Saturday, 31 May 2014

Little Chef - (A47) Peterborough

A47 Westbound

Open 7 days a week
7am - 10pm

Breakfast available all day

I had spotted this Little Chef on the way to the festival so decided to stop here on the way home.

 The interior was nice and clean unlike us who were covered in festival mud!

 It was going to have to be the olympic breakfast for me.

The fairly bland Americano cost £2.39.

A nice selection of quality sauces arrived just before the food.

The Olympic breakfast cost £7.99 and was a fairly decent size.

 The eggs were as close to perfect as you can get.

The potato slices were crisp and golden, there were not many beans in that pot though.

Quite nice fried bread, an uninspiring sausage and very bland tomato.

Back in 2012 I had stopped at Chicklade Little Chef on the way back from Beautiful Days Festival, I ate a fairly impressive breakfast there but sadly it has now closed down. My wife and I were now travelling back from Bearded Theory Festival, we had got stuck in some mud getting off the festival site so were fairly muddy ourselves. I had decided to stop at this Little Chef a few days before as I spotted it on the way to the festival. We pulled into the car park, stamped our wellies hoping to shift some of the mud and headed inside..

Upon entering - A fairly large dining area looking out onto the car park outside, the counter and kitchen are located at the back looking out onto the dining area. Menu's are found on the tables and sauces arrive once you have placed your order. Take a seat, wait for your order to be taken and pay on your way out. It was certainly a nice enough place to take a break from driving and enjoy a breakfast. 7/10

Service - Although the service here was friendly and efficient the upselling was evident and became a bit annoying by the end. We first ordered the hot drinks and was offered orange juice, shortly after that the waitress returned to take our food order. I went for the Olympic breakfast but turned down the offer of upgrading with an extra of black pudding. My wife chose the veggie breakfast and accepted the upgrade of extra mushrooms. The drinks arrived first followed by a selection of sauces and finally the food. During the meal the waitress returned to ask if everything was ok, before leaving she tried selling us more hot drinks, we declined the offer. At the end we paid on the way out, lots of the bills lined up ready had lollipops on them, we were not offered one though.. I was delighted that they were happy for us to be there covered in mud but soon became quite tired of the constant upselling, I hadn't encountered this at Chicklade. 4/10

Contents - 1 sausage, 2 bacon, 2 fried eggs, sauteed potatoes, mushrooms, half a tomato, beans and fried bread. 7/10

Presentation - The fried bread was blocking some of the breakfast when it arrived but there was no doubt about it, those eggs looked amazing! The sauteed potatoes were looking nice but the tomato and mushrooms were looking a bit sorry for themselves. 6/10

The food - The sausage was very soft and spongy but just above economy status so was mildly enjoyable, the bacon was cooked quite nicely and seemed fairly average. The sauteed potatoes were excellent with a nice crisp outer edge. The best part of the breakfast was the pair of perfectly fried eggs, I ate them on top of the lightly fried bread and let the nice runny yolk soak in to it. The tomato tasted of virtually nothing so after one small taste I left it. The beans were ok and the mushrooms cut into really small pieces were average. 6/10

Value for money - £10.38 for an olympic breakfast with a coffee seemed quite steep to me, slightly better value for money could be found a few miles away at The Chill Out Restaurant. 4/10

Veggie option - Vegetarian olympic breakfast - £7.99 or vegetarian early starter at £6.29.
Overall - Not a bad breakfast but I have certainly eaten much better ones and seem to recall enjoying the breakfast at Chicklade Little Chef much more. We were made to feel welcome despite being covered in mud but the upselling here was very evident and a tad annoying. 5.5/10

- Update, May 2015 - 

Exactly one year since my last visit and we find ourselves stopping off here once again on the way home from Bearded Theory Festival. Not much had changed here except the menu now offered The Royal Breakfast, I didn't fanct eating steak though so ordered the Olympic breakfast with extra black pudding.

It was certainly a decent size and once again the eggs looked really good.

Certainly a much needed breakfast and I managed to finish it. I was still unimpressed with the sausage and the tomatoes looked really slushy, they did at least have plenty of flavour though.

My wife's vegetarian early starter with extra mushrooms, she said it was quite nice.

Thursday, 29 May 2014

Chill Out Restaurant - Guyhirn (A47)

PE13 4AD

Breakfast served all day

 Keep an eye out for the sign on the A47 between Guyhirn and Thorney.

 There is plenty of parking space and breakfasts are served all day.

 The spacious restaurant has plenty of tables.

The counter and kitchen look out on to the restaurant.

 Our drink order was taken first, the dessert menu was very tempting!

I was here for breakfast though and it was going to have to be the "A47 Big One"

Coffee usually costs £1.75 but as I was ordering breakfast it was included in the price.

A basic condiment stack but nice to see a sugar pourer and sauces are available upon request.

 The A47 big one arrived at the table looking very bright and colourful.

The fried bread was excellent and arrived on a separate plate.

 I chose tinned tomatoes, I really like them. The sausages seemed fairly cheap but tasted quite nice.

Nice to see some black pudding, those fried eggs looked a bit strange though.

 The vegetarian breakfast cost £7.50 and included toast or fried bread.

My wife and I couldn't decide whether to head off to Bearded Theory Festival on Thursday afternoon or Friday morning, heavy rain forecast on Thursday night made our decision for us in the end. Safe in the knowledge we would need breakfast somewhere on the A47 on Friday morning I decided where we would stop before leaving home. Chill Out Restaurant was at the side of the A47 about halfway into our journey and tripadvisor reviews suggested it was worth stopping at. We left Norwich fairly early and headed off on the A47 with the sun shining, we both started to get really hungry but thankfully a sign telling us the Chill Out was just ahead was visible in the distance..

Upon entering - There are plenty of parking spaces as you would expect from a roadside eatery. We started off by trying to enter by the exit but no handle on the door made this impossible, eventually some other customers started pointing to the other side which we assumed must be the entrance. The entrance is indeed around the back and there also some toilets in the lobby before entering the restaurant. The large dining area has plenty of tables, all laid out with placemat, menu, serviettes, sugar, salt and pepper. Take a seat and somebody will be along to take your order, sauces are available on request and you pay on the way out at the counter. It was certainly clean enough inside and although the decor looked a bit dated it was a a nice enough place to eat in with a decent view of the A47. 6/10

Service - The staff team here are friendly and get the job done nicely so you can be on your way again without any fuss. As we entered our drinks order was taken and we were given time to look over the menu. When the drinks arrived we placed our food order and was given tomato and toast/fried bread options. There was a hive of activity in the kitchen and before long our breakfasts arrived followed by the toast and fried bread. We were offered sauces and asked if everything was ok a bit later. We paid at the counter on our way out and was given a mint for the journey. 8/10

Contents - 2 sausages, 2 bacon, 2 fried eggs, 2 hash browns, 1 slice black pudding, mushrooms, tomatoes, beans, fried bread and a hot drink. 9/10

Presentation - The colourful selection of breakfast items was placed quite nicely onto the plate but anyone that breaks into a sweat if the eggs and beans are touching would have been sweating buckets. This is not something that bothers me luckily although the look of the eggs were causing some concern, not the prettiest fried eggs I had ever seen. 6/10

The food - The sausages were no award winners but were at least fairly enjoyable with a relatively firm texture, they reminded me a bit of a Richmond sausage. The bacon was tasty enough and nicely browned and the black pudding was fairly dry with average flavour. Although a tad unsightly the eggs tasted ok but one of the yolks had set firm, I ate the eggs with the star of the show which was the excellent fried bread, golden and crispy but not drenched in oil. Juicy but intact tinned tomatoes were enjoyable as were the the crispy hash browns, the beans were fairly standard. Not amazing but certainly an enjoyable enough breakfast that kept me going till late afternoon. 7/10

Value for money - Roadside eateries are generally expensive so £8.95 for the A47 big one which included a hot drink seemed about average. 5/10

Veggie option - Vegetarian sausage, 2 hash browns, 2 fried eggs, tinned or fresh tomatoes, mushrooms, beans, fried bread or toast and a hot drink cost £7.50

Overall - Trying to find a decent fry up roadside can be quite difficult but this place seemed fairly good. A clean and spacious place to dine with good service and a fairly nice breakfast. The fried bread was excellent and the fresh/tinned tomato option was a nice touch. If you are heading out on the A47 towards Peterborough then it is certainly worth considering.7/10

Sunday, 18 May 2014

The Muddy Cup - Norwich

(Under new ownership, read the latest review here)

12 Distillery Square

Opening hours
Monday to Friday - 8am till 5pm
Saturday - 9am till 5pm
Sunday - 9am till 4pm

Breakfast served all day

The Muddy Cup had recently opened in Distillery Square.

Inside had quite a traditional/kitsch look.

On a day like this though we couldn't resist sitting outside in the sunshine.

The menu offered a good selection of breakfast options, I was hungry so went for the Muddy Cup breakfast with two of everything for £7.

First the drinks arrived, the stripey paper straws in the orange juice was a nice touch!

Another nice touch was the tasty little biscuit that came with the filter coffee.

The cutlery arrived in a hessian pouch complete with serviette.

 Quality Heinz ketchup and no mistaking the salt and pepper!

 I was really impressed when the food arrived.

Here it is from a different angle.

The really big sausages were "Old Norfolk" variety from P.B George next door, they tasted amazing.

Bacon and egg cupcakes made a nice change, I really liked them.

 The hash browns were a tad soft on the outside but tasted great with a hint of onion.

The fried bread was light and crispy, perfect to dip into the egg yolks.

The veggie breakfast cost £5.25

The Muddy Cup had recently opened in Distillery Square (off Dereham Road) and I was keen to visit for breakfast. With the sun shining outside my wife and I headed to Distillery Square to see what was on offer..

Upon entering - There are a selection of tables inside and more can be found outside, we chose to sit outside today as the sun was shining. The interior has a nice traditional/kitsch look with wooden tables and bright blue chairs, there is also a two seater sofa if you fancy getting more comfortable with your coffee. There is full table service so place your order at the counter giving your table number. The cutlery and a serviette arrives in a hessian pouch, a biscuit comes with the coffee and a stripey paper straw with the orange juice, all nice little touches! 8/10

Service - The friendly staff team made us very welcome and ensured we were well looked after. We placed our order when we arrived and took a seat outside, first the drinks arrived and the food followed shortly after that along with cutlery, salt and pepper. We were offered sauces and asked if everything was ok during the meal. By the time we left the cafe was filling up with customers and the staff were keeping on top of things nicely. 9/10

Contents - 2 sausages, 2 bacon and egg cupcakes, 2 hash browns, mushrooms, tomatoes, beans and fried bread. 9/10

Presentation - The breakfast certainly looked impressive when it arrived with the large sausages following the curve of the plate beautifully. This was the first time I had been served bacon and egg cupcakes, they looked great and sat proudly in the centre of the plate. The tomatoes and mushrooms looked delicious and the beans were served in a separate pot, this was handy as I wanted them on top of some fried bread and I was able to pour them on easily. A sprig of parsley on top of the egg finished it off nicely. 9/10

The food - I loved the "Old Norfolk" sausages from the butchers next door, P B George. They were a very generous sized sausage cooked nicely with an excellent texture and stunning flavour. The bacon and eggs baked together seemed to work really well, both yolks were nice and runny allowing me to dip the fried bread into them. Fried bread often seems so full of oil but the way this had been lightly fried produced a nice light crunch. I like finding a hint of onion inside hash browns and this is just what I found here, they were not as crunchy on the outside as I like but they did taste great. The beans were piping hot, the deep red tomatoes were full of flavour and the chunky cut mushrooms were nicely cooked and delicious. A great breakfast that was a real pleasure to eat! 9/10

Value for money - The large Muddy Cup breakfast cost £7 and was well worth it, especially with such amazing sausages! Coffee was just £1, this included a small biscuit and orange juice was just 70p. 9/10

Veggie option - Quorn sausage, free range egg, hash brown, beans, tomato, mushrooms, toast or fried bread. £5.25

Overall - Sitting outside here in the sunshine eating this excellent breakfast was a great way to start the day. It felt relaxing here and the friendly staff knew what needed doing and were doing it very efficiently. There are now lots of places in Norwich to go for a decent breakfast and The Muddy Cup is one of them. The bacon and egg cupcakes make a nice change and the "Old Norfolk" sausages just have to be tried. A great place that is definitely worth visiting for breakfast! 9/10

Saturday, 17 May 2014

Woodgrove Cafe - Norwich

2 Woodgrove Parade

Opening Hours
Monday to Friday - 9am till 8pm
Saturday - 9am - 9pm
Sunday - 9am - 6pm

Parking available outside

Breakfast available all day

 Woodgrove Cafe can be found north of the city on Woodgrove Parade.

It's open everyday and the breakfast is available all day.

 Inside is spotlessly clean, it's fully licensed so alcohol is available with your meal.

It really reminded me of cafe/bars I had visited whilst on holiday in Barcelona.

 I chose the more comfortable seating area.

 There was just one cooked breakfast option available at a very reasonable £4.45.

 I looked at the Lithuanian menu, the food sounded really delicious, I look forward to returning soon to try some!

The coffee was fantastic costing just £1.89.

 The neat arrangement on the table contained everything I was going to need.

The traditional British breakfast was a decent enough size for the money fans of a quality sausage may well despair.

 The pair of economy sausages were very spongy textured.

The hash browns were cooked nicely and there was no shortage of beans.

 The fried egg wasn't looking great but it did reveal a surprise.

 Underneath the egg was a hidden slice of bacon. The mushrooms were excellent and on this occasion I chose brown sauce over ketchup, it made a nice change!

Although browned all over the egg did reveal a runny yolk.

I was in Chapelfield Gardens a couple of weeks back watching the Vaga Band when a friend came up and told me about Woodgrove Cafe. He was telling me how much he liked it and that the Lithuanian food served there was incredibly nice. Woodgrove Cafe had been on my "places to visit soon" list for a long time and this was just the reminder I need to call in there for breakfast..

Upon entering - The spotlessly clean interior reminded me so much of some of the cafe/bars I have visited in and around Barcelona, whenever my mind wandered I suddenly remembered I was in fact in Norwich! There are tables and chairs to the left and booths with softer seats to the right. Towards the rear is a counter with a selection of alcohol on offer, order here, pay and take a seat. Each table has a decorative plant, sauces, menu and serviettes, cutlery arrives with the food. There is a TV on the wall which had the BBC news on whilst I was there, the volume was just right and it was perfect to watch whilst waiting for the food to arrive. Everything felt nicely placed here within an environment I really enjoyed spending time in. 9/10

Service - The staff here seemed really friendly and welcoming, I arrived just as they had opened and when I placed my order I was told there would be a short wait which was ok with me. The drink arrived first, the chap bringing it over said "enjoy your coffee", I certainly did, it was a great coffee! I only waited around 20 minutes from placing my order for the food to arrive. 7/10

Contents - 2 sausages, 1 slice of bacon, 1 fried egg, 2 hash browns, half a tomato, 3 mushrooms, beans and a slice of buttered toast. 7/10

Presentation - The food had been placed neatly onto the plate, I can spot an economy catering sausage a mile off though and the pair on the plate were the first thing to catch my eye. The fried egg was browned both sides from the griddle but everything else was looking pretty good. 6/10

The food - The sausages were piping hot but with a very soft spongy texture inside and fairly bland taste found in this economy variety. The slice of bacon was crispy in places and tasted good. The fried egg was well browned both sides but tasted nice enough and produced a runny yolk when I cut through it. The tomato was fairly solid with a nice flavour and the beans were plentiful and piping hot. I had never experienced toast this thin, it tasted good though! The highlight for me was the crispy hash browns and beautifully cooked mushrooms. 6/10

Value for money - £4.45 for the traditional British breakfast seemed very reasonable. A small Americano cost £1.89. 7/10

Veggie option - No

Overall - Possibly the cleanest establishment I have ever visited and I loved the vibe too. The breakfast was certainly good value for money but not one that will stick in my mind as I do like a quality sausage. What will stick in my mind though is the need to return and try something from the Lithuanian menu as I feel certain that this is the speciality here and I suspect it is excellent. The price of alcohol was really reasonable too so an evening meal here is on the cards soon! 7/10