Table Table, Springwood Park, Cheshire

The chain pub attached to a Premier Inn. Functional and family friendly. A captive audience, but one you still have to serve well. We were part of that audience, staying at Springwood Park with some friends for the weekend.

If the pub had allowed dogs, it’s fairly likely we might have eaten here for another meal, but as they didn’t we just came here for breakfast on both days, as our dog owners were staying somewhere else.

The Premier Inn breakfast is pretty good value. For £6.99, you get unlimited everything from the continental breakfast menu, including:-

Coffee
Twinings Tea
Fruit Juices
Smoothies
Freshly Baked Croissants
Cinnamon & Raisin Bagel
Pain au Chocolat
Flapjacks
Blueberry Mini Muffins
Sourdough crumpets
Bread/Toast : White, Malted or Gluten Free
American Style Buttermilk Pancakes
Peanut Butter, Nutella, Golden Syrup, Marmalade, Honey, Marmite , Jams
Dried Fruit & Seeds
Fruit Salad
Apples
Bananas
Grapefruit Segments
Yeo Valley Yoghurts
Kellogg’s Cereals
Porridge
Granola

But as we all know, continental breakfast is not a breakfast. You need to upgrade to the full breakfast, which is £8.99. The extra two quid gets you all of the above plus as much as you want from the following:-

Back bacon
Sausage
Mushrooms
Eggs – Scrambled, Fried, Poached, Boiled, Omelette
Hash Browns
Bubble & Squeak
Black Pudding (not MOFAD approved!)
Closed Cup Mushrooms
Halved Grilled Tomatoes
Baked Beans

And it looks a little something like this (from Saturday morning):-

You order exactly what you want, this is not your standard hotel buffet with things sitting out in pools of grease under weak light bulbs. And you can order as much as you want, so you can go for a real blow out, or just have a reasonable amount to set you up for a day of walking in the hills.

Here is Sunday’s version:-

All in all, a pretty good breakfast, and pretty good value. My one complaint is that the tomatoes need grilling properly to caramelise them and bring out the natural sugars. It’s not the best time of year for tomatoes, wherever they came from, and these were a bit tart and underdone.

An easy option for breakfast if you are staying next door. We had a very happy and friendly server on Saturday morning too!

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TPN 2016 #10

Birthday triple pork nirvana! This is the first time it’s been achieved in years, due to various reasons. The missed opportunities don’t matter, all that matters is achieving nirvana when you can.

It started at Table Table in Springwood Park, with a full English:-

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Nirvana continues at the Robin Hood in Rainow, with the classic that is sausage baguette:-

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We save the best for last, with sticky Oriental ribs at the Vale Inn, Bollington:-

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It’s probably the most exotic ending to a triple yet, although the Cumbrian pizza at Dodd’s is still one of my favourites. Not the first rib-based TPN either, as this visit to the Empress of Blandings rounded off another triple in the same way. However, these ribs were probably the tasiest of the MOFAD era.

The great New Zealand road trip 2016…

You may have spotted that I’ve been a bit quiet in the last few weeks, this is with very good reason. We have been touring around the North island of New Zealand in a motorhome, experiencing lots of great food and drink along the way.

What this means is that I have about 40 blog posts to write over the coming weeks (and possibly months!) which will cover just about everywhere we ate and drank, including on planes, camp sites with their own pizza ovens, quirky cafes, wineries, brewery taps and airport dining outlets.

To start you off, here’s a hastily cobbled together montage of some photos from my phone, there are over 500 to sort through from the “main” camera…

Hawkes Bay Farmers Market, Hastings, New Zealand

After yesterday’s epic cycle ride on the “wineries ride” (taking in such delights as Abbey Cellars/Fat Monk brewery), today we were on another epic trip, with the “coastal ride” our inspiration today.

We decided to start our day at the farmers’ market, which is one of the top “things to do” in Hastings. It seems like the whole town (dear New Zealanders, this is not a city) turns out for this every Sunday morning.

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It is one of New Zealand’s largest and longest running farmers’ markets, offering a diverse shopping experience, every Sunday of the year. You can shop for various ingredients for your dinner, have a coffee or have some breakfast, all whilst enjoying live music.

You meet the people behind all the lovely food, and can have a good old natter whilst sampling some of the produce. There’s even a cash point.

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We enjoyed some bacon and egg baps for breakfast, with tea and freshly pressed fruit juice. It was delicious in the morning sunshine.

There’s so much to choose from, here’s a quick round up…

Hass Avocados
Olive Oils
Smoked mushrooms
Ash Ridge Wines (we cycled past yesterday)
Bay Blueberries
Bay Espresso
Hawkes Bay honey
Brave Brewing Co (more on these later)
Danny’s Pasta
Edgebrook Cider (more on these later)​
Elmwood Table Grapes (these are what we call grapes, but they have to make a distinction between those that you eat, and those that go into wine making)
Nashi pears
Farm Fresh Asparagus
Hawkes Bay Seafoods
Hawthorne Coffee Roasters
Holly Bacon Company (mmm, bacon)
Just Feijoas (odd, soapy tasting fruit)
​Orcona Chillis ‘n’ Peppers (lots of tasty chilli sauces)
Te Mata Figs
The Bacon Sandwich Co (mmm, bacon)

And more besides. This was a great way to start the day, and is recommended to any visitor to Hastings.

Remedy Coffee, Wellesley Street, Auckland, February 2016

If your hotel package doesn’t include breakfast (ours often don’t as we have access to discount rates that exclude it), then one of the most important things to find is somewhere to enjoy this essential  meal which sets you up for the day.

In the middle of a city (and for once the New Zealand definition of a city is correct when referring to Auckland), there are loads of options, and lots of chains. Chains are good, but we decided to seek out something a bit different, and found the quirky Remedy Coffee just around the corner from our hotel.

As soon as you enter, you pick up on the great vintage vibe of the place, cutlery and crockery that doesn’t match, a book swap shelf, a rather huge selection of Marvel comics, even board games to play over breakfast or a leisurely lunch. There were also great tunes on the stereo (different to the usual 80s rock output of the radio stations we encountered).

It was nice to see tea in a good old teapot with cosy – classic retro stuff.

Good bacon rolls too, very tasty bacon and freshly baked rolls.

However, I might need to report them to “we want bowls” for serving muesli in jars instead of bowls – an annoying hipster trend that has travelled halfway round the world.

Apart from this blemish, a lovely little cafe, perfect for a relaxed city centre breakfast. You can sit outside, but it’s quite noisy, so you can make your own mind up about that.

MOFAD approved, and a card was left somewhere 🙂

TPN 2016 #4

Another weekend away, another triple pork nirvana. Some friends had arranged a games weekend in a house on an island. A house that gets get cut off by the tide twice a day. This means that you need to plan your pork products for triple pork nirvana in advance.

Obviously, the Minister does such things, so there was no chance of missing out this weekend.

Breakfast was a full English, and I was on duty in the kitchen. On the menu were sausages, bacon, eggs, mushrooms, beans, tomatoes, black pudding and toast. Cooking for 10 is no problem 🙂

Lunch was a turkey sandwich, with the addition of bacon and sausage – excellent work from Morrisons.

Dinner was roast pork with all the trimmings. Slow roasted for around 5 hours, it was lovely and tender. If you are stranded on an island, then roasting some pork is an excellent way to pass the time. That and playing lots of games.

A tasty pork triple for this weekend!

Marquis Cornwallis, Coram Street, Bloomsbury

This post covers three visits to this pub, affectionately known (by Mrs MOFAD and I at least) as the Marsellus Wallace (Ving Rhames’ character from Pulp Fiction). Like the Friend at Hand, it is somewhere I’ve been to before. Quite a few times in fact. I’d never eaten here before, although Mrs MOFAD and I have been here for a drink once or twice, and I’ve been drinking with friends here a good few times, largely due to its proximity to the Holiday Inn across the road where I’ve stayed a number of times, which has a very poor pub attached.

We had intended to eat here on Friday night, but it was absolutely rammed with post-work drinkers that we hadn’t banked on during our two visits looking for tables, so we ended up elsewhere.

The Marquis is now doing breakfasts (I don’t recall this from previous visits) and it offers a good English breakfast for £7 – this is pretty good value given its location, and certainly far better value than the hotel (our rates didn’t include breakfast). Very tasty stuff, just enough to set you up for a day of tourist exploring. It’s not quite a Merkins breakfast, but it will do just nicely.

Here is Saturday’s breakfast:-

And here is Sunday’s:-

They certainly love their griddle pan 🙂

On Saturday night we popped back in for a drink, after our visit to the Soho theatre, and some dinner, as they have a great range of ales, from London breweries and others further afield. There are around 8 taps on, as well as ciders, and lots of bottles and cans to choose from in the fridges. I had an 1888 from Hop Stuff brewery, which was full of hoppy bitterness, probably the best of the weekend.

They also serve pancakes for breakfast, topped with banana, strawberries & honeycomb butter and Mrs MOFAD had these on Sunday morning.

Very tasty stuff.

The Marquis is certainly MOFAD approved. Just don’t visit in the first two weeks of February, as they are closed for refurbishment until the 18th. It will be interesting to see what they do to it.