxham or just passing through. 8/10