The Reader is an organisation which encourages people to read by providing opportunities to access books and places to have social intercourse. A lot of what they do involves working with people suffering from Dementia and other mental health issues, offenders, children and other communities with low literacy levels or where raising social capital levels can have a positive impact on the health and wellbeing.
They also run a cafe which has an all day English Breakfast on the menu. So armed with the youngest of the Fry household (it’s half-term, the cafe is in the middle of quite a lovely park with a superb playground) we fed the ducks, watched Fry Jnr do the big slide several dozen times, had a nice long walk through the gardens and broke for refreshments at the Reader Cafe, Calderstones Park, Liverpool.
Doesn’t look like much from the outside but it’s attached to a listed mansion-house so I guess there are restrictions. There are tables outside but it was brass monkeys weather so we headed in.
It was fairly busy inside, very dog and child-friendly so there were lots of pooches and tiny people about. The staff got through the queue really quickly and we didn’t wait too long for our food, (which sometimes isn’t the best sign of a promising fryup). Fry Jnr got straight into the whole reading experience and swiped an alphabet sticker book and a copy of George Orwell’s Animal farm off the bookshelves for me to read to her. A page and a half later her refreshments appeared.
Fry Jnr went for a chocolate orange cupcake and she seemed to be quite happy with the whole experience.
My meal then appeared out of the kitchen, got served to the wrong person, but eventually found its way to our table.
I am finding it difficult to express how disappointed I was through the medium of words so here is a picture.
£5.50 with a quite nice mug of tea.
The egg was cooked perfectly, then drowned with overly-saucy beans. The toast was pale and tiny. The sausages were good quality but had been fried and then kept warm. One end of both of them were hard and nasty. The bacon was really tasty but again kept warm and the fat had not crisped up. I can honestly say I was hungrier after this ‘fryup’ than I was when I walked in.
If this had been cooked and presented better, had half a fried tomato and a few mushrooms and thicker or bigger bread then it would have been a really nice English Breakfast and very good value.
The Reader Organisation, Dr Fry would like to volunteer for you. Just for a few hours on a quiet day, to allow me to provide examples to your lovely back of house catering people what could be done with your existing (and a couple of extra) ingredients as well as having a look at your processes with a view to improving overall quality and sales whilst retaining or improving your margin.
Don’t let a poor fryup influence your opinion of the brilliant work this organisation does. I am surprised and delighted that innovative work like this is still commissioned given the bleak background of public funding which is currently available. You do fantastic work in sometimes ignored communities, but your fryups are awful.
I will leave it to the late great Bill Hicks to have a final word on why we should all read more (he’s a bit sweary sometimes)