Sunday, 29 July 2012

Garfunkel's - Norwich

(Now Closed)

Level 1 
Dining Terrace

Head up to the level 1 dining terrace in Chapelfield and you will find Garfunkel's.

The restaurant is nice and big with views overlooking the mall.

Parasols inside seemed a tad strange!?

The new breakfast offer seemed fairly reasonable.

The cutlery and serviette came along with the sauces.

Top brand sauces, that is what I like to see!

Ground black pepper, salt and a selection of sugars.

The cappuccino came with the breakfast and tasted great!

For just 50p extra you can add a slice of toast and butter.

I was a bit disappointed when I first saw the breakfast.

The highlight was the excellent hash brown.

The low point were those tinned mushrooms..

The rhubarb and custard sweet given with the bill was a nice touch.

A year ago Tim Kemp did a guest review for me at Garfunkel's (read about it here

I had walked past Garfunkel's in Chapelfield many times before but it had taken till now to try out their Great British Breakfast...

Upon entering - Head up to the Level 1 dining area and you will spot Garfunkel's close to the lifts, it looks out onto the rest of the mall so is great for people watching. Somebody will show you to a table and take your order. The dining area is large and the tables are well spaced out, each table has menus, salt, pepper and sugar, sauces are brought over with the food. Despite the fact it is in a busy shopping mall it seemed like a nice relaxing environment to sit and eat in. 7/10

Service - The service here was really good and the staff were all really friendly and efficient. The waiter taking our order talked us through the breakfast deal pointing out we could add toast for just an extra 50p. We saw him again later in the street outside and he said hello to us which was nice. The food and drinks arrived in a very reasonable time and a waitress came back to check everything was ok, it did occur to me it would be quite funny to give her a full rundown of my breakfast experience but remembered I was on a secret mission! 8/10

Contents - 1 sausage, 1 bacon, 1 fried egg, 1 hash brown, mushrooms, beans, toast and butter. 6/10

Presentation - Although everything was placed nicely on the plate it did look a bit disappointing when it arrived. The bacon didn't look very crispy and the mushrooms looked tinned. Also one of each item made it look a bit minimal so I was glad I had ordered toast as well. 6/10

The food - The sausage was nice enough with its herby taste but didn't seem that special really and the bacon was ok but lacked any crispiness. The highlight of this breakfast was the delicious crispy hash brown with its nicely textured centre and hint of onion. The fried egg was good with yolk nicely intact and the beans were nice too, going well on top of the hot buttered toast. The mushrooms were tinned so had a quite slimy texture and didn't really have much flavour. 6/10

Value for money - The Great British breakfast cost £5.75 (£6.25 with a regular hot drink), a slice of toast and butter is an extra 50p. It seemed like quite a good price for a restaurant but it is not particularly big or special and you may be thinking about lunch sooner than you think. 6/10

Veggie Option - Vegetarian sausage, scrambled or fried egg, beans, mushrooms and a  hash brown for £5.75 (£6.25 with a regular hot drink) 

Overall - I liked the environment and layout in the restaurant and the service was great. The food was nothing special though and I was expecting better. Some tomatoes and proper mushrooms would have been nice as well as a bigger breakfast option with more items. 6.5

Saturday, 21 July 2012

Win a copy of London Caffs

I am giving away a copy of Edwin Heathcote's excellent book "London Caffs"
It features 2 of my favourite London cafe's that I visited last year, E. Pellicci in Bethnal Green & Regency Cafe in Pimlico. 

Book description
"Where would we be without the traditional London caff?
Milk bars, ice–cream parlours and espresso bars are all a feature of the London landscape that were borne out of the 1940s to 1960s. It is a time when floods of immigrants set up their businesses providing frothy coffee to the city’s workers. Today, many of these establishments still function as caffs and have their original elaborate and shiny machines that continue to dispense no end of steam and cups of tea, and still feature vinyl and tiled floors and walls.
This book provides an affectionate look at one of London′s endangered species′, featuring 28 caffs throughout the capital. Each example is accompanied by anecdotal captions which evoke the atmosphere and context of each place, as well as addresses and nearest tube stations, so that anyone wanting a fix of old–style London can go and find it."

To be in with a chance to win this great book you just need to "like" my Fry up inspector facebook page found here. So if you have already liked it then you are already in with a chance, if not then simply visit the page and click "like". The winner will be randomly selected and announced here on Sunday 29th July 2012 at 6.00pm, good luck!!! 

The Reading Rooms - Norwich

(Now closed)
21 - 23 Nelson Street

Breakfast served everyday
 8.30am - 6.00pm

The Reading Rooms can be found on Nelson Street almost opposite the Fat Cat pub.

The kitsch and shabby chic interior looks great.

A selection of newspapers are available if you fancy a read and the art on the walls is for sale.

The breakfasts here are delicious and are available all day, you can see the online menu here.

The cappuccino was really good.

The tea bags were good quality and huge!

Salt, pepper and sugar can be found on each table. A decent sized bowl of ketchup was bought to the table with the food.

As you make you way through this amazingly tasty tower of a breakfast you will discover some delicious treats along the way.

The generous sized chunk of black pudding sat on top of an incredibly tasty field mushroom.

This was the first stacked breakfast I had eaten that included baked beans, they were a great addition and went nicely with the hot buttered toast.

This is the Vegetarian breakfast, the grilled sesame haloumi was delicious.

Readers of my blog recently told me about The Reading Rooms that had opened on Nelson Street in Norwich, I was about to get married though so had to put my visit on hold for a few weeks. Finally the time arrived to visit, I had heard good things about the Reading Rooms so my wife decided she would join me too..

Upon entering - There are 2 dining areas and also some small tables outside, we chose to sit in the area at the front that had large windows allowing the daylight to flood in. The other slightly darker area can be found further back where the counter is also located and delicious looking cakes are on display too. The mismatched tables and chairs, art for sale on the walls and use of colours work together really well. A menu, sugar and salt & pepper can be found on each table and there is a full waitress service. When we first arrived it was an amazingly relaxing environment to sit and chat in, by the time our food arrived though the place was much busier and had became very noisy making it difficult to have a conversation. It is a great cafe for families as children are made very welcome with regular kids book clubs taking place however if you are looking for a quite time then this may not be for you. The sound of screaming children that carried through from the other dining area did make for a slightly uncomfortable experience. This is a really tricky one to score as I visually loved the place but the noise was a bit much. 7/10

Service - The waitress was very friendly, she came through to take our drinks order and when the drinks arrived took our food order. I ordered the full Norfolk breakfast with white toast and fried eggs and my wife ordered the full vegetarian breakfast with brown toast and poached eggs. We asked for tomato ketchup and a generous sized bowl of it was bought over to us which was great as often places never bring enough ketchup to the table. When the food arrived the toast and eggs were on the wrong plates so the food was returned. It came back within 5 minutes with the food swapped over and on the correct plates. This was a slight inconvenience but the waitress was very apologetic and we were not charged for our tea and coffee as a result of this which was a nice gesture. 8/10

Contents - 2 chipolatas, 2 slices of bacon, 1 chunky slice of black pudding, 2 fried eggs, 1 grilled tomato, 1 large field mushroom, beans and buttered toast. 8/10

Presentation - When the food was placed before me I was visually blown away, it was like somebody had placed an amazing new toy in front of me. But upon realising the wrong things were on the wrong plate it was like the toy had suddenly been broken and taken away from me only to be returned glued together. It still looked great when it returned second time round but not quite as stunning and I did feel a tad disappointed. Everything is stacked in layers on top of the toast with the beans cascading off and around the edge of the plate. Some items are more hidden but you will eventually find them as you make your way through the delicious looking stack. 8/10

The food - The chipolatas tasted fantastic with a great texture and the bacon was equally delicious. The free range fried eggs were cooked superbly with a nice runny yolk and had a great taste. I love black pudding and the chunky slice was really good with a nice texture. The nicely cooked tomato was full of flavour and the field mushroom was just perfect. The chunky slices of buttered toast were cut from a decent loaf of bread and went perfectly with the juicy baked beans. 9/10

Value for money - The full Norfolk breakfast came in 2 sizes, hers at £6.50 and his at £7.95. I went for the his size and felt it was a reasonable price considering the quality of ingredients used and how nicely it was cooked. 8/10

Veggie option - Grilled sesame haloumi, field mushroom, saute herb potatoes, grilled tomato, beans and toast with a choice of fried poached or scrambled eggs for £6.50 (lighter version available for £5.25) The vegetarian option here looks great, I tried some of the haloumi and it tasted really good. My wife chose the vegetarian option as online it mentions "homemade veggie black pudding" this seems to have now disappeared from the menus inside the cafe though. 

Overall - A nice looking place with a great layout, any noise inside does seem to amplify though and it did seem really noisy which I personally found a bit off putting. The food was incredible though and the stacked presentation works really well. I like the fact that the food used is sourced locally and the breakfasts are served till 6pm. It seems like a really popular place and I'm sure it will continue to grow from strength to strength. 8/10

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Station Bistro - Wymondham, Norfolk

Station Approach
Old foreman's office
NR18 0JZ

Open everyday - 8.30am till 5.00pm
Breakfast served till 11.30am

The bistro is is located in the historic and multi award winning Wymondham train station.

It was the cooked breakfast that lured me inside.

The windows of the Bistro look out onto the platform.

It feels like you are on a train complete with luggage racks overhead.

The seats are really comfy and there is plenty of space on the tables.

Lots of station history can be found everywhere.

The breakfasts here are served all day!

Fresh flowers and 2 types of pepper can be found on each table.

Fantastic filter coffee and refills are included with cooked breakfasts, nice touch!

The beautifully colourful breakfast was delicious and nicely cooked.

Quality meats and mushrooms hiding under the hash brown.

I was having lunch in Wymondham and Station Bistro had been recommended to me, it was just after midday and I wasn't expecting to be having a fry up. As I walked through the station car park I noticed "Cooked breakfasts" on the sign but figured I must be too late. Last time I was here it was called Brief Encounter but it had since been taken over and renamed, time to take a look inside...

Upon entering - The bistro is located inside the beautiful award winning station building. You walk into a large and homely dining room, everything is spaced out nicely giving customers plenty of space. There are lots of interesting photographs, newspaper articles and train memorabilia to be found on the walls. The second dining area feels like you have just stepped onto a train with actual train seats and luggage racks overhead, some looking out onto the platform outside where the occasional train will pass by as you are eating. It is a really great place to sit and eat with lots to look at whilst you wait for your food to arrive. There is a full waitress service and each table has salt, pepper, fresh flowers and a menu on it, specials can be found on the blackboard. 9/10

Service - The staff here are friendly and look after you really well. Once you have taken a seat decide what you want from the menu and a waitress will come over and take your order. Cutlery and sauces are bought over for you and when it is ready the food arrives. Included in the price of the breakfast was tea/coffee refills, when my cup was empty the waitress came and asked if I wanted more coffee. When you have finished ask for the bill and it will be bought to the table by the waitress for you. 9/10

Contents - 1 sausage, bacon, 1 fried egg, 1 hash brown, fried bread, tomato, mushrooms, beans and tea/coffee refills. 8/10

Presentation - I was delighted when the colourful and nicely presented plateful arrived looking cooked just right and couldn't wait to start eating it! 9/10

The food - A delicious quality pork sausage and bacon that were both cooked perfectly. The fried egg was great with a nice runny yolk, it went nicely on top of the excellent crispy fried bread. The hash brown was just right, crisp outside and fluffy in the middle. Juicy tomatoes full of flavour, tasty mushrooms and quality beans completed this highly enjoyable breakfast! 9/10

Value for money - The full english breakfast cost £6.95, was a real pleasure to eat and was worth every penny, especially as it includes tea/coffee refills too! 9/10

Veggie option - Veggie sausage, egg, beans, mushrooms, tomato, hash brown, fried bread or toast and tea or coffee refills for just £4.95.

Overall - Well worth a visit just to see the beautiful building and great interior but when the breakfast is this good you just have to try that too! The breakfasts are served all day and the tea/coffee refills is a great idea. I was really impressed and look forward to returning again next time I am in Wymondham. Give Station Bistro a look, you won't be disappointed! 9/10

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Corner Cafe - Norwich

(Formerly Cafe Selin)

121 Magdalen street

Breakfast available all day

Cafe Selin had turned into Corner Cafe so I decided to pop in and try it out.

Inside remained pretty much the same.

The menu looked to be quite similar too.

The coffee came with the morning breakfast which cost £3.10

I couldn't believe my eyes when the plate was put in front of me!

The toast came with the breakfast and appeared to be the most sane part of it.

The sorry looking exploded sausage arrived with a very unhappy looking fried egg..

I had originally planned to pop into Greggs in Anglia Square for a bacon roll and a coffee but when I arrived I realised I was too late and they stopped serving bacon rolls at 11am. I started heading home wondering what to eat instead and suddenly noticed that Cafe Selin (review here) on Magdalen Street was now Corner Cafe. It looked the same inside and I wasn't sure whether the same people were running it still or not. They were serving breakfast all day so I decided to pop in to see if the food had changed or not...

Upon entering - Inside looked exactly the same as before, the only noticeable difference was the rebranded menu, most of the items on that were the same as before so perhaps the owners had simply decided to change the name of the cafe. There are lots of places to sit and each table has a menu and selection of sauces, there is a large menu above the counter and one in the window too. Place your order and pay at the counter and everything is bought over when it is ready. 7/10

Service - The lady taking my order seemed friendly and cheerful when taking my order. First the coffee arrived and after a further 10 minutes or so I spotted her bringing the breakfast, toast and cutlery over. When the breakfast was put in front of me I didn't know whether to laugh or cry, it was a very sorry looking sight indeed and it looked like something was missing. She apologised  profusely telling me that the sausage had exploded and another was on its way. About 5 minutes later a very strange looking sausage arrived on a plate with an extra egg. She apologised further telling me she had cooked me an extra egg and offered me more toast on the house. The whole thing felt like a bit of a shambles really and items arriving late is never a good thing.  4/10

Contents - 1 sausage, 1 bacon, 2 fried eggs, beans, 2 slices of toast & butter and a hot drink. 4/10

Presentation - The main plate had a dollop of beans and a perfectly round and well over cooked fried egg that looked like some kind of caramalised desert, the bacon had broken into 2 pieces and was well spread out on the plate to try and hide the fact that there was so little on it. The 2nd side plate that arrived later had an even more over cooked fried egg that sat next to a quite alien looking exploded hot dog sausage that had been cooked to replace the first exploding sausage. The toast on plate number 3 at least looked reasonable. 3/10

The food - The barely recognisable hot dog sausage had been cooked for too long and although reasonable in the middle the outside was incredibly tough and too crispy. The fried eggs were as tough as old boots, well overcooked and it was like chewing on an old dry sponge. The bacon was fairly nice and the toast was average. 3/10

Value for money - £3.10 is a great price for a basic cooked breakfast with toast and a hot drink but it was far from enjoyable and totally overcooked leaving me wishing I hadn't bothered. 3/10 

Veggie option - Yes, 2 veggie breakfasts are available on the menu.

Overall -  A nice enough looking cafe still but this was nothing like my 1st visit when it was Cafe Selin, the food was overcooked and unenjoyable to eat. I was the only customer there and I had ordered the most basic breakfast on the menu so why it was such a nightmare for them to cook for me is a mystery. Such a shame it has gone downhill and not a place I would recommend for breakfast. I just hope they can turn it round and get things back on track again. 4/10

Saturday, 7 July 2012

Fry up themed wedding food

On 23rd June 2012 I got married and me and my lovely wife decided it would be fun to have fry up themed food at our wedding reception. My only regret is that I didn't take more photos of the food but here is a small selection of what was created for us.

 The room was transformed with a classic cafe feel to it.

Fried quail egg, bacon and black pudding canapes. 

 Sausage, mushroom, bacon and bean canapes.

 Tomato, bacon, sausage and mushroom kebabs.

The fantastic cake was created by Vanilla Clouds Bakery

 Icing sausages hung from the edge of the cake and it was surrounded by jelly fried eggs.

 Around the base was a stack of mini cake ice creams.

The ice creams were truffle cake centered and coated in white chocolate, real cones were used.