I bought some fantastic fryup produce from the farm shop at the independent family-run Gloucester Services earlier this year and relished not only a return for more but also the opportunity to sample one of their critically-acclaimed full breakfasts.
Gloucester and Tebay (M6) services are owned and run by the Dunning family of farmers and renowned for their high standards and staunch principles when it comes to food, so when we set off for a Cornish road trip I planned to arrive at Gloucester not long after the breakfast service had started and make the most of our visit. I’m often guilty of having expectations beyond the capability of catering organisations to deliver the quality I expect and sadly this time it was no different.
I went for the £8.75 9 piece breakfast, price does not include the rather excellent cup of coffee. I must admit my heart sank a bit when I saw the food sitting in trays/bowls being kept warm under lights.
It sank even more when I saw eggs which had clearly been sitting there for some time and looked solid, so first thing was to ask for fresh ones. I am fairly sure that the eggs were the only ingredients which had been anywhere near a frying pan the rest had been baked and kept warm. The sausages were good quality and were the highlight of the breakfast, the rest left for me a lot to be desired. Fried bread was like greasy ryvita, black pudding was like a badly burnt hockey puck, tasteless baked tomato, greasy horrible bubble and squeak which reminded me of 1970s school dinners (for the record it’s called bubble and squeak because of the noise it makes when it’s fried, bubble and squelch would be more accurate here). Bacon was baked together and the measly portion of watery beans casually dumped on top of it. I avoided the haggis which was sloppier than the bubble and mushrooms which had been stewed. A huge disappointment, especially considering the quality of the onsite butchers and farmshop, which ended up being the saving grace.
The kid’s play area was also fantastic –
The pie counter was out of this world!
So I dried my eyes and went shopping and certainly wasn’t disappointed with anything I bought from the farm shop.
(The hog’s pudding was from Tregonissey butchers but the rest was from Gloucester services).
I understand how difficult it is to please everyone all of the time but I really didn’t think the breakfast would be as poor as it was. I’d be inclined to think they may have just been having a bad day until this image arrived on my newsfeed this morning courtesy of Melanie Shaw from the Fry Up Police which is the £7.79 version served at the Tebay services and which looks almost as dreadful as the Gloucester one, at least my sausages weren’t wrinkly and incinerated!
I sincerely hope that someone develops an app soon for road-trippers to locate a decent fryup near a junction or town, in the meantime I will be giving the kitchens at Gloucester & Tebay a wide berth.