Tuesday, 13 March 2018

Park Britannia - Norwich

Waterloo Park Pavilion
Waterloo Park
Angel Road

Breakfast served
Daily from 8.30am till 11.30am

Park Britannia can be found inside Waterloo Park's stunning Grade II listed Pavilion.

Place your order and a pay at the counter whilst admiring the delicious looking selection of cakes and sausage rolls. 

There's a large dining area where you can sit beneath the giant sunflowers looming overhead. I had planned on sitting inside but by the time I'd ordered my food all the tables had been taken. 

Instead I sat outside on the terrace, it was far more peaceful out here.

The view across the park was impressive, the park layout remains pretty much the same as how it looked in 1929.

Cafe Britannia on Mousehold Heath offers the larger King's breakfast, here though the largest option is The Queens breakfast. It filled me up briefly but a couple of hours later I found myself eating lunch on Norwich Market. I was also surprised to see there was no vegetarian full English breakfast available here, my wife left me to it and went for a walk around the Craft Fair instead.

Having already drunk about three coffees at home shortly before arriving here I decided not to order a drink. The prices seemed pretty reasonable though.

Menus could be found on some of the tables and all the tables had cutlery, serviettes and a selection of sauces. I couldn't see any salt or pepper anywhere though.

The Queen's Britannia breakfast cost £6.95 and includes one each of all the key ingredients you usually find on a full English breakfast.

A quick re-arrangement of the beans and fried egg and I was ready to start eating.

The locally sourced pork sausage was rather nice, it lay across a single slice of bacon.

I was quite impressed with how evenly browned the toast was, it's served with real butter.

The egg had a nice runny yolk.

The black pudding was a bit dry.

Half a grilled tomato which I later topped with ketchup to give it a flavour boost.

The hash brown was golden and crispy.

The mushrooms were quite moist.

A generous serving of Heinz baked beans served in an ice cream sundae cup.

Having already visited Cafe Britannia back in 2014 and Guildhall Britannia in 2016 it had been on the cards for me to check out Park Britannia for sometime now. I did attempt it in October 2017 but the place was packed so we headed into the city for breakfast instead on that occasion. With a Spring Craft Fair being held here on Sunday 10th March my wife and I decided to attempt breakfast at Park Britannia once again. I'd noticed how many people on the Secret Norwich Recommends Facebook page had been singing it's praises so was keen to go and see what all the fuss was about. Within 30 seconds of getting inside the cafe my wife decided it wasn't for her due to no vegetarian or vegan full English being offered on the menu. She went to look around the Spring Craft Fair and left me to inspect the breakfast whilst she shopped...

Upon entering - The Grade II listed Waterloo Pavilion is a stunning building and the views across the park are breathtaking. Britannia certainly chose the most amazing venues for their cafes and this place was no exception. The large dining room is bright and spacious with traditional furniture and a distinct sunflower theme going on overhead. There's also a smaller dining room in the area beside the toilets and plenty of tables outside on the terrace. When I first arrived the cafe was about half full of customers and felt quite relaxing, I was looking forward to enjoying a bite to eat here. Something I noticed at Cafe Britannia on many occasions is the lack of menus on the tables, sadly that seemed to be the case here too. There appeared to be a menu on about a third of all the tables so it was a case of having to ask somebody if I could look at theirs as they were tucking into their breakfast. Something else that was nowhere to be seen was salt and pepper, I did search but couldn't find it anywhere. Anyway, once I'd chosen what I wanted from the menu I joined the slow moving queue whilst memorising table number 10 where I was hoping to sit. Eventually it was my turn to be served so I placed my order and was asked for my table number, I glanced back and noticed table number 10 had since been taken. The only option was to sit outside which to be honest seemed like a much better plan to me anyway as the cafe was now full and the noise levels of a full capacity dining room made it a far noisier place than I'd first walked into. Outside was sheer bliss and with mild temperatures an ideal place to sit and enjoy the view. I sat back and waited for my food to arrive, cutlery, serviettes and a selection of sauces were already on the table. So a beautiful building but sound levels will vary and the lack of menus may cause frustration. If you're eating as a couple or group then securing a table when you arrive won't be a problem, if you're dining alone though then it's a bit of a gamble. 6/10

Service - All the staff were working really hard to keep up with the full capacity cafe on this busy Spring Craft Fair day. Once I finally got served my order was taken efficiently and the option of white or brown bread was offered. Nobody seemed particularly cheerful whilst I was ordering but they certainly got the job done and my food arrived far quicker than I was expecting it to. Just before I left somebody came over to ask me if everything was ok and cleared my plates, he smiled and thanked me for visiting the cafe which was nice. 7/10

Contents - 1 sausage, 1 bacon, black pudding, 1 egg, 1 hash brown, mushrooms, beans, half a tomato and a slice of toast served with real butter. 7/10

Presentation - Being served beans in an ice cream sundae cup was a first! Everything was cooked reasonably well though, the yolk on the egg was intact and the toast was browned very evenly indeed. 7/10

The food - A fairly tasty pork sausage lay across a pretty average slice of bacon. The black pudding was slightly dry but the fried egg was nicely cooked with a runny yolk. The evenly browned toast I buttered and used as the base for my beans, gotta love beans on toast! I then placed the egg over the top, many may frown at the thought of the egg and beans touching but for me it's a match made in heaven. The mushrooms were really moist but tasted quite nice and the tomato had a hint of flavour, I further boosted the flavour by topping it with ketchup. Finally the hash brown, crispy on the outside with a soft textured centre. All in all a reasonably enjoyable breakfast. 6/10

Value for money - The Queen's Britannia breakfast consisted of single items and included a slice of toast at a cost of £6.95. I must confess that I'd eaten toast at home about an hour before arriving here and about two hours later I was scoffing a huge hot dog on Norwich Market. I would have liked to have seen the double item King's Britannia breakfast served here as it is at Cafe Britannia on Mousehold Heath. The Queens may fill you up temporarily but you'll soon be wondering what to eat for lunch. 6/10

Veggie option - There's not a vegetarian full English but you can choose avocado on toast or Britannia soldiers.

Overall - A beautiful venue in stunning surroundings serving a limited breakfast menu that won't please vegetarians or those with a big appetite. The lack of menus and salt and pepper was a mystery but both of these things can be easily remedied by the cafe without a fuss. This looked like an ideal cafe for families enjoying a day in the park and dog walkers too as the cafe is totally dog friendly. Park Britannia has certainly made Waterloo Park feel alive again and it's clearly a very popular place. My main interest was in the breakfast though which was at best pretty average. 6.5/10