IN this day and age, it would seem we are now a nation of foodie know-it-alls.
Long gone are the days when people didn’t have a clue what balsamic vinegar was or that peppers could be roasted and served hot rather than simply sliced up and served cold in slivers in a somewhat unappetising salad.
Thanks to the likes of Gordon, Jamie, Nigella, Delia and Heston (notice how none of them need last names in the way of introduction?) everyone these days knows their way around a mortar and pestle, can happily drizzle a little extra virgin olive oil across their lettuce leaves and will happily tuck into shaved parmesan rather than a good old dollop of fresh cheddar.
But sometimes, just sometimes, you want to put the posh stuff and pretensions to one side.
If you’re starving, there’s nothing worse than ordering something where the ingredients might sound appetising on the menu but you end up with a portion better suited to a dieting mouse.
Which is why sometimes, nothing else will do other than a belly-busting, no frills slap-up meal in simple surroundings.
And in Doncaster, there’s no better place than Sandall Park Cafe.
It’s the kind of place where fry-ups, steaming mugs of tea and great big platefuls are the norm. And, more importantly, for a huge meal, you’ll only make a small hole in your pocket too. Because the cafe, perched on the edge of the park on Thorne Road near the roundabout with Leger Way, prides itself on cheap and cheerful yet filling no-nonsense food.
This is a proper, traditional British caff - sauce bottles on the table, other punters poring over their tabloids, waitresses scurrying to and fro with whopping great plates piled high with bacon and eggs and the like - in other words, something to be treasured.
On a recent visit and very much in need of a comfort food pick me up, I opted for the traditional English breakfast. And needless to say, it did exactly what it said on the tin.
Delivered up in quick time and piping hot. And of course, everything you’d expect for a good old fry-up feast - sausages, black pudding, beans, tomatoes and toast, eggs, bacon, mushrooms - you name it, it was there - a real tummy filler, the kind that leaves you just wanting to spend the rest of the morning kicking back, relaxing and taking it easy with a cuppa - which some patrons were clearly enjoying doing.
Fortunately, the delightful Sandall Park is on hand for a bracing stroll to work off all those calories - its a stone’s throw down to the lake to feed the ducks - although I wouldn’t recommend them tucking into a big breakfast!
But there’s plenty more on the menu throughout the day. Great big sandwiches, plated meals of trad British classics like pie, mash and veg and plenty of stuff for the little ones too - from snacks to full meals, so whenever you pop in, there’s always plenty to eat and look out for a host of great deals too.
This is great British food just how it should be.
Treat your tummy and your wallet too - you’ll not be disappointed!
* Darren Burke