Matt and Cat\'s Isle of Wight Eating Out Guide
Pretty much a year to the day that Ray Har-Har suggested that Matt and Cat visit Morrison’s cafe, Newport they finally did. Having a...

Pretty much a year to the day that Ray Har-Har suggested that Matt and Cat visit Morrison’s cafe, Newport they finally did. Having a rare day off in the week, M and C decided to play at being retired and booked themselves tickets at the afternoon showing of Billy Liar at Cineworld.


Big breakfast

With only half an hour to go before lights down, Matt and Cat trotted off to the centre of Newport with the intention of eating something, quickish. On approaching Morrison’s, Ray’s words rang in their ears (as did Morrison’s PA system – more of that later) and they entered the supermarket. Their expectations were not high, as their past experiences of supermarket cafes were Not Good.

Morrison’s cafe is a cavernous place with some windows overlooking the road and one, at the back, with a primo vista of the loading bay. However, the choice of seating for Matt and Cat was quite limited as the place was pretty packed. Pensioners and young mothers filled the seats and, at the prices Morrison’s charge, it is certainly a venue which may attract the financially careful.

With no time to spare, Matt and Cat perused the day-glo wipe-clean menu, scanning the breakfast choices (combinations of egg, beans, bacon and sausage with add-ons like black pudding and toast), the ‘hot favourites’, such as fish, liver and onion and sausages, which were nearly all accompanied by chips and peas. There is also a small salad menu plus pre-packed sandwiches available from the chiller cabinet.

Matt and Cat endured what sounded like Madonna’s greatest hits being sung by a choir of wasps down the end of a long tunnel.

Cat initially chose Heinz tomato soup (no pretensions at home cooking on the soup menu) but thought better of it and was persuaded to have a bacon sandwich. Matt went for the big breakfast and, following some careful negotiations with the pleasant lady behind the counter, was able to substitute beans for hash browns and ordered extra toast and black pudding. Two pots of tea were harvested from the self-service dispenser but not before many mugs had been rejected for their griminess – they weren’t just smeared but really not at all clean. Cat’s eventual choice of mug had a crusty handle as she had given up the search for a clean one: as M & C were in a hurry ‘clean on the inside’ had to be good enough. Even the teapot had what looked like cooked egg on it (the camera phone did not do it justice – photo enhanced digitally).

Groll on teapot lid

Groll on teapot lid

The tea was horrible, despite coming with commendable fresh milk from the fridge, it tasted watery and unsatisfying.

Managers of eateries must assume that digestion is aided by the presence of music and Matt and Cat have ranted about the ubiquity of piped dronings in previous reviews. During their wait for food at Morrison’s, Matt and Cat endured what sounded like Madonna’s greatest hits being sung by a choir of wasps down the end of a long tunnel. This turned out to be the cafe’s attempt at ambient music – comparable to hearing an out-of-tune radio. Then suddenly, the supermarket PA, like a nuclear attack siren, blasted into action as someone was called to somewhere. Blimey!

After a considerable wait, the food was delivered. Matt’s ‘big breakfast’ was a reasonable dish of sausage, meaty bacon, two hash browns, fresh fried mushrooms and an egg (probably cooked hard-yolked for health and safety reasons). The extra black pudding was brought in its own separate bowl for some reason. When he moved some of his breakfast, Matthew was not pleased to discover a good helping of hardened tomato sauce, a tenacious survivor of a previous meal, clinging to the plate.

Bacon and a bun

Bacon and a bun

Cat’s bacon sandwich contained two rashers of pretty lean-ish (and yet slightly flabby) bacon lolling out of an unbuttered bun. Nothing special, but no more could be expected for £1.65.

Gobbling their food and washing it down with the tea out of necessity and not culinary choice, Matt and Cat left in just enough time to make it to the cinema, although, due to technical problems, the film did not start until twenty minutes after its scheduled time. If Matt and Cat had known there was going to be such a delay, they could have gone somewhere nice to eat. Which reminds Cat of an old joke:

Man: “If I’d known you were a virgin, I’d have taken more time”.

Woman: “If I’d known we’d had more time, I’d have taken my tights off”.

The verdict? So much dirty crockery does not outweigh the adequate, and really cheap, food nor the cheery service. Matt and Cat will not be hurrying back to Morrison’s (or Tesco’s or Sainsbury’s) cafe.

  • Diane says:

    I have visited here on a few occasions in the last few months after taking an elderly aunt to the hospital. On each occasion we have had the fish & chips and I have to say it is always beautifully cooked and quite enough for a lunch time meal. I also find it great value for my money.

  • Neil (local) says:

    Me and a collegue went today just for a breakfast (no shopping). Had to queue to get on the car park and began to think… ‘is this worth it?’ Anyway, eventually got to the cafe which was busy (and noisey with a few ‘loud’ kids). Ordered 2 breakfasts and to be fair to the cashier, she did tell us that there was a 20 min wait, well after the hassle of getting into the car park, we decided to bear that. what I did find strange is that you only got one small sachet of sauce then they are 5p each. Also, coffee is extra also. (Somerfield includes hot drink with their £3.75 breakfast and sauce is in bottles on the table!).

    Ok the breakfast did arrive in 20 mins but boy! Compared to Somerfield’s, I have to say it was really below Parr. Then we had to queue to get off the car park! Never again!

  • amy says:

    i work at morrisons and i think if you dont like it then why the **** do people come back eh tell me tht

  • Eyan & Ruth says:

    Again that hoary old chestnut about ‘an opinion’ raises its ugly head on these pages. The whole idea of the site is to leave “constructive” comments. Ok you don’t agree with a review, fine, then write a review offering your own experience of the establishment. This will be far more effective in persuading the reader to try the establishment for themselves, the more reviews submitted the more balanced the picture becomes. Or is it just easier to write insults?. Remember no one forces anyone to visit this site (I hope!!). Just as a thought, which revolution are the counter revolutionists referring to????

  • RosaLuxemburg says:

    Shame you didn’t take more advantage of the free education paid for by the Working Classes and learn to spell.

    • Johnston says:

      They need more staff. All the tables were dirty. The ran out of cups the lady on the till had to clear tables to get some more cups washed.the hot chocolate was warm. And the coffee half wad a right mess in there

  • WessexConterevolutionarySociety says:

    Well Mr Jef, I appreciate the hard work that honest working class people do, many of the people who write these pointless reviews have never done a decent days work in their pathetic lives because they have cushty little public sector jobs paid for BY THE SWEAT and BLOOD of the WORKING CLASSES. think about that next time you sink your corpulaent faces into a pate de foi gras or cavier comusumme.

  • Jef says:

    Then I guess we are all eternally grateful to you Scott for the hard work you put in!
    What tosh, There are plenty of places that turn out great food in cramped, hot, poorly equiped kitchens. The problem is – filling the kitchens with people who havent got a clue what they are doing!
    People have to wait 20-30 minutes because food is cooked to order? give me a break! what food takes 30 minutes in a microwave? Morrisons is a cafe!! dont try and talk it up! If the food and service is poor the only place to look is the STAFF!

  • Scott says:

    I work in one of the morrisons cafe’s. It’s hot, cramped, and hard work. Not everyone can hack it and out of every 5 new people, usually about 4 quit in the first month. Given the working conditions, it’s surprising we get any food out at all, let alone to the standard that we do.

    We have to work to strict policies and we’re not allowed to work under our own initiative or common sense. Personally, I’d love to be able to get whatever the customer wanted off the shop floor and cook it fresh, but we’re not allowed to. We have to cook set menu items for set times at certain settings in the microwave, fryer and oven. Each meal has a specification that has to be followed exactly. We are tested on “spec of the week” meals, and are expected to know precisely how many grams of chips, how many onion rings, how many rashers, etc.

    Given the working conditions, it’s surprising we get any food out at all, let alone to the standard that we do.

    Asking for toast instead of fried bread for instance is asking an employee to break the rules, and you’re unwittingly putting him in the very awkward position of having to keep both the company and customer happy in a situation where the needs of the two parties are mutually exclusive. All because of a 5p difference in price!

    To make it all worse, we don’t keep all the food under the heat ready to be plated, some of it has to be cooked to order. As a result, if anything is missed, forgotten, or missing from the fridge/freezer, the customer can end up waiting 20 to 30 minutes extra. Running out of beans costs 8 minutes, running out of mash costs 15 minutes, forgetting to put on a quarter pounder costs 20 minutes! If the order that’s waiting on something is at the front of the queue, it puts everything else behind by however long it takes to get it sorted.

    In summary, I think for the price you pay, the conditions we work in, and the miracles we work with the crappy equipment that we have to use, you shouldn’t complain about the quality. You pay for cheap crap, you get cheap crap. If you’re silly enough to buy a breakfast meal in the evening (with breakfast stuff left under the lights since the morning!), and cheap tea when there’s freshly ground coffee, tropicana, and freshly mixed fizzy drinks on offer, then it’s your own fault. There are butter portions for sale for your bacon sandwich, and you could’ve had the freshly fried premium haddock fillet, USA chicken fillet sandwich, or one of the delicious curries, all of which I recommend!

  • Kittycat says:

    Decent, basic food, prepared properly doesn’t have to cost the earth: a bit of care with the ingredients, and attention to detail can go a long way. I can remember Simply Scrumptious in Sandown (where I once lived – wonder if it’s still going?)getting the thumbs up from my New York based, finicky and value conscious mother-in-law. She also liked Morrisons (it was then Safeway) in Lake: surroundings were clean, the food was fresh, and the staff friendly.

  • Vettelsredbull says:

    Ok its not the best but what do you expect when you eat iin a BUDGET supermarket cafe? To go in there expecting fine cuisine is deluded and like going into a travelodge and expecting the raffles hotel. Also, perhaps it would do you good to live on the income of these ‘OAPs and young mothers’ and see how it feels rather than just snootily looking down on the food they have to eat like a victorian cotton mill owner.

  • simon says:

    Havnt been in a while but i used to go in and order a bacon muffin and EVERY time they would say ” sorry no muffins, is a roll ok ?” its in a SUPERMARKET for gods sake couldnt they just go and get some ,,, no apparently not !..

  • DRFox says:

    This has got to be in the top 3 worst eating places I have experienced in my life (and I can think of some pretty grim truck stops and holes in South East Asia in satying this). In describing how pale the chips I had there, I think “ivory” would be kindest to the cook, their sogginess went beyond bad to hilarious in thinking a “person” actually made a deciusion to serve them. The meat with the chips was like rubber and I cannot tell what lifefoirm (if any) it came from. In fact, I have changed my mind in writing this repsonse. IT is the WORST meal I have EVER had. I was too much in a state of shock and too hungry to complain and left.

  • Stephen John says:

    Seems the Lake branch of Morrisons has better food and cleaner plates and utensils than at Newport

  • Ian says:

    But on the plus side, judging by Morrisons’ Christmas TV ads, you might meet Lulu! Or “laughing” Alan Hansen with his “I’m mad, me” pile of Quality Streets! Or be winked at by a strangely mute Diarmuid Gavin!

  • Wendy says:

    Well, at least a poor experience gives you good material for the review! It made me laugh. I hope they get their dishwasher sorted soon.

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