I’d gone in to the Pret for a cuppa just by chance as I’d be walking past and I was feeling a little peckish (surprise surprise 😂), the tea was with soya milk which is going to take some getting used to 😬 and I took a look at the food on display. I was pleased to see that vegan and vegetarian meals were clearly labelled which made it really easy to see what was available.
After some decision making (is a sandwich too much 🤔 should I have a cake 🤔), I went for the mango and banana sunshine bowl. This was blended mango and banana, with a splash of coconut milk and a dash of turmeric, topped with gluten-free granola, blueberries and coconut chips. I was pleasantly surprised! It tasted great, nice and sweet with a good crunch from the granola, I would definitely choose this again as I really enjoyed it.
As a healthy snack I’d say this was a great choice although not really big enough to fill me up as a lunch it was good enough for breaky / mid morning snack 😋
I know, I should be getting a discount at this rate! But, it’s a local place to eat with plenty of parking and has always been so enjoyable I can’t help but keep coming back. Each visit has warranted it’s own blog but I do apologise if you are getting bored of hearing about it, I promise to broaden my horizons for the next eat outs.
So this time it was for breakfast, I arrived at 10am on a Sunday and had expected to see a huge queue and for it to be extremely busy but was pleasantly surprised to see that was not the case. I had already decided I would be going for the dairy free poached eggs on toast having already viewed the online menu, I was also very tempted with the dairy free chocolate brownie which I spotted on my way to the table….
Ordering was simple and quick and with many seats available I chose to sit in the conservatory which is a nice spot to look out through the windows whilst enjoying breakfast. It didn’t take long for the food to arrive at my table, the eggs were cooked perfectly and I was provided with dairy free spread. As you can see from the picture I was eager to tuck in but did at the last minute remember to take a quick snap.
The menu was great, eggs cooked exactly how I like them and dairy free spread was provided – I am not sure what else could have been done to make this any better for blunch – especially with a lovely peruse round the shop to finish. It’s going to have to be a 10/10 and a break from visiting this place from me, not only is it putting pressure on my bank balance but I think I need to try out some new places!!
My breakfast at Bill’s was very easy to choose in advance, their menu online is brilliant because you can select your dietary requirements and have all options filtered for your specific needs. This starts at vegetarian and vegan and even goes down to milk free which for me is amazing. It gave me the chance to look through those meals just suitable for me and seeing as I was hungry I went for the Bill’s Vegetarian Breakfast, however there were a few things on there I would have been happy to try and I do plan on going back to try some others out.
The restaurant itself was quite different to where I have had breakfasts so far, I am not sure why this is other than it is not a tearoom and many of the other places have been. I am not saying it is a negative, the décor was nice and it was relatively busy which tells me it is a popular place. I originally ordered an orange juice to have with my poached free-range eggs, roasted plum tomatoes, mushrooms, tomato hummus, smashed avocado, sweet chilli sauce, basil and toast – however, this was full of bits a too sharp for me. I did then spot there was a fruit tea on the menu so I added this to my order.
I must admit this is one of my favourite breakfasts so far, knowing what was safe for me is always a brilliant start and it felt like I was having a proper cooked breakfast along with everyone else. No need to venture off the menu which I really liked and with a few breakfast options for me to choose from this was a great start. The breakfast was a great size and I really enjoyed it and very different to the normal breaky I would have either at home or when eating out. The only negative for me was the atmosphere and the restaurant layout itself which is just a personal preference down to enjoying the tearoom / café experience that bit more for a breakfast, although I think an evening or lunch time meal here would be great.
We decided to try out Sophie’s Kitchen next, although I hadn’t been in here before I have always peered in on my way past and it looked nice and I thought it would be a good spot for some people watching. I couldn’t find a menu online which I always find frustrating especially when I like to know if places can cater for dairy free luckily, I got a picture of the menu sent through to me which at least gave me a chance to see what was available. I spotted the “play it safe” baked beans on toast as a soon as I viewed the menu although it wasn’t long before the Breakfast Bowl jumped out at me. Greek yoghurt served with mixed berries, granola and honey – right up my street. I knew it was unlikely that they would have a dairy free yoghurt but I wanted this breakfast so much I brought my own and hid it in my handbag.
We arrived around 9:30 / 10ish and the place was empty, there is plenty of seating and I have often seen it full at lunch times so I was surprised that there was no one else in there. The bonus of this was that we could choose any seat we want which meant we were positioned against the window with the view of the High Street to people watch the morning away. It also meant I didn’t feel so silly for asking them to use my own yoghurt. I also had a pot of fruit tea which is a great option to have with breakfast and not always available so I was pleased with this. I really enjoyed the breakfast, I thought the menu was great as there was lots to choose from and the breakfast bowl is something that is not usually available.
I couldn’t help but look at the cakes available behind the counter, there were so many to choose from all looking delicious but I do find it disappointing that there wasn’t any dairy free or vegan options. This is something that a lot tearooms lack in and I’d like to see this improve which I am sure it will over time, just like the gluten free availabilities. I would like to come back here again, perhaps for lunch or another breakfast although I am not sure what options would be open to me so would need to consider this further.
Because the menu was so good and the layout and set up of the tables was nice I would like to give this an 8/10, however due to the lack of options for dairy free / vegan customers I am going to put this down at a 7.5/10.
The next breaky stop was at The Lock Tearoom in Heybridge Basin, having been there numerous times before I knew the parking is easy, the location and tearoom is lovely so it’s always a nice place to go. I hadn’t had breakfast here since becoming dairy free and my normal choice would either have been the full fry up (with adjustments as it’s made fresh to order swaps can be made) or scrambled egg on toast. On this occasion I decided to play it safe with beans on toast without the butter and explained I was dairy free. The waiter was very helpful and said they do have dairy free spread which is what I opted for and always makes the classic meal of beans on toast that bit tastier, I also had the choice of either white or granary bread. I appreciate this isn’t the most difficult of breakfasts to cater for but it was very nice, the menu is good and they accommodate my dairy free requirements well. I am not sure if there are any cake or sweet options available in a dairy free range but it is something I would hope to check out in the future.
I would recommend coming here for breakfast, it’s a lovely setting to have something to eat, parking is free with plenty of spaces available and you could follow up with a walk along the seawall. I can’t say it blew me away which to be honest could be down to the fact I had standard beans on toast, but it is a solid 7.5/10.
Oakhouse was our next stop, I’d heard the breakfasts here were good and I had wanted to get on the website to take a look at the menu before arriving but unfortunately the breakfast menu isn’t on there. I haven’t eaten in here for such a long time but I was looking forward to testing out the breakfasts. We didn’t book but when we arrived at 9:30 there was plenty of seats available so this wasn’t an issue, we got a nice spot in a booth although the seats are a little on the uncomfortable side. Two of us got the chance to order our drinks and take a look at the menu before the others arrived and as soon as I had spotted poached eggs on the menu I knew this is what I would be asking for.
It was no hassle asking for poached egg on toast without the butter which wasn’t actually on the menu but I explained I was dairy free and there were no questions asked which is always good. Once again, I just had water, however there was a peppermint tea, normal tea and a milkshake also ordered and I think everyone seemed happy with these drinks. My water however had a funny taste, it was almost like I could taste the red bull from a Jager bomb I imagine had been in there the previous evening – not great but I didn’t comment to the waitress so I guess it can’t have been that bad. The others at my table had ordered the eggs royale and eggs benedict and although the service was quite slow this is probably because everything is cooked fresh which I wouldn’t complain about. My food was nice, I love the way the poached eggs looked as they came out and it was all presented well. My only criticism would have to be down to how the egg was cooked and I know this is all down to a personal preference. I had hoped for some runny egg – there was no running yolk, now I know I am really quite picky when it comes to how my eggs are cooked as there is a fine line between getting the yolk runny and having slime on my egg. However, I would have liked to have seen some runny yolk spread across my toast, as you can imagine without butter this actually makes it quite dry. I am sorry but for me it would have to be a 6.5 / 10 due to the funny tasting water and the non-runny egg.
Breakfasts = the new afternoon tea? 🤔 Well, perhaps not but at the moment it’s the best I can do. So, we often like to catch up over breakfast on a Sunday morning, it’s a great time of day to get out and enjoy one of the best meals of the day. Who doesn’t like a nice late morning breaky to set you up for the day ahead?
We began the tour de breaky in Continental Coffee with a nice early start of 9:30am which meant we got a table without any issues. We even got a favourite seat by the window which allows for people watching on the High Street. The coffee shop itself is quite small which does mean there is limited seating although I think it is possible to book we didn’t on this occasion and it did fill up quickly. In the summer months there is the bonus of outside seating which I think would be lovely and had we been in a hotter month with some sunshine I imagine we would have enjoyed sitting in the courtyard. It has a good atmosphere and some very tasty looking cakes by the till which would be tempting if I could enjoy one.
The breakfast menu is varied and caters for lots of different tastes, whether it be a small plate of jam on toast or a larger cooked breakfast – the choice is there. Being dairy free I find this all a bit awkward but the easiest thing for me to go for is beans on toast without the butter, nice and easy plus very enjoyable. My friends opted for a breakfast bap which I must say looked great and some bacon with eggs on toast – again a great option to go for and we were all happy. Obviously, the usual tea and coffee or juices were available but I stuck with my water whilst the big kids with me enjoyed a rather nice milkshake, there were so many flavours available I was quite jealous. We all came away happy and comfortably full, nice menu and a lovely little tea room at a reasonable price. I think it is worth visiting here if you like a lighter breakfast for a catch up with friends and would mark this at a solid 8/10.