Sunday, 21 August 2016

The Canteen - Norwich

(Now Closed)

Mile Cross Business Centre

Opening hours
Tuesday to Friday - 8am till 1pm
Satuday and Sunday - 8.30am till 1pm

The Canteen can be found in a corner of Mile cross Business Centre, it's located inside the old City Works Canteen. 

The cafe area offered a choice of tables but was also surrounded by quite a lot of unused furniture.

I sat by the window facing some office chairs. 

Most of the breakfast items are already cooked and hot held at the counter, the hash browns and eggs were cooked to order though.

This menu above the counter displays the reasonably priced breakfasts.

The coffee was included in the price of the breakfast, I was pleasantly surprised to see it was Nescafe Gold.

Condiments are already on each table making life easier.

If you're feeling the pinch before payday then this breakfast isn't going to break the bank, just £5.50 and that includes the toast and a hot drink!

Properly toasted bread, always a nice sight!

Although much of the food was hot held at the counter everything was hot enough when I ate it.

The bacon was thick cut and rather delicious.

The eggs were freshly cooked and served with intact runny yolks.

The sausages were acceptable considering the price and the hash browns are the same ones used at House Cafe with a slight hint of onion.

You have the option of tinned or fresh tomatoes here, I'll always choose tinned given the option.

I woke up this morning realising I hadn't reviewed anywhere in Norwich for over 2 months, this thought made me jump out of bed and do something about it. By the time I'd researched where to go for breakfast online most places had already stopped serving but The Canteen in Mile cross were still open though. The Canteen had contacted me months ago now asking for me to visit so I decided to visit today. My wife was in London so it was going to be a solo inspection, I jumped in her car and made my way to Mile cross. I turned into the Business centre and was quite surprised at how derelict and unloved the area looked. I briefly considered turning round and aborting my mission but spotted The Canteen in the corner, the door was open so I parked up and headed inside...

Upon entering - The outside of The Canteen had been painted red and white giving it a fresh look, inside the green and red interior gave a hint to it's previous ownership by the Council's City Care Department. The main dining area had a selection of tables to choose from, each with condiments on. The counter and kitchen were located at the side of the dining room, above the counter was the menu. I was the only customer so it was difficult to gauge any atmosphere, it did at least make it much easier to take photos though. I was surprised at how many office cupboards and chairs were stored in the dining area, there was even an empty vending machine with a chair stored on top of it. The stored furniture around the edge of The Canteen seemed like a great shame to me as it all looked really out of place and would benefit so much from being stored elsewhere. I felt more work was needed inside to give The Canteen its own identity. 3/10

Service - The best thing about the canteen has to be the lady that served me (I think her name was Amanda). I was made to feel so welcome and she chatted away about what was going on in Norwich this weekend and my wife's car. Sometimes people ask you things in shops and restaurants and you get the sense they really couldn't care a less, this certainly isn't the case here though! I ordered the large breakfast and was given the option of tea/coffee and fresh/tinned tomatoes. First the coffee arrived, with it I was offered a newspaper, I very rarely read newspapers but on this occasion I accepted as it can be a good place to hide behind when getting crucial photos. Next the food arrived with a side plate containing the toast. Amanda told me to call her if I needed anything else, I didn't as everything I needed was already on the table. I chatted briefly on the way out and left thinking what an incredible host she'd been, genuine and so welcoming! 10/10

Contents - 2 sausages, 2 bacon, 2 eggs, 1 hash brown, mushrooms, tomato, beans, 2 slices of toast and a tea or coffee. 8/10

Presentation - The breakfast was presented nice enough on the plate, egg yolks were intact and the toast was a good colour so I was happy enough. 7/10

The food - I'll start with the bacon as it was my favourite part of the breakfast, really thick cut and incredibly tasty. The sausages were ok but I've had so much better in the past so I'm quite fussy about them now, lets just say they were better than economy sausages and were quite acceptable on a breakfast at this price. The hash brown was really familiar, the same type used at House Cafe in Norwich, really big with a hint of onion. The eggs were freshly cooked and had intact runny yolks, I enjoyed them over the nicely browned toast. The mushrooms were nice enough, the beans were a bit watery and the tinned tomato was a nice surprise. Considering a number of items are hot held at the counter I was pleasantly surprised at how hot everything was when it arrived. This had been a concern of mine when I first read about The Canteen but it clearly wasn't an issue. 7/10

Value for money - The large breakfast which includes toast and a hot drink cost just £5.50, well worth the money and the welcome you receive is priceless! 8/10

Veggie option - No.

Overall - I struggled to get my head around the dining area surrounded by so much unused furniture, it felt like a storage space with a cafe desperately trying to break through. This could easily be sorted out in a few hours though and I really hope it is as this place definitely has some potential and is a much needed cafe in the Mile Cross area. What really shines through though is the service, I drove home from here thinking how more businesses need people like Amanda. She was such a genuine, lovely and welcoming person who clearly had a lot of time for her customers. The food here is very good considering the price so definitely worth a look if you are passing through Mile Cross. 7/10


  1. A wonderful review. I appreciate your posts as much as you do a good fry-up.

  2. Tinned tomatoes sat on top of the beans is probably what caused them to be a bit watery. I like them stodgy.

    1. When I said watery I was meaning that I prefer a more reduced bean juice. It's never a huge issue as most places serve them this way but stodgy beans are always a bonus :-)

  3. I'm so glad you prefer proper toast too. Too many places serve what I would call 'warm bread' and describe it as toast.

  4. We do offer veggie sausages if there is anything not on the menu all you have to do is ask I will always try and accomodate

  5. £5.50 including a drink?, I think you were a bit stingy on the value rating, has to be a 9. Very happy to see tinned tomatoes, I much prefer them, especially as so many places cant do the fresh ones any justice.

    1. The value for money takes into account the environment too remember.

    2. Ah yes, ok, I must admit I was in the car repair industry for 20 years and our standards were pretty low!!!

  6. there is an option for vegitarian breakfast we stock linda mcartney sausages for such occasions

  7. Just to mention that the Sun isn't a newspaper.

    1. I was going to say complaint would be that someone left it on my table!!!