I tried fritters at Asda, Tesco and Morrisons cafes, and there was more than one disaster – Bethan Shufflebotham

Although I know plenty of people who enjoy a drop from the grocery store cafeteria on weekly or passing mail order purchases, I’ve never been one of those people. I think I once had a hot chocolate in a Sainsbury’s cafe, while waiting for my mum to pay, but that’s about as far as my supermarket dining experiences have come, beyond trying M&S’s Colin the Caterpillar frappe.

I’ve heard mixed opinions about the food served in supermarket cafes, some saying it’s cheap and cheerful, others saying it’s cheap and disgusting. And really, there was only one way to settle that debate: go and see for yourself.

I was on a mission to find out which supermarket had the best fry pits, sampling offerings from Morrisons, Asda and Tesco, and was surprised to find only one, and maybe half, of a runny egg yolk among them.

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Not only that, but the components of a breakfast differ wildly depending on where you go and what time you eat it, and some won’t have half the ingredients to make one anyway. Having eaten three supermarket chips in the course of a week, it’s safe to say I probably won’t be doing it again anytime soon, but one stood out above the rest in terms of quality and experience.

I encountered more than one hiccup along the way, from rock-hard blood sausage to a three-mile drive to dinner. This is what happened when I ordered full breakfasts from Morrisons, Tesco and Asda.

morrison

The coffee shop at my local Morrisons store is currently undergoing a refurbishment, although a sign outside says ‘your new Morrisons coffee shop is now open’. Honestly, I’d be interested to see what it was like before, because despite the addition of some touch screens for ordering, the rest of the place still looks pretty dated and is reminiscent of a cheap Spanish all-inclusive breakfast bar. complex.

I quickly navigated a paper menu before ordering on a touch screen, something most of us are familiar with these days. My first hiccup came when he asked for a table number and I didn’t have one as I hadn’t yet selected a table to sit at. I peeked around the corner and saw that table five was free, so I went in. However, as I was dining alone, I was unable to ‘save’ a table and risked someone sitting at number five before I completed my order.

On the screen I ordered the best breakfast, which includes three sausages, two rashers of bacon, two flat mushrooms, half a tomato, two slices of black pudding, two hash browns, Heinz baked beans and a slice of fried bread for £7.49.

When I clicked add to order the screen tried to sell me more chips for an extra £1 so I clicked yes. I had a bit of a sweet tooth so I also ordered one of the fresh cakes on the menu, a meringue cake from lemon, and I paid by card before sitting down.

Realizing I hadn’t ordered a drink so I left my receipt on my table as I walked over to the Tropicana orange juice dispenser and paid £1.99 for this at the till, sitting down a second time.

When my food arrived I discovered I had no cutlery so I asked a member of staff where to find it, and it was on a separate counter across the room. Once again, I gathered up my bag, phone, and keys, grabbed some cutlery, and sat back down to eat.



Morrisons Cafe Ultimate Breakfast
Morrisons Cafe Ultimate Breakfast

Before I even cut into the egg, I realized it was overcooked, and the beans had been sitting for a while, having developed that little film on top, however, as someone who doesn’t particularly like sauce , I appreciated it very much. these were served in a separate pot.

The bacon and sausage were okay but nothing to write home about, while one of the two pieces of black pudding was as solid as a lump of coal. I really think he could have used it as a lighter.

I personally found the hash browns to have too much onion, and the fry bread made an embarrassing mess when I cut it in half, though it tasted pretty good, and the fries were okay, though I certainly didn’t need them as the portion is quite a bit. big anyway.

When I was done I remembered my cake, but there didn’t seem to be a member of staff present to ask about it, nor did I want to just get up and grab it from the counter apparently without paying. I waited five minutes but ended up abandoning the operation because I was feeling a bit exhausted at the time; I’ll satisfy my sugary lemon craving another time.

Tesco

Later in the week I visited a Tesco cafe, which felt much more modern, light and airy. Pink and blue cushioned chairs were carefully placed under tables that were well spaced and offered a relaxed atmosphere.

Breakfast was priced at a humble £4.90, with pork sausage, rasher of bacon, free-range egg, two hash browns, roasted tomato, baked beans and white toast, which could be upgraded to sourdough for 85p, which which i did

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Opting again for orange juice, which I think is the best fry drink, I felt like I was being ripped off as a bottle of Tropicana smooth is £2.15, especially when you can get a pack of four in the store for £3.

The meal was served fairly quickly with cutlery and a napkin, and I was delighted to find a runny egg yolk to dip my hash browns in. The egg was perfectly round, so I suspect the kitchen has a handy device to help them pull it off.



Tesco coffee shop breakfast
Tesco coffee shop breakfast

I must say that while the sausage and bacon were good, I would have been more than happy to pay a little more for two sausages and two slices of bacon, which would have been a bit more substantial. That said, what was on the plate was well cooked and tasty – the hash browns were an absolute delight, crispy, fluffy and delicious.

The sourdough came with a little bowl of butter spread, which had melted in the heat of the bacon, making it easier to spread, and a welcome addition to the meal. Overall, my Tesco cafe experience was my favourite, as I didn’t have to play a game of musical chairs before I could eat, and it was the most affordable of the bunch.

Asda

At the end of the week, I went up to the Asda counter to order an all day brunch, only to be told ‘Sorry we can’t do all day brunch because we’re out of sausage and bacon’. Solid start.

I got back in my car and drove three miles to the next closest branch, hoping I could enjoy a midday breakfast deal, and lucked out. Here I was able to order an all day brunch for £5.90, as well as an Oasis Citrus Punch as no other orange juice was available.

The brunch included two sausages, two rashers of bacon, two eggs, tomato, baked beans, and French fries instead of hash browns or toast, which didn’t bother me too much. The sausages at Asda cafe were more of a chip shop style than the rest, while the chips tasted like oven chips and were a bit dry. My local chippy offers much better.

The atmosphere was tense at times, mainly because the shop was ‘testing its fire alarm’ according to the cafe staff, which meant that a long loud beep interrupted my meal three times.



Brunch all day at Asda cafe
Brunch all day at Asda cafe

However the bacon was good and one of the eggs saw a slightly runny yolk but not as good as Tesco and the other was fully cooked. For me Tesco won on price, atmosphere and quality, what was on the plate was excellent, just wish there was a bit more.

Morrisons for me was the most stressful experience because of the number of times I had to get up. Although it was the largest plate of food, it was not surprising and the price was quite high for the quality.

Asda food was cheap and cheerful but just couldn’t beat Tesco’s fry despite the extra bacon and sausage. I can’t imagine he’ll be going out to dinner after the weekly grocery shopping anytime soon, though.

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