Top plaudit for their Full Monty fry-up
PUBLISHED: 02:01 02 June 2008 | UPDATED: 09:06 10 June 2010
WHILE the traditional English fry-up may not be considered exactly haute cuisine by most food critics, one Exmouth cafe made a distinguished national newspaper sit up and take notice. A recent article in The Times food supplement by critic Ross Anderson l
WHILE the traditional English fry-up may not be considered exactly haute cuisine by most food critics, one Exmouth cafe made a distinguished national newspaper sit up and take notice.A recent article in The Times food supplement by critic Ross Anderson lists The Albion Cafe, Albion Street, Exmouth, as one of the top 10 'Times tasted nosheries'.The two-page spread debated the merits and dietary negatives of indulging in the famous British fry-up - and added that the cafe, owned by Debbie Rowsell and her husband Kevin, was one of the town's real gems."We had absolutely no idea the article even existed until a regular came in waving it one morning," said Debbie, who took over management in February 2007. That the Albion was compared favourably to 'nosheries', including those in Sussex, Oxford, Perthshire in Scotland, Gwynedd in Wales, Bethnal Green in the East End, the Scottish island of Harris - and even a bistro in Portobello Road - she says was a huge boost."We have put a lot of hard work into the business - we didn't even know anybody from The Times had even been in our cafe."But to find they also went away happy, happy enough to include the cafe in their article, was great." She said they had always dreamed of owning their own cafe and knew the changes they wanted to make.But, because The Albion was a popular haunt among locals before they took over, Debbie admitted that any changes had to be carefully considered so not to detract from what regulars had come to expect."We wanted to brighten up the inside, make it a more family-friendly atmosphere."We moved the counter, brightened up the walls and the tables and added an improved menu to give people more choice."You don't fix what isn't broken - we just wanted to add to it." However, Debbie takes exception to her menu being compared with those of a "greasy caf'' often found in abundance in many seaside resorts.She argues that cooked breakfasts do not have to be necessarily that challenging on the blood pressure or the cholesterol. "Our biggest breakfast (the gargantuan Full Monty) takes some getting through. But we cook our breakfasts, like the rest of our menu, the healthiest way possible," she said.Now, as something of an aficionado of the cooked breakfast, I have to admit this peaked my interest so I accepted their offer to sample the Full Monty.At first I was quaking in my boots. Chips, fried slice, sausage, bacon, eggs, beans, tomatoes, hash browns - it was a mountain of food made even more intimidating since I had lost four stone. I was actually worried I would wipe out a year's work in the gym in just half an hour! But I needn't have worried. The bacon was of excellent quality, not the fatty, salty cuts offered in some establishments. The eggs were obviously free range because you actually tasted them, while the sausages contained a significant proportion of meat. Not only that, but the food was reasonably priced and served promptly with a smile and selection of morning papers to peruse."We ensure we source locally and use local butchers and good quality food," she said. "We try to find out where the food has come from. I feel it makes all the difference.