Newest Review: ... it's surprising how much the standards of service, quality of food and particularly cleanliness have declined. Service takes about 15 min... more
How I long for a decent local Café!
Member Name: i_am_joy
Advantages: A decent breakfast menu - if you're not too picky
Disadvantages: Expensive, pleasant but inefficient staff, poor quality food
This morning I had to meet a friend in Town so she could pass along my granddaughter's birthday present for Monday. While we were there she suggested popping into the local Sainsburys for a spot of breakfast in their café.
I've eaten in Sainsburys several times this year since their cafés were revamped and haven't been impressed on any of these occasions, although this morning I was absolutely starving so agreed.
The first thing I noticed was how expensive the meals are. The store I visited this morning had only their breakfast menu's on display and while you might consider over £4 a reasonable price for a 'Big Breakfast', let me tell you that there is nothing 'big' about this breakfast at all.
For the purposes of this review I shall concentrate on todays visit and it seems to be rather typical of a meal in the Sainsburys Café, and not only is it typical of other visits but one café is very much like another in Sainsburys land so I am able to compare one branch to another for you.
The main advantage I think with eating in Sainsburys is the fact that it's so clean and the decor is bright and comfortable, the seating is a little hard in my opinion but still better than sitting on the smelly foam seats in my local Morrisons Café! Sainsburys, in typical greedy Sainsburys style, tend to jam as many tables in as possible which makes eating here feel somewhat like feeding time at the zoo.
It's very straight forward to choose your food, Sainsburys always have a range of sandwiches and gooey looking cakes in a chiller (yes, even at 8am!) along with a selection of cold drinks. If you want a hot meal then you need to queue up at the tills to give in your order and collect any hot drinks you may want from the machines. After paying you will be given a tall metal stick which has a large number on the top, you stand this on your table so that when your food is served the member of staff bringing it to you can see at a glance where that particular tray of goodies needs to end up.
I, of course, use the word 'goodies' in the loosest possible sense. Sainsburys Café serve appalling food, the majority of it being Sainsbury's own brand frozen food which has simply been cooked and served in a way as to make the customer believe it's freshly prepared and cooked. This is certainly true of a large new build Sainsbury's I visited in Birmingham earlier this year where my sister and I watched a member of staff from the café wheel a trolley full of Sainsbury's frozen chips and sausages through from the supermarket and into the kitchen - I was rendered speechless by the brazen cheek of it!
My breakfast today was fine, apart from the usual gripes of my requested well done bacon being served semi-raw and the fried egg being solid and rubbery. But these are things I have come to expect from this particular branch and rarely bother complaining any more. There is one thing about the Sainsburys Café which really irritates me (probably more so than it should) and that is the fact that they are completely rigid when it comes to their meals. You cannot ask to swap and change any component of the meal, it's a real take-it-or-leave-it attitude.
I'm not fond of the sausages they use (being frozen!) and always ask to change them for extra bacon, my request is always refused and I end up taking the sausage as the plate would look very empty without them. The portions aren't great in here either considering the price; the bacon rashers are very small and stringy and even the toast triangles and sausages look smaller than I would serve at home. This is, of course, made up for by a gigantic serving of baked beans which pools around everything else as they have not drained any of the sauce off.
The daytime meals aren't much better in my recent experience either. I had scampi and chips here a couple of weeks ago and was disgusted with the poor quality of the food, the price I paid for this meal was completely unrelated to the meal itself. Greasy, soggy chips and overcooked pieces of scampi, these being coated with such a thick layer of breadcrumbs that I couldn't actually taste the fish. When I asked if peas came with the meal I was told no but I could purchase them separately, which struck me as a little strange as the natural accompaniment to scampi and chips is peas and this particular meal is usually served with them as standard. When I realised I had been charged 79p extra for a portion of peas I was gobsmacked, and when the meal arrived and I realised they were tinned peas (which I loathe) I felt Sainsburys had really added insult to injury!
So no, I'm not keen on the Sainsburys Café. So why do I eat here? Well, because since Sainsburys opened all the local cafés have closed so I have no choice really when I am peckish while shopping. A few years ago I would have ignored this supermarket café and visited a delightful little independant greasy spoon - where I'd have bought a breakfast for £1.99 and enjoyed it far more than the bland and indifferent food available in Sainsburys.
Summary: Sainsburys have me over a barrel, I don't enjoy their Café food but have few other options locally.
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