Monday, 21 March 2011

Sainsbury's Cafe - Norwich

1 Brazen Gate

Opening hours (for breakfast)
Mon - Sat 8am - 11.30am
Sunday 9.30am - 11.30am

The store had just undergone a massive refurbishment when I visited.

Enter here

Place your order and pay here.

Remember to grab cutlery and condiments from here.

You will be given an order number, I wanted to be no 7 but got no 5.....

You may need a paper as you could be in for a long wait.

The prices seemed fairly reasonable.

£1.09 for a decent sized cup of good coffee.

It had potential but the frankly shocking eggs and delayed black pudding were a real shame.

How not to serve a fried egg.

The black pudding arrived about 5 minutes after everything else, were they expecting me to butter it though??

I have been struggling recently with new places in Norwich to try so I decided to see how the supermarket cafes were doing, having already visited Tesco's I made my way to Sainsbury's...

Upon entering - Everything was newly refurbished and the main cafe area was really big with masses of tables and chairs. There were newspapers available for customers to read which was a good idea as you may be waiting sometime for your food to arrive. The menu was on the wall behind the counter so you decide what you want, pay at the counter, find a table and pop your order number on it. You will need to collect cutlery and condiments yourself. 7/10

Service - The person serving me seemed very friendly but from paying for the food to receiving it took 25 minutes. I had to get to work so was getting a bit concerned as to why it was taking so long especially as the place was almost empty. When it finally did arrive I was told the black pudding had fallen on the floor so I would be getting some more as soon as it was ready. The person cooking the breakfast was not doing a good job at all, the state of the fried eggs made that very clear! 4/10

Contents - 2 sausages, 2 bacon, Black pudding, 2 fried eggs, grilled tomatoes, beans, toast & butter and fried bread. 8/10

Presentation - It was probably looking ok till they chucked those appalling fried eggs on top. Im still not sure why the black pudding was served with butter! 5/10

The food - The sausages were really nice and full of flavour as was the bacon, standard but nicely cooked black pudding, juicy tomatoes and nice baked beans. The fried bread was cooked really nicely and the toast was hot when it arrived. The fried eggs were overcooked and looked awful, I was amazed they had decided to serve them. 6/10

Value for money - A big breakfast with a standard coffee and 2 extras - fried bread and black pudding cost £5.98. 7/10

Veggie option - Yes, traditional meat free breakfast £3.19

Overall - This is a place I want to return to as they are so close to getting it right. Good quality ingredients at a good price make for a winning combination but waiting 25 minutes for a plate of food with items missing as they had fallen on the floor is not so good. It always amazes me that people who clearly can't fry a half decent egg manage get a job in a cafe, perhaps frying an egg should be part of the interview process? Most off the things on my plate did taste great and if the eggs were too and the black pudding wasn't late then I would be scoring an overall score of 8 but on this occasion... 6/10

* Update - November 2012 *

According to the stats on the blog more people have looked at my Sainsbury's write up than any other, twice as many as the next highest viewed post infact. This made me curious and I decided it was time to return again after 18 months to see if things had changed, hopefully for the better!

One problem last time was the long wait (25 minutes) for the food to arrive in an almost empty cafe. This is something that had changed this time, I was served at 10.24 and before I had the chance to sip my coffee the food arrived at 10.26! Nice and quick but clearly not cooked to order as although at first glance it looks ok, everything was barely warm still..

The toast was soggy and soaked in butter, the fried egg was slightly better this time round but probably should have been binned 10 minutes beforehand. The hash brown was warm and soggy and the tomatoes had gone cold. The black pudding (2 slices this time) were along with the beans the only thing on the plate that were actually hot.

The sausages were lacking colour and along with the bacon were barely warm. For research purposes I ate everything but can't say I really enjoyed it, surely they can do better than this? On the plus side the service was pretty good and £3.99 was a reasonable price (+ 69p for black pudding) but when it arrives in this state you may as well just not bother and go eat somewhere else instead where the food is hot. I won't be returning again, that's for sure!


  1. Suggestions for future visits...all a bit further out but may be worth a look? Highway Nurseries at Framingham Pigot, Box Tree Cafe in Brooke & Goodies Farm Shop nr Long Stratton? Regards, MC

  2. Great suggestions, I have heard of all of them but not tried them yet. I will visit them soon, thanks!

  3. Just came across your blog whilst looking for info on the Moonlight Cafe and wanted to say wow! Friends and I have been engaging in a "Sunday morning breakfast club", exploring Norwich's breakfast menus and were just a few hours ago at Olive's. Keep up the good work, FUI. I will definitely be checking back.

  4. Glad you are finding my blog useful, follow me and you won't go far wrong! Can I join your Sunday morning breakfast club? Sounds great!!

  5. Usually Sainsburys do a not to bad breakfast. I wish i could join a breakfast club keep the good work up. Mr Just Grub

  6. I must admit I was expecting better from Sainsburys, perhaps I caught them on a bad day? Breakfast Club does sound like a great idea!!

  7. I've been there once, having a quickly meal before my shopping. My lasagna was quite horrible and too hot to be served. It was probably the cheapest one they sell inside the store. I don't want mention service staff, for being a self service it's really slow and the place is dirty.
    I would ask which is your food quality range; to me it's fresh, organic and home cooked food and I'm able to test what I'm eating when I enjoy a meal out.
    In the city it's possible have a good breakfast or lunch with a better quality and for the same money of sainsbury's.

  8. Harty's Diner and Rumbling Tums will do you a better plate of food for a similar price, but avoid Jaspers and Munchy's. I look for a good quality sausage, nicely cooked fried eggs and fried bread and either a nice tasting tomato or tinned.

  9. Had a fry up today. It was shocking. Bacon (4/10 points) looked like it was shown the heat, sausages not particularly great (5/10), just catering type sausages... what was really shocking were the scrambled eggs (-10/10)! They looked nothing like them for a start, a very deep, bright yellow colour, very dry, almost sponge like... i wanted to spit them out! Best parts were the beans, hash browns and toast, which you cant really cock up!

  10. It sounds like they are rapidly going downhill, thanks for your feedback!

  11. I had Sainsbury's scrambled egg today in Cardiff - disgusting!

  12. I must revisit and see if things have got any better.

  13. Been to Sainbury`s cafe quite a few times and mostly found it very good. Of course there are the times when you go in and you`re unfortunately at the back of the que but that`s just bad timing. Have always found the fry up very tasty and good value for money though and not greasy at all. I would give my local branch a good 8 out of 10

  14. They use the microwave for the scrambled eggs. And the person cooking is just an average employee with a food hygiene certificate, NOT an actual cook.

  15. My wife dragged me into Sainsburys on the promise of a fried breakfast,
    something which we both now regret.After waiting 22 minutes for our food and just before we were about to ask for our money back it arrived and what a disappointment,Apart from a surly waitress who grunted and pointed to the cutlery tray when I pointed out the dirty knive.and then wiped them on her apron when I told her the cutlery tray was empty the food was disgusting.the eggs were underdone the
    bacon,sausage,eggs and beans were not just warm they were cold,the small piece I tried suggests that they use whatever they cant sell or are getting near there sell-by date.I would have thought that with an unlimited supply of provisions they could easily afford top quality.I was so annoyed about the indifferent attitude of the staff
    and the ghastly food I complained to customer services who said well you must have eaten some of it to make a judgement on it,when I asked to see the manager I was told he was'nt available and on producing my receipt was given a full refund.As an ex truck driver I have eaten fry-ups the length and breadth of the country and apart from motorway service areas have never had anything as bad as this. Rating O/O

  16. Not breakfast but me and the kids went to Sainsbury's Longwater to try out their (frankly MASSIVE) new cafe, we ordered burger and chips which took ages to arrive even though they were virtually empty (god knows what they do out the back there). When they arrived the burgers looked really nice and handmade etc. but they tasted of nothing, just mince, no seasoning or anything...they had tried pretty hard with the presentation but that was all...chips were ok though! :)

    1. I was quite surprised by Sainsbury's when I visited and expect better from them, you defo need some flavouring in the burger!

  17. May I suggest Waitrose Café in Wymondham - I'd like to see what you think Fry Up Inspector!