Breakfast at Harry Ramsden’s
According to Wikipedia: “Harry Ramsden’s is a fast food restaurant chain based in the United Kingdom which offers fish and chips and assorted themed dishes. The business has 35 owned and franchised outlets throughout the UK and Ireland. Harry Ramsden’s website claims the business to be “Britain’s longest established restaurant chain.”” Not afraid to blow their own trumpet, which I know from experience can be an effective ploy, its own website states: “At Harry Ramsden’s, we have been serving up World Famous Fish & Chips since 1928, that’s over 90 years of experience! So, as you can imagine, we’re pretty good at it by now. During that time, Fish & Chips has remained our nation’s favourite dish and we’re proud to have been dishing it up at incredible locations across the country, including our 420-seater restaurant in Bournemouth – one of the largest in the world!”
Back in the day, I used to do a lot of motorway driving and often stopped at motorway service stations during the course of my travels. In those days, these generally had their own restaurant where you could have anything from snacks to full blown meals, from a wide selection. I seem to recall I had a number of positive breakfast experiences. Nowadays, the name of the game is to sub contract the food and refreshment side of things to big named enterprises as being more cost effective. Often when one stops at service stations there are a number operating and one has to choose which one if any to eat from, mindful the cost can be 50% dearer than if eating in a local shop equivalent and not always as nice.
Today I went on a motorway drive (to take my beloved to the airport) and on the way back I decided to call in at the South Mimms service station, which I have visited a few times over the years. While not ravenous, I decided to get something to eat and it came down to a choice between Pret, Subway and Harry Ramsden’s. Being a lover of English breakfasts and with pretensions of being a breakfast restaurant critic, I decided to go for Harry’s English offering (fish and chips will have to wait for passing later in the day). If was nice but without the wow factor, although I did like the coffee. Everything was ok, but only ok. The sausages were in my bottom 50% taste wise (one way to judge and compare restaurants I suppose) and besides the bacon which was just passable, everything else including the black pudding was quite acceptable. Besides changing the sausage supplier, my other suggestion was warm the plates to start with as yet again this slow eater ended eating coldish food. While “world famous” is not the way I would describe my experience at Harry Ramsdens, I could be persuaded to visit when next in the vicinity although I may well opt for a Pret or Subway.