Tag Archives: Sainsbury’s

The Bempton Trip – a Shaky Start

The reports from Bempton Cliffs indicated there were 100s of Puffins at sea and hundreds more on the cliffs.

The weather forecast looked good.

We set off early, I had the reserve’s postcode in my pocket, the telescope in the back of the car and a song in my heart. A wife, the prospect of Puffins and plans for a large, cheap breakfast – what more could a man want?

We called at a Toby Carvery in Doncaster for breakfast.

£4.49 for a serve-yourself all you can eat breakfast isn’t bad, even though the tea is £2.09 extra.

The choice is –

  • Bacon (varying from about right to leathery and burnt)
  • British Pork Sausages (they were good, but sadly I could only fit four on the plate)
  • Homemade Potato, Bacon, Cheese and Onion Hash (distinct absence of bacon and lack of cheese – pretty flavourless really)
  • Plum Tomatoes (as in tinned tomatoes)
  • Free Range Fried Eggs (looked rubbery but I didn’t have any)
  • Baked Beans Breakfast (not particularly good flavour)
  • Yorkies with onion and bacon (again, a distinct absence of bacon)
  • Free Range Scrambled Egg (a big solid mass with water in the bottom of the pan – I suspect sous-vide, as we now call boil-in-the-bag)
  • White or Brown Toast (unlike Harvester, which also provides muffins and crumpets)
  • Roasted Button Mushrooms (bland)
  • Tobys Breakfast Gravy (see my later comments)

There was also jam and marmalade available to spoon out of massive bowls and red and brown sauce, also to be spooned out of bowls. There was some pre-packed jam but, unlike harvester, no honey.

So, how was it?

It was cheap, quite a lot cheaper than Harvester, which is my benchmark now Little Chef has gone. But it didn’t quite offer the choice of Harvester, even though the sausages are much better at Toby.

The gravy was a mistake. It ran through a hole in the bottom of the Yorkshire Pudding, which I had filled with sausages. Sausages and gravy – yes. Bacon and gravy, hash and gravy – passable. Tinned tomatoes, beans, mushrooms – I’ve had them all with gravy. Scrambled eggs and gravy…

That memory is going to live with me for a long time.

There are no Harvesters on the way to Bempton, which is why I’d decided to try a Toby. The food was OK, but I think next time we go that way we’ll try Sainsbury’s, which is just 50 yards away.

Was this to be the worst bit of the day or merely the thin end of the wedge?

 

 

Breakfast Review – Sainsbury’s

This review relates to breakfast at Sainsbury’s Arnold store, just outside Nottingham. As luck would have it, they also had a decent cook on today and we had a good, enjoyable meal. If a proper reviewer had been on the job, you would probably have had a photograph too. But I didn’t take my camera and I left my phone in the car.

I’m not really a fan of the current Sainsbury’s set up as the coffee set-up slows things down and, as a tea drinker, I don’t see why I should stand in a queue for 10 or 15 minutes as people are served, at great length, with coffee. In the good old days, when British establishments served a choice of tea or instant coffee I didn’t mind coffee drinker,s but now I have to stand round while they decide on which of the eight coffees to have I find them quite irritating.

However, today there was no queue, and we soon ordered (two Big Breakfasts and two teas) and sat down at one of the few remaining tables. It was filthy – covered in rings from cups, with a selection of crumbs and some horrible sticky patches with fluff in them.

Breakfast arrived swiftly and was excellently cooked and presented. This is not always the case.

The fried egg looked good, the sausages and bacon were both excellent (for taste and presentation). The hash brown was particularly good today, the toast was also good and so were the beans. Even the half tomato was reasonable, though a half tomato always looks a bit miserly to me.

So, that’s it. When the system is working well it is capable of producing an excellent breakfast. To be fair, it isn’t always as quick, well cooked and nicely presented as this – the last few visits here have included crusty beans and congealed eggs that seem to have been flung randomly at the plate.

In terms of a star rating – if the tables had been clean today’s breakfast would have been 5 stars. On an average day, with a queue and a breakfast that’s been flung at the plate it’s probably a 4 – good but could be better.

At £11.40 it’s not as good as the Little Chef Olympic Breakfast, but it’s almost half the price.

I’m going to try to persuade Julia to make breakfast reviews a regular feature of the blog. Wish me luck!