Posted by - 30 August 2009 - No comments

Going for gold with the Little Chef Olympic Breakfast

So this week, the AB and I made a road trip to Bath.   We decided to go via Stonehenge, and as a result stumbled across Little Chef Popham.  The very roadside cafe which Heston Blumenthal is famous for making-over earlier this year on the Channel Four show. 

If you're based in the UK, you can watch the show on 4OD or try YoutTube.  I guess the American equivalent would be something like "Denny's", but not quite as that's still popular and Little Chef hasn't been since the 1980s.

The first and only other time I've breakfasted at a Little Chef was while staying in the Travelodge (another bastion of roadside accomodation in the UK) in Taunton for a wedding (I'd left it too late to book my accomodation, so it was that or sleep in the car).  My experience,  wasn't a pleasant experience for all the reasons Heston reveals on "Heston's Little Chef".   Not only was the restaurant shabby but the food abysmal and didn't match the description on the menu.  I remember forcing myself to eat the humongous plate of slop that was the legendary Olympic Breakfast.  Thankfully, Heston's new Olympic Breakfast is a different matter. 

The revamped Olympic Breakfast includes free-range eggs, outdoor-bred British pork sausages, Wiltshire-cured back bacon and Ramsay of Carluke black pudding. I want to say the food was amazing, but the truth is the food won't win any awards, but for the price (£6.50), it was suprisingly good. The sausages were meaty and firm, and the disc of black pudding -  a new addition to the Olympic Breakfast went down really well with my AB who commented on how full of flavour and delicious it was. The mushroom was tasty too.  It was just a shame the toast was made from white mass-produced bread which tasted like cardboard, and cracked when buttered.

Aside from the new revamped menu, the interior has also been redesigned with a more contemporary and vibrant look, while the drab roadside toilets have been replaced by fun facilities that pipe out music or sing when in use and have cooking tips adorning the walls.  There were also other little touches, like mini bags of Jelly Beans you get with your bill.  The other noticeable change has been with the staff.  The spotty youths and grump dinner-ladies, have been replaced by altogether more polished and professional bunch.

It was reported yesterday that Little Chef Popham has made it into the new edition of the The Good Food Guide, which is a testament to the fact the restaurant has got all the basics of roadside dining correct:  good quality and quick-serving food.  If only the proprietors would hurry up and roll out Heston's Little Chef out to the rest of the chain.  It would make the whole experience of roadside dining more palatable.

Little Chef, A303 Popham Services, Micheldever, Winchester, Hants SO21 3LP
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