Tuesday 29 November 2016

Storm in a Teacup - Norwich

2 Elm Hill

Breakfast served
Tuesday to Friday - 8am till 5pm
Saturday - 9am till 5pm

Storm in a Teacup has just opened on the corner of Elm Hill and Princes St.

The cafe is fairly small and nicely decorated, the natural light floods in.

The tables beside the window offer a good view out on to Princes Street.

The breakfast menu offers a good selection including the Full English. There isn't currently a vegetarian Full English listed on the menu but the staff were more than happy to create one for my wife.

A selection of books can be found scattered along the window ledge, perfect if you fancy a quick read whilst waiting for your food to arrive. 

The cappuccino here cost £2.50, it was served piping hot in a nice big cup. I love getting a biscuit with my coffee, I wish more places did this!

We were offered sauces and requested some ketchup, I was delighted when a bottle of Heinz appeared.

When the food arrived at the table it was nicely presented.

The breakfast included toasted sourdough served with real butter.

The Full English here costs £8.25.

 I enjoyed the sausage, bacon and black pudding served on this breakfast. The local meat supplier is P. J. Roofe and Son.

A nice firm pork sausage, delicious!

The eggs tasted great and certainly looked the part.

The yolk was perfect and the toasted sourdough moped it up nicely.

Flavoursome tomatoes and plenty of button mushrooms.

The beans are served in a ramekin, this made it nice and easy for me to pour them precisely where I wanted them, over the toasted sourdough.

My wife chose thyme roasted tomatoes and poached eggs on her vegetarian breakfast. Some vegetarian sausages were found in the kitchen which she was delighted with, it cost just £6.25.

I was walking along Elm Hill a week or so ago when I noticed the premises that used to be the Spanish Cafe had reopened again as another cafe. It was really busy inside and I spotted the name on the window "Storm in a Teacup", an excellent name I thought! The next day I noticed I'd been tagged in a photo on Instagram of a superb looking breakfast made by this new cafe. Initially I thought I'd wait until they'd been open for a few weeks as it seemed unfair to visit so soon after opening. The breakfast photo I'd been tagged in looked so good though I couldn't resist the urge any longer. They were serving breakfast till 3pm and it was just after lunchtime, my wife and I headed inside...

Upon entering - The cafe has big windows offering good views out on to Princes Street and Elm Hill. There's a large table in the centre with some smaller tables around the edge, there's also some stalls by the window if you prefer sitting higher up. The counter displaying an impressive selection of cakes can be found along the back wall. There's full table service here so choose a table and somebody will come over to take your order. Salt and pepper is already on the table, the menu arrives once seated, cutlery and sauces arrive after you've ordered. The atmosphere here was nice and relaxing, it was certainly a great place to enjoy a spot of breakfast. 8/10

Service - The staff here were really friendly and keen to accommodate our needs. Not being familiar with the menu before arriving I had no idea if it offered a vegetarian Full English breakfast or not. It turned out it didn't but every effort was made to provide a vegetarian breakfast that my wife would be happy with. She eventually settled for the Full English minus the meats with thyme roasted tomatoes and poached eggs. Shortly after ordering the chef had remembered some vegetarian sausages in the freezer, my wife was delighted with this and a very fair price for this breakfast was agreed. Hot drinks arrived first, sauces were offered next and finally the food arrived. We paid on the way out feeling very welcomed and well looked after. 9/10

Contents - 2 sausages, 2 bacon, 1 slice of black pudding, 2 eggs, mushrooms, beans, tomatoes and toasted sourdough served with real butter. 8/10

Presentation - This breakfast was presented very neatly in the centre of a large white plate. The beans were served in a ramekin and the toasted sourdough on a side plate with sachets of real butter. Everything looked nicely cooked and those eggs looked very impressive. 9/10

The food - The sausages were a good firm pork variety and the bacon was nicely browned, both tasted excellent and were from local supplier P. J. Roofe and Son. The black pudding was a decent slice with a deep red centre and crispy on the outside. The eggs had plenty of flavour and were cooked just how I like them with no trace of raw white but a nice runny yolk. The sourdough was evenly toasted and tasted great spread with real butter, as always I poured over some beans and topped it with an egg. As I cut through the egg yolk the sourdough soaked it up beautifully. The button mushrooms were delicious and the tomato was full of flavour. An impressive and thoroughly enjoyable breakfast! 9/10

Value for money - The Full English comes with toasted sourdough and costs £8.25. With a cappuccino costing £2.50 my total spend was £10.75. It seemed like a reasonable price to me considering how enjoyable it was and how good the service is here. A hash brown would have made a nice addition to this breakfast but even without one it was still good value for money. 8/10

Veggie option - No vegetarian Full English currently listed on the menu but as we found out, it is possible.

Overall - Considering we visited so soon after they'd opened we were really impressed! Storm in a teacup have launched a great little cafe and are offering an impressive breakfast. Norwich is really spoilt with so many amazing places to go for breakfast and this place is no exception. I look forward to visiting again in the future and wish them good luck with their new venture. Go give them a look, you won't be disappointed! 8.5/10


Wednesday 23 November 2016

Wilko Cafe - Norwich

56 - 70 St Stephens Street

Breakfast available till 11.30am daily

Wilko is hard to miss at the top end of St Stephens Street in Norwich City Centre. 
Their Full English breakfast is very easy to miss though, it exists but is very well hidden.

Head inside the store and go up Norwich's smallest escalator, jump off and head up the bigger escalator to your right.

You should now be on the first floor where the cafe can be found in the far corner.

The seating area is huge and it can get really busy.

Queue up at the counter to place your order and pay. I stood in the queue for nearly 20 minutes, the staff were working as quickly as possible but the coffee machine does slow things down considerably.

This is a rare sight, I've only ever spotted it once. There's also another menu listing the available items, it's kept under the counter though. Very cloak and dagger!

Sauce is issued at the counter with an order number, now find yourself a table whilst collecting condiments and cutlery on the way.

 A small coffee costs £1.90 and comes in a decent sized mug, pretty nice coffee!

The 8 item breakfast cost £4.50, toast counts as one of the items.

The toast was evenly browned and served with real butter, certainly one of the highlights of this breakfast.

The meats were the low point though, I suspect they were microwaved judging by the texture. 

The hash brown was reasonable but the cheap economy sausage I declare the worst sausage I've eaten in 2016.  Awful flavour and half of it had gone almost solid in the microwave, as always I finished it to be sure of my true feelings.

The mushroom was ok and I quite enjoyed the fried eggs.

Nice runny yolks!

There were plenty of beans to be found on this breakfast.

If you study the Wilko Cafe menu there is no mention of a Full English breakfast to be found anywhere, I'd decided a long time ago they simply didn't offer one. On a couple of occasions though I'd spotted people eating one, this made me very curious. Suddenly one day I noticed a small menu beside the counter that I'd never seen before offering a 6 and 8 items breakfast. With this in mind I returned again to try this out for myself, once in the queue the menu was nowhere to be seen but I was determined to try out this closely guarded secret for myself...

 Upon entering - The cafe at Wilko is clearly very popular, I'm guessing since BHS closed its doors earlier in the year it has become a good alternative for those customers. There's a vast seating area, some tables look out over St Stephens Street below. Place your order and pay at the counter, collect your cutlery and condiments and the food is brought to the table when its ready. If you're looking for the Full English you may get lucky and spot it on the small menu beside the counter, if it's not there just ask. Sauces are offered when ordering your food and served in a small cup. Before leaving remember to clear your table by placing your tray on the rack beside the kitchen door. The cafe is clean, well lit and brightly coloured, it can be quite noisy though when it gets busy and the coffee machine is very loud too. I liked the fact the food is brought to the table here meaning you get to eat it whilst it's still hot, I couldn't understand why the breakfast seemed such a closely guarded secret though. Why not add it to the main menu in the breakfast section and have the item list up on the counter? 4/10

Service - The staff here seem fairly friendly and quite helpful, when the queue was long they worked very quickly to serve everyone. I assumed the 8 item breakfast was a set breakfast so was thrown a bit when asked what items I wanted, with no item list on display I had no idea what was on offer. The item list was in fact under the counter, once placed in front of me I tried to rapidly select what I wanted whilst fully aware I was holding up a long queue as I decided. Once my order was placed I was offered sauces and paid, the food arrived at the table about 10 minutes later. 6/10

Contents - I have no idea of all the items on offer as I looked at the list for less than 20 seconds and just can't remember! The items I chose were 1 sausage, 1 bacon, 2 fried eggs, mushroom, 1 hash brown, beans and 2 slices of toast served with real butter. 5/10

Presentation - Not too bad I suppose, the yolks were intact and there were lots of beans. I can spot an economy sausage straight away though, I suppose on a breakfast at this price it's to be expected though. 5/10

The food - The economy sausage was awful, it sunk at one end as I cut through it and had a very dry texture with the other half of it overcooked and almost solid, the flavour can only be described as quite grim. The bacon wasn't so bad but was also very dry where the microwaved had zapped it of any moisture, I covered it in ketchup and wrapped some toast around it. The toast was very good, standard slices of bread that had been evenly toasted to a nice colour and served with real butter. The fried eggs were quite good with runny yolks and a decent flavour. The hash brown was reasonable, the mushroom ok and the beans plentiful. As a whole though a fairly disappointing breakfast let down mainly by the meats. 4/10

Veggie option - No veggie sausages here but you could always choose the non meat items, I wish I'd gone for this option come to think of it!

Value for money - A reasonable amount of food for the money and if you choose the non meat items it could work I suppose. 4/10

Overall - Wilko Cafe is probably a good option for coffee and cake as the cakes here looked really nice. As far as the Full English goes though I'm not convinced they have the facilities to properly cook one. Nice enough in places but the meats really let it down as did the item menu not being on display. I like to plan what I'm having on my breakfast not make a snap decision at the counter. They could make a few changes though and turn things around, with BHS gone this is their ideal opportunity to win over BHS's breakfast customers. 4.5/10

Saturday 19 November 2016

Best breakfasts in London - My recommended cafes

My favourite places to go for breakfast in London all display a recommended sticker. I still have 100's of places in London to visit but as it stands these are the ones I recommend you visit, in alphabetical order...

Beppe's Cafe 
If you're looking for classic London Caff serving good honest food at a reasonable price then head to Beppe's Cafe near Smithfields Market.
Read the full review on Beppe's Cafe here

Blighty Coffee

The "Winston" breakfast served at Blighty Coffee in Finsbury Park is based on the 1940's full English, this place is well worth a visit.
Read the full review on Blighty Coffee here

Cafe on the Lane

If you love homemade bubble and squeak then catch the central line to South Woodford. The friendly service and impressive breakfast menu really make this place stand out.
Read the full review on Cafe on the Lane here.

E. Pellicci has stood the test of time for over 100 years and remains my favourite ever cafe. A friendly welcome, heaps of character and good home cooked food, E. Pellicci has it all!

Read the full review on E. Pellicci here.

Frizzante Cafe
Located within Hackney City Farm you literally step from the busy streets of Hackney into this peaceful oasis serving an impressive breakfast made using locally sourced ingredients.
Read the full review on Frizzante Cafe here.

Maggie's Cafe
The welcome at Maggies Cafe is second to none and the "build your own breakfast" enables you to choose from over 20 different items, all this for less than £7 including a drink!
Read the full review on Maggie's Cafe here.

Regency Cafe
Another classic London caff that serves a hearty breakfast at an affordable price. Be sure to try the homemade bubble and squeak and enjoy hearing the orders being bellowed out.
Read the full review on Regency Cafe here.

Monday 7 November 2016

Maggie's Cafe - Lewisham

322 Lewisham Road
SE13 7PA

  Breakfast served all day
Monday to Friday - 7am till 8pm
Saturday - 7am till 2pm
Sunday - Closed

Maggie's Cafe is a short walk away from Lewisham station. 

There are two dining areas to choose from and a few tables outside too.

Maggies is fully licensed so perfect if you fancy something a bit stronger with your meal.

Maggie is the perfect host, she takes care of customers ensuring their orders are taken and the coffee keeps flowing.

The Maggies place mats are a nice touch! 

The "create your own breakfast" option on the menu is excellent value for money and the portions are really generous, I decided to order 12 of the 20 items from the list and a coffee.

The hot drinks arrived first served in glass cups.

I initially thought the coffee powder on top was chocolate powder, a good job my wife pointed it out before I reached for my spoon!

Once stirred in it was an excellent milky coffee.

 No need to ask for sauces here, they are brought to the table by the incredibly efficient staff before the food arrives.

 My breakfast was huge and consisted of 12 different items.

Here it is from another angle, so much food on the plate!

I probably didn't need toast as well as fried bread but I ordered some anyway, I do like to pop some bacon and ketchup between  a couple of slices.

With so much already on my plate the beans arrived separately served nice and stodgy in a large bowl. 

Some fairly nice rashers of bacon and sausages are served here.

The sausages had a nice enough flavour and good texture.

I love bubble and squeak, a huge slab was served with a nice coarse texture.

I probably didn't need hash browns as well but ordered some just because I could. I also ordered the onions, not something I usually see on a cooked breakfast but they complimented the bubble and squeak nicely.

A pair of fried eggs lay over a slice of golden fried bread, it was difficult to tell if the the yolks were still runny, one way to find out.

Yep, just what I was hoping to find.

I chose tinned tomatoes over fresh ones, they're becoming increasingly difficult to find in cafes so I always order them when I can.

My wife built her own vegetarian breakfast.

So many people had recommended breakfast at Maggie's Cafe in Lewisham to me in the past I'd decided to visit with my wife on our next trip to London. We were getting the 5.50am coach from Norwich so managed to arrive at Maggies just before 9am, this was perfect as we'd heard it gets really busy here. I'd already eaten a jumbo sausage roll on the coach and a slice of Tottenham cake as I passed through Stratford Shopping Centre, we were both still quite hungry though when we arrived in Lewisham...

Upon entering - There are two main dining rooms at Maggies, one has the counter in the corner and looks quite cafe like. The other room where we sat had a more comfortable pub feel to it with a carpeted floor, framed photos on the walls and a bar in the corner. There are also a few tables sectioned off outside the cafe, I'm guessing this is quite popular with the smokers. Maggies felt incredibly welcoming and homely as soon as we stepped through the door. The decor is traditional and warm, menus are already on the tables as well as place mats and fresh flowers. I'll mention the service in more detail in the next section, rest assured though that once you've taken a seat everything you could possibly need will be brought to the table. The cutlery arrives wrapped in serviettes and the sauces arrive in squeezy bottles. On your way out simply settle you bill at the counter.  8/10

Service - Without a doubt the best thing about Maggies is the friendly welcome and most efficient service I've ever had the pleasure of experiencing! Maggie and her team ensure that orders are taken, food is delivered to the tables and cups are refilled in good time, even when they're really busy. They do so though whilst smiling, chatting and making you feel really at home, nothing ever seems to be too much trouble here. Once seated we were greeted and offered hot drinks, a short time later the drinks arrived and our food order was taken. The create your own breakfast was explained to us and we spent quite some time working out what we would like, the lady serving us patiently made a note of everything and double checked we were happy with our order. The food arrived with the cutlery, and sauces appeared at the table, I didn't even notice the sauces arrive but they were there at the crucial moment when I needed them. The last item to arrive was the beans, they were served in a large bowl as there was no space for them on my already stacked plate. Whilst enjoying our food more coffee refills were offered and I watched the entire room being looked after by Maggie and her team. The flawless service I experienced here deserved a standing ovation, I resisted the urge but without a doubt it was the best service I've seen since starting my blog back in 2010. 10/10

Contents - You can create your own breakfast from over 20 items which are: Fried egg, poached egg, scrambled egg, sausage, veggie sausage, bacon, mushrooms, black pudding, liver, fried onions, chips, hash browns, bubble, beans, grilled tomatoes, tinned tomatoes, ham, fried slice, toast, bread, bottomless tea or coffee. I've highlighted the items I choose on my breakfast. 10/10

Presentation - There were a lot of different items to fit onto the plate and the portions were generous. I was impressed to find the eggs over the fried slice with intact and runny yolks, it all looked good to me! 7/10

The food - On Maggie's website it says "The food is traditional, not fancy" and this I agree with. It was a real down to earth hearty breakfast, I enjoyed everything on the plate and it was served nice and hot. The sausages, bacon and black pudding were fairly standard but nicely cooked. The fried eggs had intact runny yolks and the fried bread they lay across was golden and crispy. The mushrooms were served whole, the hash browns were crispy and the tinned tomatoes were not swamped in too much juice. The bubble had good texture with big chunks of potato combined with peas and cabbage, the fried onions went perfectly with this. The beans were nicely thickened and the toasted white bread was good to wrap around some bacon. A great milky coffee too which I experienced a few times due to refills. 8/10

Value for money - With the vast selection of over 20 breakfast items to choose from and bottomless drinks you'd really struggle to find better value for money anywhere else. Combine this with the warm welcome and excellent service and you'll know you've spent £6.95 wisely! 10/10

Veggie option - Choose from: Fried egg, poached egg, scrambled egg, veggie sausage, mushrooms, fried onions, chips, hash browns, bubble, beans, grilled tomatoes, tinned tomatoes, fried slice, toast, bread, bottomless tea or coffee. £6.95.

Overall - Maggies is a family run Irish cafe that has been open since 1983, it's clear to see why it's such a popular choice and continues to satisfy the Lewisham community. The traditional and hearty food is served with a smile and you really feel at home as soon as you walk through the door. Maggie and her team ensure everyone in the cafe is well looked after and remain calm and friendly even at the busiest of times. If you live in London or are just visiting then be sure to visit Maggies for breakfast. It's an experience not to be missed, I loved this place! 9/10