Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Jan's Country Kitchen - Mulbarton

Norwich Road
NR14 8DE 

Opening hours
Tuesday to Friday - 8.00am to 3.00pm
Saturday - 9.00am to 3.00pm

Jan's Country Kitchen can be easily seen from Norwich Road between Mulbarton and Swardeston so you shouldn't miss it. I forgot to take an exterior shot whilst there, this photo is from their facebook page. 

Next to the catering trailer where the food is prepared sits a rather nice wooden cafe building, I really liked it in here!

A large group had left just as I arrived so I had the place to myself, this was perfect for taking photos. 

The radio played in the background and there was a selection of newspapers available to read.

The ordering process was made clear on the front of the menu but I encountered full table service. I happily returned my mug and plate at the end when I went to pay though.

The menu featured a good selection of reasonably priced breakfasts including vegetarian options, all at a great price!

No corners were cut when it came to sauces, all top brands.

A large mug of coffee was included in the price of the breakfast.

As was a nice thick slice of toast served with real butter, I was given the choice of bread or toast and white or brown bread.

The Works breakfast looked impressive when it arrived, all this for just £6!

The bacon and sausages were excellent, both came from the nearby Paddocks Butchery

These pork sausages are a generous size and an excellent choice on a full English breakfast.

Really firm and meaty with a great taste.

A slice of Bury black pudding was a welcome sight.

A pair of free range eggs.

Both eggs had nice runny yolks.

You are given the option of fresh or tinned tomatoes, I chose tinned as they are a rare find served on breakfasts these days.

Beautifully cooked mushrooms.

I'd been talking about buying another bike for some time now, I'd cycled to work for 18 years and thoroughly enjoyed it. Since learning to drive back in 2006 though my cycling days seemed well and truly over. That was until I finally made the effort to buy a bike on ebay, it was just a case of collecting it from Fundenhall. I looked at the route to Fundenhall from Norwich thinking there must be a cafe stop on the way for breakfast. After researching it for a while the most tempting option appeared to be Jan's Country Kitchen near Mulbarton. I noticed on their facebook page that they were closing down in the near future so decided I'd stop for breakfast but not write a full review because of this. That was until I arrived at Jan's Country Kitchen, I liked what I saw and started taking photos right away!

Upon entering - As you pull off the main Norwich Road just outside Mulbarton there's a catering trailer and a large wooden cafe building which is Jan's Country Kitchen. There's plenty of space to park just behind the trailer next to a large greenhouse. The trailer is where everything is cooked and where you pay at the end, a delicious looking selection of pies and cakes are displayed on the counter. The wooden cafe building is a decent size with large windows allowing lots of natural light to flood in. There are different sized tables to chose from, each has a good selection of sauces, condiments and a menu in the centre. If you prefer sitting outside in the warmer weather then this is an option too. Bunting hangs from the walls, music plays in the background and there's a bundle of newspapers to choose from if you fancy a read. The menu offers a good choice of breakfast options and informs you to order at the counter, collect your food when your order is called out and return your mugs/plates when leaving. This all sounded perfectly reasonable to me although I was served at the table on this visit, more on that in the next section though. As a place to dine in I found the cafe building relaxing and comfortable. A large group left shortly after I arrived so I had the place to myself which made taking photographs much easier than usual. 8/10

Service - The two staff I encountered (I'm assuming one was Jan) were both really friendly and helpful. I asked if they were still serving breakfast and was told to take a seat in the cafe and decide what I wanted from the menu, somebody would come along shortly and take my order. The Works looked like the best option so I decided I'd order that, a bargain at just £6! Whilst placing my order I was given the choice of tea or coffee, tinned or fresh tomatoes and brown or white bread or toast. I didn't have to wait very long before the coffee arrived, shortly after that the toast arrived with some cutlery and a serviette. I'd just finished buttering my toast when the breakfast arrived, the timing here was spot on! Halfway through my breakfast somebody popped into the cafe to check everything was ok and once I'd finished I returned my plates and mug to the counter and settled my bill. 9/10

Contents - 2 sausages, 2 bacon, 1 slice of black pudding, 2 fried eggs, mushrooms, beans, fresh or tinned tomatoes, 1 slice of white or brown bread and butter or toast and tea, coffee or juice. 9/10

Presentation - It was served on a large round plate with the meats on one side and the wetter items the other side. The eggs laid on top looking fairly tidy with intact yolks and the toast was served on a side plate with two chunks of real butter. 7/10

The food - The Paddocks Butchery meats used on this breakfast were an excellent choice. Really big pork sausages with a firm juicy texture and nice thick slices of bacon, both were nicely browned and tasted superb. The Bury black pudding was cooked until crispy and the mushrooms were golden and juicy. The free range fried eggs were served with intact runny yolks and tasted delicious over the thick slice of toast covered in real butter. The beans were Heinz and the tomatoes tinned, I do love tinned tomatoes and loved having the option of choosing them over fresh tomatoes here.  I thoroughly enjoyed this breakfast, it was certainly the most impressive I'd ever been served from a catering trailer. 8/10

Value for money - £6 for a breakfast this good using quality ingredients which also includes toast and a hot drink is a real bargain and was worth every penny! 9/10

Veggie option - Yes although I'm not sure what it consisted of.

Overall - Jan's Country Kitchen is an impressive set up that's well worth visiting, you'd need to be quick though as the catering trailer is up for sale and it could close anytime. Great service, a really nice environment and an excellent full English breakfast at an incredible price made me so glad I finally made the trip out there. Jan told me that she plans to expand her homemade pie business once the cafe has closed, I'm sure this will be a huge success as the pies look delicious! 8.5/10   

Monday, 20 March 2017

Trafford Arms - Norwich

61 Grove Road

Breakfast served
Saturday and Sunday
10am till midday

The Trafford Arms can be found on Grove Road, about 10 minutes walk from St Stephens Street.

I used to drink here fairly regularly but this was my first visit in nearly ten years, it still looked exactly the same so felt quite familiar inside.

It's a good sized pub with plenty of tables and a large bar in the centre.

The breakfast menu is fairly straightforward and offers a vegetarian breakfast too. If you like double items on your breakfast it could get quite expensive though adding items at an additional £1 each. 

A cup of coffee cost £1.75

Salt and pepper is already on the table, sauces are offered after you've placed your order.

Hmm... Not the most generous portion of ketchup for two people.

When the Trafford breakfast arrived I felt slightly depressed. It looked quite small and I wasn't liking the plate it was served on.

The sausage was overcooked but quality meats were used and they tasted really nice. The beans were flooding the plate with too much juice but the roasted tomato tasted good.

The mushrooms were delicious, possibly cooked in butter.

The free range egg from Great Ellingham tasted superb and the fried bread was amazing.

 I popped the egg yolk over the golden slice of fried bread, a great combination.

My wife ordered the vegetarian breakfast but being vegan she swapped the egg for extra tomatoes. It arrived without mushrooms but once this was pointed out they were brought along later.

Almost a month had passed since my last review so I decided that I really should go out for breakfast somewhere. With so much of Norwich already covered on my blog my options were limited, even more so now as a vegan option is required for my wife. I researched a few places online and we decided to head along to The Trafford Arms on Grove Road. we were heading into the city anyway and it was only a short walk from St Stephens Street...

Upon entering - I spent many evenings at The Trafford Arms about ten years ago, as soon as I walked through the door it felt very familiar as it still looked pretty much the same as I'd remembered it. It's a traditional looking pub with plenty of tables to choose from and a large bar along the back wall. The menus can be found on each table so once you've decided what you would like, simply place your order and pay at the bar. Everything is brought over when it's ready and sauces are offered to you before the food arrives. We asked for some ketchup but were quite disappointed with the tiny amount that arrived in a small pot. It seemed like a nice enough place to enjoy a spot of breakfast, we were here just after they had opened though so the place was pretty much empty. 7/10

Service - I wasn't really too sure what to make of the service here, quite efficient but not very friendly. We walked into an empty pub and the lady behind the bar made no effort to say hello so straight away we didn't feel particularly welcome. We asked for a breakfast menu and was told they were on the tables and that we could sit anywhere except the tables which had reserved signs on. After choosing what we wanted we returned to the bar to place our order. My wife wanted the vegetarian breakfast without eggs which didn't seem to be a problem, the eggs could be replaced with extra tomatoes which seemed fair enough. First the drinks arrived on a tray with cutlery and we were offered sauces. My breakfast came out next closely followed by my wifes, something wasn't quite right though as her mushrooms were missing. My wife's favourite item on a breakfast is mushrooms so she wasn't best pleased with this! She pointed out the error and they were brought over later in a small bowl but only half cooked though. We didn't hang around very long after finishing our food and left with the same silence we were greeted with. 4/10

Contents - 1 sausage, 1 bacon, 1 egg, fried bread, mushrooms, beans and half a tomato. 4/10

Presentation - I really wasn't a fan of the long plate this breakfast was served on, I always think items look awkwardly placed on these. Plate aside though I was loving the look of the fried bread and the egg was looking pretty good too. The sausage was looking a bit over cooked and the beans were sitting in too much juice. 5/10

The food - Although slightly over cooked the sausage did taste really nice as did the bacon, both were made using Blythburgh pork. My favourite part of this breakfast had to be the fried bread, golden and crispy but not too oily. I wanted to make good use of the fried bread so laid the fried egg over it and popped the yolk, a wonderful combination! The egg had heaps of flavour as you'd expect from a free range Great Ellingham egg. The mushrooms were sauteed and the tomato slow roasted, I thoroughly enjoyed both. The beans were Heinz but served in a bit too much sauce for my liking. Certainly an enjoyable enough breakfast and all served piping hot. 7/10

Value for money - The Trafford breakfast costs £6.75 and although it's made using quality ingredients it isn't particularly big. It filled me up for a while but I ate a sandwich as soon as I got back home again. You could add extra items but at £1 each things could start to get quite expensive if you go down this route. 5/10

Veggie option - 1 veggie sausage, 1 fried egg, fried bread, 1 hash brown, mushrooms, beans and tomato - £6.75.

Overall - A decent enough breakfast but a bit on the small side, I'd have certainly been more impressed if it included double items and hash browns. The quality of the ingredients were really noticeable and the fried bread was excellent. First impressions go a long way though and the lack of welcome we encountered here means we are highly unlikely to ever return. 5/10