Sunday, 24 January 2016

Tesco - All day breakfast

A friend spotted these frozen all day breakfasts in Tesco and suggested I tried one. I was curious as I'd already tried Hunger Breaks Full monty in a tin (it was pretty grim) and wondered how Tesco's £1.16 all day breakfast compared.

It sat in the freezer for a few days before I decided to cook it for my lunch.

 The fat and salt levels were really high but this was highlighted on the packaging.

I decided to cook it in the microwave but could see afterwards why cooking it in the oven would be a much better option.

This is how it looked when it was still frozen, there was no sign of any bacon.

After 5 minutes I stirred the beans and popped it back in the microwave for another 3 minutes.

It was ready but I wasn't too excited about trying it, just look at that hash brown!

This is how it looked on the box.

I decided to serve it the same way as it was presented on the box. It was actually bigger than I was expecting once on the plate and the bacon had been hiding under the omelette and hash brown.

I really struggled to get the pale and sloppy hash brown onto the plate in one piece, this is why I should have cooked it in the oven. Eating it wasn't a particularly pleasant experience!

The sausage was really chewy and not particularly nice.

The omelette was very watery with little flavour.

The bacon was a bit better than I was expecting but like the sausage it was incredibly chewy.

The highlight was the beans, they tasted ok. For £1.16 it was a better option than the tinned breakfasts that are available and it was much better than Ryan Air's Getaway breakfast. Despite this though it wasn't particularly enjoyable and I wouldn't personally buy it again.

Friday, 22 January 2016

Revolucion de Cuba - Norwich

7-9 Queen Street

Brunch menu served every Saturday and Sunday

Revolucion de Cuba can be found on Queen Street close to Tombland.

A long bar runs along the back.

The main area is fairly dark with plenty of tables, the conservatory is much lighter and there's also a large garden at the rear.

The brunch menu is Cuban influenced but if you're partial to a Full English then the closest thing is the full grilled breakfast.

The cappuccino was great and cost £2.50, the small chocolate brownie was a really nice touch.

The rum sauce was really spicy so I grabbed a bottle of ketchup from a nearby table.

When the full brunch arrived I initially felt quite underwhelmed.

Here's an aerial view.

The highlight for me were the thick sliced mushrooms, really tasty!

The sausage was looking a tad burnt but it tasted nice enough and the tomato was ripe and juicy.

The streaky bacon was fairly nice.

A burnt lump was hitching a ride on a decent fried egg.

My wife suggested I asked for some butter but I decided to eat the toast as it was served. She was right though, it really did need some butter!

Huevos Rancheros was my wife's choice, she adores tomatoes but sadly there wasn't many on the plate. It usually comes with a fried egg but my wife asked to have it without one, she thoroughly enjoyed eating this.

A friend mentioned to me that Revolucion de Cuba were offering a free brunch, I realised it would be a Cuban influenced menu so wasn't expecting a full English breakfast but decided to give it a look anyway. Having emailed them I heard back really quickly confirming our table had been booked so we headed along there just after midday...

Upon entering - In the past I've found Revolucion de Cuba to be far too noisy for my liking but on this visit it was much more peaceful and relaxing. The vast seating area by the bar is fairly dark but there's more seating in the conservatory which benefits from plenty of natural light. It was far too cold to sit outside today but they do also have an impressive garden area and some tables out the front too. There's full table service and each table has menus, cutlery and condiments already on it. We had a table reserved in the area by the bar, it was a fairly relaxing and pleasant environment to enjoy a spot of food in. 7/10

Service - I couldn't fault the service here, we were welcomed and shown to our table as soon as we arrived. First we ordered some hot drinks and was then given time to decide what we wanted to eat from the brunch menu. Our drinks arrived on a wooden plank with a mini chocolate brownie, nice touch! Our order was taken next and a bottle of rum sauce was brought to the table, too hot for me but my wife loved it. Our food arrived in good time and during the meal we were asked if everything was ok. We asked for the bill at the end which was brought to the table and we left very impressed with the friendly and efficient service.  10/10

Contents - 1 large smoked sausage, 2 slices of streaky bacon, 1 fried egg, half a tomato, mushrooms and 2 slices of toast. 5/10

Presentation - On the plus side the tomato looked really ripe and the fried egg was right where I wanted it, on top of the toast. I did wonder why the toast was served without butter but decided to try it this way in case I was missing out on something. On the downside the sausage looked quite burnt in places and a small burnt lump sat on top of the fried egg. I felt quite visually disappointed but my gut feeling was that it could well taste better than it looked. 5/10

The food - The smoked sausage was quite nice and made a change from a standard pork sausage, despite being black in places it didn't seem to affect the taste. The streaky bacon was fairly enjoyable and the fried egg was in good shape with a runny yolk. I enjoyed the delicious thick cut mushrooms, for me this was the highlight of the breakfast. The tomato was really enjoyable too, full of flavour and nicely ripened. I'm not sure if toast served without butter was intentional or an error. One thing is for sure though it was way too dry, I resorted to eating the tomato on top of one slice and the egg on the other slice. Knowing this wasn't going to be a full English breakfast I wasn't overly concerned at the time about there being no beans or butter on the toast. In hindsight though it really could have done with both to give it some much needed moisture. 6/10

Value for money - The usual cost of this breakfast is £7, I was lucky to get it free though during their free brunch promotion. N/A 

Veggie option - Some vegetarian options are available on the menu. 

Overall - A pleasant experience in a spacious venue with excellent service. The breakfast was quite nice but it did seem really dry in places. I was surprised to see no veggie full breakfast on the menu, my wife doesn't like avocado so she was left with just one vegetarian option (Huevos Rancheros) but she did really enjoy it. The brunch didn't really excite me but I've eaten excellent burritos and drunk some great cocktails at Revolucion de Cuba in the past. 6.5/10


Monday, 18 January 2016

Cafe on the lane - South Woodford

180 George Lane
South Woodford
E18 1AY

Breakfast served all day

Opening hours
Monday to Friday - 8am till 5pm
Saturday - 9am till 5pm
Sunday - 9am till 3pm

South Woodford is in North East London and can be easily reached on the central line.

Cafe on the lane is roughly 5 minutes walk from the tube station.

The outside seating area here looks great, with temperatures struggling to get above freezing though we head straight inside.

The kitchen is located at the back, a row of small tables line each side of the cafe.

A good selection of breakfasts are available all day.

Don't forget to check out the surprise guests, the bubble & squeak is the star of the show! 

Everything you need is already on the table.

A large Americano cost £1.80, a great mug of coffee and served piping hot.

The headliner with black pudding and bubble & squeak added as extras came to £10.60.

Here's a birds eye view of this impressive looking breakfast.

On the left side was a pair of Cumberland sausages, some toast and a nicely cooked fried egg that really didn't need to be garnished.

Taking centre stage was black pudding, mushrooms, tomatoes and some nicely reduced beans.

Over on the right side was the bacon and some seriously impressive bubble & squeak.

The delicious Cumberland sausages were plump and juicy.

The bubble & squeak is served in two hefty slabs, the best I've ever tasted for sure!

My wife chose the vegetarian summer solstice breakfast costing £6.50, she swapped the egg for extra mushrooms.

Ever since I spotted Cafe on the lane's headliner breakfast over on The Fry Up Police facebook page I've been keen to head along there to try it for myself. My wife and I had a day in London planned so we caught the 6.30am train from Norwich to London to ensure we arrived in time for breakfast. Once at Liverpool Street station we simply jumped on the central line to South Woodford...

Upon entering - The outside decking area really caught my eye, it looked like a great place to sit on a nice warm day, today was freezing though so we headed inside. The kitchen is located at the rear with a row of tables on each side of the cafe. The tables were already set with menus, cutlery wrapped in serviettes and condiments, sauce is brought over later. Once seated somebody comes along and takes your order, there's full table service here, before leaving just head over to the counter to settle your bill. To start with we were the only customers here and there were issues with the heating so a pair of oil filled radiators had been brought in as a temporary measure. We sat beside one of the radiators which kept us warm enough, the other one didn't seem to be working but another customer arrived and seemed to get it working. Before long another customer arrived, a lady in her 70's that had just celebrated her birthday last Thursday and was off out to lunch later in the day, she'd lived in the area for 50 years. Something immediately became apparent here, everyone was so friendly and enjoyed chatting, this was clearly an important place for locals to meet up and chat. I really enjoyed the time we spent here, a real pleasure chatting to the locals over breakfast too! 9/10

Service -  We were made to feel welcome as soon as we got through the door, the staff explained the temporary heating problem so we choose a table next to the portable radiator and were told blankets were available too if we wanted any. We were offered drinks first and once they arrived our order was taken. I ordered the headliner with extra black pudding and bubble & squeak, my wife ordered the summer solstice and was able to swap the egg for extra tomatoes. Everything was going smoothly until a backstage pass (scrambled eggs and smoked salmon on toasted sourdough) arrived at the table, an error had been made and my wife's veggie breakfast hadn't been started yet. The staff were really apologetic though and offered her a free cup of tea which was a nice gesture. Moments later my headliner breakfast arrived but there was no bubble & squeak on the plate, this had been forgotten but soon arrived on a side plate. I then went on to eat nearly half of my breakfast before my wife's finally arrived, these kind of mix ups usually really frustrate me as I like to be eating at the same time as my wife. On this occasion though it really wasn't the end of the world as the food was so good and the staff dealt with it the best they could getting the correct breakfasts to us as quickly as possible. We headed to the counter to pay before leaving and was asked if everything was ok. 8/10

Contents - 2 sausages, 2 bacon, 2 slices of black pudding, bubble & squeak, 1 fried egg, mushrooms, beans, half a tomato and a slice of buttered toast. 9/10

Presentation - The Headliner breakfast with both extras is certainly an amazing sight. It sits beautifully together on the large oval plate with elements that other breakfasts often lack, nice stodgy beans and impressive slabs of bubble and squeak. I really didn't think the green garnish on the egg was needed at all though, this breakfast is visually strong enough without it. 9/10

The food - The Cumberland sausages were evenly browned with a firm texture and great taste, an excellent choice of sausage for this breakfast. The bacon was nicely griddled and the black pudding crisp outside with a soft centre, just how I like it. The egg was beautifully cooked, It went on top of the toast and I cut into the yolk, it seeped out proudly. The tomato was nicely cooked and full of flavour and the beans were just how I like them, in a nicely reduced sauce. The highlight for me though was without a doubt the bubble and squeak, a delicious blend of potato and veg with a nice coarse texture and browned both sides. Without a doubt the best bubble & squeak I've ever had the pleasure of eating! It was all served piping hot and it really couldn't have been any better than it was so a well deserved 10/10

Value for money - The Headliner cost £6.95, black pudding £1.25 and bubble & squeak £2.40 making a total price of £10.60. Quite an expensive breakfast but so far from your average breakfast it's certainly worth the price! 8/10

Veggie option - Summer solstice breakfast - £6.50
Bubble & squeak, 1 fried egg, mushrooms, beans, tomatoes and toasted sourdough. 

Overall - This place is certainly a breakfast hotspot that's well worth visiting, jump on the central line next time you're in London and head to South Woodford, you won't regret it! The mix up with the orders was no big deal as they dealt with it very efficiently. You'll feel right at home here as the staff and customers are really friendly and welcoming, this place has so much character and a really nice atmosphere. The main reason for visiting though is of course the breakfast, they're serving up a stunner here and it's home to the best bubble & squeak I've ever tried! 9/10


Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Woolf & Social - Norwich

21-23 Nelson Street

No longer serving breakfasts

Woolf & Social can be found almost opposite The Fat Cat on Nelson Street.

Brunch is available here from Friday to Sunday till 3pm so no need to get up at silly o'clock for a much needed fry up after a late night out.

The handcrafted bar here is unique and really impressive.

The wolf keeps a careful eye on everything going on.

I loved the chairs here, they took me right back to my school days.

The painted tables, church pews and artwork on the walls come together beautifully in this stunning restaurant interior.

There's even a small table and chairs to be found inside the toilet!

The brunch menu will please both meat eaters and vegetarians. I hear the chicken strips here are amazing, I didn't try them on this visit though.

Vintage cutlery arrived just before the food. 

Salt, pepper and ketchup are available on request.

Filter coffee cost £2, it wasn't very hot though.

The full English breakfasts include toast served with real butter. My wife didn't want her toast as she isn't eating bread at the moment so I got to eat it all, bonus!

The double English breakfast with black pudding cost £9. I wondered why it didn't come with mushrooms like the vegetarian breakfast does, I tried one of my wife's mushrooms and they were excellent.

The highlight of this breakfast were the meats, so delicious!

The sausages had a nice firm and meaty texture.

I usually like my fried eggs lightly cooked on top, these were ok though and I enjoyed them on top of the toast.

 This was a seriously tasty tomato.

The final item was beans, hot but quite juicy.

My wife ordered the small vegetarian breakfast which cost £5, she swapped the egg for an extra sausage.

Late last year I discovered that the The Reading Rooms on Nelson Street had closed it's doors for the final time. This once great breakfast spot had since opened again as Woolf & Social and the good news was they were serving cooked breakfasts too. With a quiet weekend in Norwich planned my wife and I decided to head along there to try it out. I'd heard the fried chicken here was amazing but that would have to wait till another time as I had sausages and bacon on my mind...

Upon entering - The restaurant consists of two dining rooms, the first one is by the entrance and is where the impressive hand crafted bar can be found. The other dining room at the front has much more natural light flooding in through the large windows, this is where we chose to sit. The bare wooden floorboards, church pew, and tables painted in striking patterns make for a very stylish interior. The colours used here work beautifully together to create a modern and very clean looking environment which compliments the artwork on the walls and the music being played. Once seated there's full table service, simply settle your bill on your way out at the bar. A menu is brought over when you arrive followed by vintage cutlery and serviettes. Condiments and sauces are offered once the food has arrived. Certainly a beautifully designed restaurant and a nice relaxing place to enjoy a breakfast. 9/10

Service - We were greeted with a smile and told we could sit wherever we wanted, once seated, menus were brought over to us. My wife's currently not eating eggs so asked if she could swap the egg for something else, she also asked what type of vegetarian sausages were used here. The lady serving us was more than happy to find out and returned with good news, swapping items would be ok and Linda McCartney sausages are currently being served here. There wasn't a hot drinks menu but we were told that tea and filter coffee were available. My coffee wasn't piping hot so it was gone in a few gulps, my wife was happy with her tea though and was later offered more hot water and another tea bag (I should have gone for tea too!) Next the toast arrived, there wasn't much butter but we were told we could always ask for more if we needed it, my waistline was grateful for this as I always end up eating whatever is there usually! The cooked breakfasts arrived piping hot which was perfect as we had to then wait for the salt, pepper and ketchup to arrive. During the meal we were asked if everything was ok and the plates were cleared after we had finished. My only slight concerns were the coffee not being hot enough and I think it's always better to have condiments on the table before the food arrives so you can start eating straight away. Considering they've only recently opened these were only minor glitches and I was really impressed with the friendly and helpful service here. 8/10

Contents - 2 sausages, 3 bacon, 1 slice of black pudding, 2 fried eggs, tomatoes, beans and 2 slices of toast served with real butter. 8/10

Presentation - The meat sat proudly stacked on one side of the plate, the fried eggs covered most of the other side with beans and tomatoes surrounding them. The toast was served on one side plate with a knob of butter served on another. 8/10

The food - I'm going to start by mentioning the bacon, possibly the nicest bacon I've ever been served! These nicely browned bacon rashers tasted amazing, I popped all 3 slices between some buttered toast, covered them in ketchup and was in bacon heaven. The sausages were excellent too, really long and nicely cooked with a firm meaty texture, superb! The black pudding was a standard slice and the beans were in a fairly thin sauce. When it comes to fried eggs I always panic slightly at the sight of any uncooked egg white but despite initial concerns my mind was put at rest as I cut through the yolks. A pair of nice runny yolks seeped out without a trace of uncooked egg white, they were delicious eaten on top of the buttered toast. The tomatoes were nicely cooked and packed full of flavour, if only all tomatoes tasted this good. The toast was a fairly standard sliced white, evenly toasted and served with real butter. A very enjoyable breakfast with the bacon and sausages really standing out as being the highlight. 8/10

Value for money - The double English breakfast with black pudding cost £9. The price seemed fairly reasonable considering those amazing meats and the stunning environment you get to enjoy the food in. 7/10

Veggie option - Egg your way, tomato, beans, chestnut mushrooms and toast costs £5, double veggie costs £8. 

Overall - This is certainly a place that's well worth visiting for breakfast, the stunning bacon and sausages served here will ensure I return again. It seemed a bit strange to not have mushrooms on the Full English breakfast but I'm sure if you wanted some they could be added as an extra. The restaurant interior is stunning and the service is friendly, a great place to meet friends and enjoy the surroundings over a full English breakfast. 8/10