Sunday 15 January 2017

Zaks waterside grill and bar - Norwich

Barrack Street

Breakfast served daily from 9am
Last breakfast orders taken at 11.45am

Zaks waterside on Barrack Street has been offering a breakfast menu for sometime now.

If you sit in the conservatory it offers views across the River Wensum.

Sunset Bar is on the left as you walk in.

The walls are covered in American memorabilia, traditional American diner colours are used to give it an authentic feel, I thought it looked great!

This is the main seating area but there are a few more areas to choose from.

We sat in a booth, the light wasn't ideal for photos but these seats were nice and comfy.

Gotta love a squeezy ketchup bottle!

A varied American style breakfast menu is available each day till 11.45am with drinks included in the price. My wife enquired about a vegan option and every effort was made to create a breakfast she was happy with.

The filter coffee was served with a jug of hot frothy milk, refills were included.

I was looking forward to trying something a bit different from the Full English breakfast that I usually review and The Ranch breakfast didn't disappoint.

A pair of sausage patties and BBQ beans, both really nice.

Four rashers of crispy bacon and hash browns.

A cheese topped bun and a slice of tomato, I covered them with the beans and popped the eggs on top. In hindsight though I regret not making a huge breakfast burger, maybe next time!

The fried eggs were beautifully cooked with impressive runny yolks. My apologies to those that can't bear beans touching the egg, I personally think it's a great combination.

My wife gave me a pair of mushrooms from her breakfast, really tasty!

Zaks were very happy to let my wife choose the items she wanted on her vegan breakfast which cost £7.95 and also included a drink. She enjoyed the breakfast but the low light made it difficult to take a decent photo that did it justice.

The bill arrived at the end with some sweets and a feedback form. I did fill it in briefly but this review should give much more detailed feedback.

I visited Zaks Waterside about 10 years ago for a burger and I can remember thoroughly enjoying it. Fairly recently though I noticed a huge sign outside offering breakfast so I knew before long I'd just have to try it out for myself. This was going to be my first cooked breakfast of 2017, I was aware it would be an American inspired breakfast but was quite happy to try something a bit different. My wife was hoping they could provide a vegan option, we decided there was only one way to find out and made our way there...

Upon entering - Zaks Waterside restaurant is housed inside an old mortuary building beside the River Wensum on Barrack Street. Don't let this put you off though as it looks great inside and out and you'd never have guessed it's history. The pink exterior with stripey window canopies, neon lighting and checkerboard stripes certainly make it stand out. Once inside wait to be seated, there's a bar to your left and a conservatory ahead with views across the River Wensum. The main dining area is well themed with lots of American music, film and brand memorabilia covering the walls. There's standard tables in different sizes to suit couples or large groups of customers and also a pair of traditional looking diner booths. The diner booths have red and cream upholstered seating which is really comfortable. Cutlery, menus and condiments are already on the table including a retro squeezy tomato containing ketchup, more sauces are available on request. It's full table service here so sit back, relax and you'll be well looked after from the moment you arrive and throughout your time here. It was fairly quiet when we arrived but I can imagine this place gets quite busy, there's music in the background which did seem slightly too loud if your trying to chat. My wife and I loved how the place looked and enjoyed dining here, if you want to get the best possible photos you may want to sit by the window as it's fairly low light otherwise. 8/10

Service - The thing I'll remember most from this visit was the service, it really couldn't have been any better! The person serving us welcomed us as soon as we arrived with a smile. My wife wanted to ensure creating a vegan breakfast was possible before taking a seat. She was told what was available and was able to choose from a number of items to create a breakfast she was happy with. Once shown to our seat we were given time to look at the menu before we placed our order. First the hot drinks arrived, I was delighted to discover coffee refills are available here and the drink is included in the price of the breakfast. The food arrived and we were offered more sauces, we requested HP for the beans, a match made in heaven! During the meal we were asked if everything was ok and the bill was brought over at the end with a small pile of sweets. The timing of everything was spot on but what really stood out was the efficiency of the staff and how friendly and accommodating they were. 10/10

Contents - 2 sausage patties, 4 slices of crispy bacon, 2 hash browns, 2 fried eggs, cheese topped sourdough, a slice of beef tomato and a choice of coffee, tea or orange juice. 7/10

Presentation - The food arrived on a large oval plate with a decent sized stack of meats beside hash browns and a pair of nicely cooked eggs. The beans were contained in a ramekin and the cheese topped sourdough was topped with a single slice of tomato. 7/10

The food - I quite enjoyed the sausage patties, I wish I'd wrapped them in the cheese topped sourdough and created a huge breakfast burger, next time maybe! The bacon was crispy with plenty of flavour and the beans had a distinct BBQ flavour. The hash browns were fairly standard but cooked nicely and the tomato (although minimal) tasted great. The sourdough seemed like a standard toasted burger bun to me topped with cheese slices. I poured the beans over the cheese topped buns and laid the fried eggs over the top, both had nice runny yolks. Certainly an enjoyable enough breakfast and quite different to the breakfasts I usually review. The combination of items seemed to work well together, mushrooms would make a great addition to this breakfast though. I tried a couple of my wife's mushrooms and they were excellent. 7/10

Value for money - I thought the ranch breakfast was worth £9.95, especially considering it included a coffee with refills. The environment of the diner and superb service further add to the value. 8/10

Vegetarian option - Just ask when you arrive, there are options for vegetarians and they were really accommodating providing a vegan option even though it wasn't on the menu.

Overall - A nice looking American themed diner serving a varied American style breakfast menu. The staff are really friendly and helpful, the prices are reasonable and the food tastes good. The coffee refills included with the breakfasts ensure you don't need to spend more than £10 even when ordering the largest Ranch breakfast. If you fancy a change from a Full English breakfast then Zaks is well worth a visit. 8/10