Saturday, 27 December 2014

Highlights of 2014

My first breakfast outing of the year was at  Mustard Coffee Bar in Norwich, it was unusual for me to go somewhere that didn't serve a Full English but their breakfast ciabatta was excellent. I didn't get so lucky though at Coast to Coast in Norwich's Riverside complex, the food took ages to arrive and was fairly poor when it finally made an appearance. Money was knocked off the bill at least but still a reminder of how standards at chains are just not the same as independents.  

January's highlight was a new independent tea rooms that had opened in Bungay, Busby's Tea Hive. The beautiful and traditional tea rooms had excellent service and they served an amazing breakfast earning them a place in the recommended section.

 A free breakfast offer lead me and my wife back again to Riverside in Norwich, Chiquito to be precise. Could this chain fair any better than last months breakfast disaster at nearby Coast to Coast I wondered? Sadly not it seemed, shabby looking eggs and forgotten items was the offering here. The popular Unthank Kitchen in Norwich was one of the first inspections I had done when starting the blog so I went back to re-review it again. I was hearing about a new cafe that had opened at Norwich Prison so went along to investigate and discovered the excellent Britannia Cafe. My final visit in February was Cafe 338 in London, they served a great breakfast with a decent slab of bubble & squeak, lovely!

February's highlight was Mandy's Diner in Brooke. They had researched my blog to find out what people want on a breakfast, this had paid off well and they entered the recommended section.

A very quiet start to the month with my first inspection taking place in Northampton at Buddies, an American diner most memorable for serving beans in a separate polystyrene pot. Next up was the Pig & Whistle in Norwich, claiming to serve the city centre's best freshly cooked breakfast. I wouldn't say the best but certainly very good indeed.

March's highlight was not for the faint hearted and more memorable for being a disaster! I visited Bowthorpe Cafe in Norwich where the breakfast was served with an f word and wasn't a pretty sight. Chosen as a highlight purely because of the sheer volume of people who read and shared the review causing blog stats to rise immensely in 24 hours! The cafe has since closed down and I really hope that if it continues to run as a cafe it reopens as somewhere the people of Bowthorpe can be proud of.

They may only serve breakfast on a Sunday but the breakfast served at Louis Deli was amazing! Sadly they chose not to feature in the recommended section despite asking for a sticker. This prompted me to change the rules for receiving a recommended sticker as wasting them was not something I was willing to do anymore. Cafe on the corner in Norwich's Anglia Square didn't look particularly great and a visit confirmed it wasn't. Towards the end of the month I was back in London again, this time I discovered a really nice breakfast at Sam's Cafe on Bethnal Green Road. Realising I had now reviewed plenty of London cafes I created a new section on the blog, London breakfasts. My final inspection in April was in Wymondham where I discovered a fairly decent breakfast at Fairland Diner

April's highlight wasn't breakfast related but was much needed in Norwich, a decent pub and music venue. The Owl Sanctuary opened it's doors for the first time in April and has provided many excellent nights out for me and my friends. It also continues to put on some amazing live bands leaving us really spoilt for choice. What an amazing place run by lovely people, long live the Owl Sanctuary!!

My first inspection in May was at All Bar One in Norwich where I discovered a fairly decent breakfast experience, fairly shabby looking eggs though.  Woodgrove Cafe in Norwich may not have served the most amazing breakfast but the Lithuanian food on their menu sounded delicious. Next it was time to hit the road in my camper van for Bearded Theory Festival in the Midlands. On the way there I stopped off for a pretty nice breakfast at Chill Out Restaurant near Peterborough on the A47. On the return journey we stopped off covered in mud at Little Chef near Peterborough for a slightly disappointing breakfast.

 May's highlight was without a doubt The Muddy Cup in Norwich. An impressive looking breakfast complete with bacon and egg cupcakes that sent them into the recommended section of the blog.

A trip to Cambridge early in June was where I stumbled across Don Pasquale, the service here was terrible so we made a hasty exit to nearby Tatties. I was delighted to hear that The Golden Star in Norwich was now serving breakfast, I went along and left very impressed. Later in the month I found myself in Ipswich eating a fairly nice breakfast at The Grumpy Mole. There was lots of excitement back in Norwich with the opening of Bills, I left feeling robbed for a very disappointing breakfast that wasn't anywhere near as nice as I had experienced at their Brighton branch a few years back.

June's highlight was the launch of the Fry Up Inspector breakfast at Pandora's Kitchen in Norwich. The breakfast was added to the new menu and I was asked for some input into what was included on it and how it should look. The delicious breakfast has been very popular and they even included some information about me and my blog inside the menu, thanks Pandora's Kitchen!!

 July was all about the 2014 Spanish Food Adventure. I managed to inspect a really nice Lebanese inspired breakfast at Gatwick Airport on the way at Comptoir Libanais in the north terminal. For the following 8 days though it was all about the food I experienced in Calella and Barcelona.

 On the way home from Boomtown Fair I stopped off at Eat In on the M3 for a fairly disappointing breakfast and no end of queueing. Things didn't get much better at Charlie's on Norwich Market, an email from a customer telling me they served the best breakfast in Norwich prompted my visit, utter nonsense though!  Towards the end of the month things were looking up with the discovery of River Garden in Norwich. The breakfast was excellent, the staff were friendly but sadly the management were a bit strange and a tad rude..

August's highlight was the biggest thing to ever happen to the blog! An interview with the BBC was published on the 9th August (I was at Boomtown Fair at the time) and page views on the blog in 24 hours reached 249,500!! Over the following week the story spread onto a number of other websites including The Metro and Buzzfeed, the full list of publicity can be found here.

Ruth's Kitchen had just opened in Norwich, I went along and tried the Jerusalem breakfast which was delicious and it was nice to chat to the staff who were very passionate about what they were serving. People were wondering who served breakfast in Norwich on a Sunday so I created the Breakfasts in Norwich on a Sunday list to make a little life easier. My final inspection for a couple of weeks was a decent breakfast discovery at China Tang Tea House in Hethersett, I was about to head off to the other side of the world!

September's highlight was the launch of the Recommended trail map of Norwich. Everyone in the recommended section in Norwich would feature on the map which was beautifully hand drawn by Ella Goodwin Illustration.


October was dominated by one thing.. The most amazing place I had ever visited and the most incredible time ever, The Japanese Food Adventure! My trip to Japan covered 16 days and featured Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, Kobe and Nara. Part 2 will be happening in 2016, can't wait!

It was a year since Sergeant Sausage had reviewed The Earlham Arms in Norwich, I decided to visit myself and wasn't disappointed. A brief visit to Hingham in Norfolk lead to the discovery of a fairly bland breakfast at Chalfont's Tearoom. My search for perfection continued next into Ipswich, Central Canteen was quite a disappointing find though. A weekend in London planned at the end of November resulted in my most expensive breakfast yet at The Fox & Anchor, a truly hideous breakfast at City View Hotel and a delicious vegan breakfast at Black Cat Cafe.

November was a busy month consisting of 3 highlights which were..

Chris Avey's excellent final flourish breakfast. It was sad to see the Old Bakery Cafe in Norwich close it's doors for the last time but they certainly finished in style!

The excellent 1940's inspired "Winston" breakfast I enjoyed at Blighty Coffee in London. 

The Full House breakfast at House Cafe in Norwich, I stopped by for my favourite breakfast a couple of times in November and thoroughly enjoyed it as always each time!

On an inspection back in 2011 I lost almost all the photos I had taken at Frank's Bar in Norwich so returned again in December. I was hoping the score would increase but warm food and lack of space saw the score drop. I had given my favourite Norwich Chip shop a recommended sticker back in the summer. It was in December though that I wrote an article on Grosvenor Fish Bar explaining why I loved it so much. 

December's highlight was Sunny Side Up in Norwich. Formerly Birchy's Diner and Hall Road Diner it had been taken over by new management and renamed. The breakfast being served here was excellent and so nicely presented sending it straight into the recommended section.

One final highlight of 2014 happened on 27th December when the blog had received 1000000 page views since 2010! Thanks to everyone that reads the blog and follows what I do, the search for perfection continues into 2015..


  1. Please keep up the good work in 2015. Your reviews are invaluable, and each time I'm in Norwich I always make my way to The White Lion Cafe.

    1. Thanks Michael, sadly White Lion Cafe closes on 7th Jan :-(

    2. That is really bad news as it was pretty much my perfect breakfast.

      I will have to study the other reviews and try another.

      Thanks for letting me know.

  2. It's "its" both times, not "it's".