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.
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.
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).
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.
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.