Hits 4985 | Created 2008-04-07 | Modified 2008-04-08
There's a distinct lack of places in Lancaster to have a good veggie fry-up on a weekend morning, the Whale Tail being one of few. And, after recently being mentioned in the Observer as one of the best places in Lancashire, I thought I'd give it another go.
I have had the full breakfast here a couple of times in the past, once so long ago that I don't remember the details, except that it was good and very, very filling, and the second a month or two ago when I was a little disappointed.
Without any further delay we ordered and sat down to wait. The food didn't take too long to arrive.
Now, bear in mind that this meal costs £6.75, which, for Lancaster, is an expensive breakfast.
My first problem is the amount of toast. I'm hungry so ask if I can get some more than the single slice that it comes with. They say no, that's how much everyone gets. Now, correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm sure it used to come with more toast, or at least they didn't mind giving you more if you wanted it? A friend of mine agrees with me on this point.
Anyway, I try the beans first, as I'm difficult with beans. When I say difficult, I mean that I like them slightly above room temperature. These beans failed the test so I took the meal back and politely ask if they could heat up my beans please. They agree to this plan.
I sit down and wait for 5 more minutes until the food comes back. The beans, believe it or not, are still cold. What the hell have they been doing for five minutes then?
Cooking my egg to death, that's what. It's now very hard and not even slightly yolky. I'm too hungry to take it back again, so start to eat, leaving the beans.
Next, the smoked tofu. What a delight, except that this time I've been given three tiny slices of at least a few microns depth, which have been cooked far too much and are rather difficult to cut. They are like little crispy bits of smoky-flavoured chipboard.
The small sausage was fine, as were the mushrooms and hash browns. The tomato was a different issue all together though - kind of grey and listless. It was far too scary to even taste in the end.
Now, don't get me wrong, if this meal cost anything like what it should cost, and I'm talking £4 here, then I wouldn't ever dream of complaining, or even writing about it. But £6.75? I want a bloody good breakfast for that kind of money, the King of fry-ups, the kind of breakfast that I can't cook myself at home.
A friend of mine tells me that they make most of their Sunday cash from the full breakfast, and that over time the portions have been getting smaller, whilst the price has been going up. I'm not sure how true that is, but I do know a few people who have stopped going to eat it over the last year.
I did complain, I told them all this, and they listened and thanked me for telling them, and gave me my money back.
The Guardian/Observer review here:
The Whale Tail
78a Penny St, Lancaster, 01524 845 133
Laid-back vegetarian breakfast eatery. Try the organic smoked-tofu fry-up.