Tag Archives: Sainsbury’s

Breakfast at Sainsbury’s (Scone Chronicles XXVII)

I’m going to have to up my work rate after what I said in the last post. This is therefore going to be the first of two posts today.

We have not had a good time at Sainsbury’s at Arnold recently. Twice before Christmas we went in and ordered Beef Baguettes. The first time we tried, we were told there there were no baguettes. I pointed out that they had a shop full of baguettes. It seems that they aren’t allowed to use them.

The second time it was a lack of beef that interfered with the plan. We had festive toasties instead, which allegedly contained turkey and stuffing, but tasted of cotton wool and ketchup.

When we found that the place was crowded at 11.30 I nearly didn’t bother stopping, but I’d promised Julia a day out, which, in my view, means that she doesn’t have to make breakfast.

The cafe was full, many of the tables for four being monopolised by a solitary coffin dodger who was on first name terms with the staff. Say what you like about quality of a service (and I will cover that fully in a later paragraph) , they know how to treat the elderly and I may well move in when I’m a few years older.

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Tea – note the cup for a milk jug

i got a table for two while Julia ordered the food. It needed clearing and wiping down. So did many of the others. A member of kitchen staff emerged at one point, cleared the pots off one table, left the crumbs and went back into the kitchen, never to be seen again.

One lady went as far as to get the table wiping equipment from the staff and wipe her own table down, also wiping the table for a lady in a wheelchair. To be fair, we are supposed to take our own pots away, and it must add more work when people are too lazy, or too arrogant, to clear the table after eating. On the other hand the staff should keep the place clean – I’m paying enough and should have a clean place to eat.

When Julia arrived with the tea I noted the milk was in a coffee cup, rather than a receptacle designed for pouring milk. Again, we paid enough for them to provide a small jug.

It’s just minor details, but it’s annoying that people can’t get the simple things right. For an echo of these thoughts seethis post, though I note there are one or two typos in it – sorry for that.

The food arrived quite quickly, and a member of staff took it on a tour of the cafe before finding us, so we were never in danger of burning our mouths.

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Big Breakfast – Sainsbury’s, Arnold

The breakfast report –

Portion size – good

Sausages – excellent and herby

Hash Browns – crispy and delicious

Beans – average, after all opening a can and heating beans is not a skilled job

Mushroom – excellent

Toast – average, another unskilled job that is difficult to do badly

Eggs – borderline – a hint of snottiness to the white means they were slightly undercooked

Bacon – this could take some time. There is a division of opinion on whether bacon should be crispy or pink and juicy. I favour pink and juicy myself but if the cook does it crispy I’ll eat that too. However, I’m not aware that there is a school of thought that says bacon should be cooked until hard, tied in a knot and basted with grease before being dumped on the plate. If there is such a school of thought I can recommend the cook at Sainbury’s in Arnold.

The bacon actually looks quite nice in the photo. But trust me, it wasn’t. And it was salty too.

So, despite the lack of cleanliness, mediocre efficiency and patchy breakfast, how was it?

Pretty good, to be honest. The good bits of the breakfast were very good, the staff are always friendly and cheerful, even if they do get behind with the cleaning and, judgingh by the way they get on with their regular ancient customers, they are providing a valuable community service.

I suspect the staff are great and the management is poor.

Would I recommend it despite my sarcasm and criticism?

Yes, though its constant failings with cleaning and detail are a bit wearing. On a good day it’s probably the best local breakfast, but the good days are, at the moment, in a minority.

Scone Chronicles XIV

I picked Julia up after I left work yesterday and went to Sainsbury’s in Arnold. As we’ve already reported on the scones, I decided to try the toasted teacakes. They have a peculiar dense texture but they toast well, take plenty of butter, and contain a lot of fruit.

Unfortunately the standard of hygiene was worse than last time and the toilets proved to be either untidy or out of action. The tables were so bad that I was unable to wipe the first one down with a napkin and we had to move. It had clearly been worked on by a sticky child with time, and jam, on its hands.

This isn’t good enough.

My sister tells me that things are just as bad in the Sainsbury’s in Peterborough.

We can’t tell whether it’s an attempt at saving money or if they are synchronising themselves with ASDA for the merger.

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Toasted Teacake, Sainsbury’s, Arnold

Just a short post today as I’m still tired after coughing and sneezing my way through the night.

We had a good day today, but nothing interesting enough to displace my planned discussion of toasted teacakes.

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Home Brewery Company stone

The architectural feature is from the Home Brewery Company building that was knocked down to make was for the supermarket and car park. It now stands beside the entrance of Sainsbury’s on Sir John Robinson Way. Sir John Robinson not only founded the Home Brewery Company but founded a number of local almshouses for the old and poor – a subject close to my heart.

The Scone Chronicles – Number 7 – Done as a Haibun

As usual, there is a queue at the cafe in Sainsbury’s at Arnold. The woman behind the counter is working hard but the system is against her. So is the customer she is serving, who can’t make his mind up.

I have two scones – one cheese, one fruit. Julia sticks with a single cheese scone. We select them, then we wait in line. They are small, neat and hexagonal.

Eventually I go to find a table because my knee is playing up.

The first two tables are too dirty to clean by wiping with a paper napkin. The third is passable, but dirty underneath. They have at least four staff and I’m not impressed. I think of writing a stiffly worded letter of complaint but it won’t do any good and the insincere reply will annoy me even more.

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A dirty floor – Sainsbury’s, Arnold

The cheese scone feels hard as I slide the knife in. It is not a light and fluffy scone, though I had expected this from the small and regular shape.

There are specks of visible cheese, and it tastes good.

The fruit scone is moist inside, in a doughy way, rather than a good way. It still tastes good but looks strange in the camera viewfinder.

A slightly doughy fruit scone

A slightly doughy fruit scone

At one time we would have ordered the cream tea but we are getting too old for all the sugar and fat.

evening draws on

the rotund blogger

photographs his food

 

 

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!