Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Muffin Break, Belfry Centre, Redhill, Surrey, UK

I've paid about four visits to Muffin Break in Redhill since it arrived a year or so ago, probably longer, not exactly sure. Four visits. It's not a regular haunt, put it that way, as there are plenty of other offerings in Redhill, such as the M&S Café, which is always a safe bet, or Café Piazza at the opposite end of the centre on the first floor level. There's also a coffee shop on ground floor level opposite Waterstone's, Ho Sete, which is fine if you don't mind being 'exposed' to passing shoppers.

But let's get back to Muffin Break, so-called because it sells, among other things, muffins. You could say that muffins are the 'signature dish' of the place. Which is fine if you like muffins, but I don't. I hate them with a vengeance. They're too doughy for my liking and no amount of convincing me otherwise will change my mind. I have a similar aversion to scones, but I'd eat one if the only other choice was a muffin. If muffins were the only choice, I'd starve.
Muffin Break, Belfry Centre, Redhill, Surrey

I was in Muffin Break this week. It's a bright place with a fast foody air to it; there's a counter with a menu on the wall behind it and, in essence, the range of food on offer includes various filled ciabatta breads, toasted sandwiches, and a few other hot snacks plus the aforementioned muffins and a few cakes. There's the usual array of hot and cold drinks (tea, coffee, hot chocolate etc) and that's about it.

My companions chose a cheese and pickle sandwich each plus hot chocolate and a mug of tea and I chose a cheese and jalapeno ciabatta sandwich with a medium-sized black coffee (that's an Americano in pretentious speak).

The cheese sandwiches were fine, the tea was good, the hot chocolate fine and the Americano was good too, and so was the jalapeno and cheese ciabatta There's nothing wrong with the cuisine, the service is pretty good (although the man forgot my ciabatta and I had to get up and ask for it again) but other than that it was fine. But it's a little pricey for what it is, I find. Some might beg to differ, but my bill hovered around the £20 mark and while that's probably the norm these days, there's something lacking for me that means I'm not a regular customer at Muffin Break. Perhaps the reason I think it's not good value for money is simply that I can't seem to relax there, it's not cosy, and while one could argue that the M&S café isn't cosy either (it's also a brightly lit cafeteria style operation with the menu displayed behind the counter like a fast food outlet) it has something, possibly the banter with the 'dinner ladies' who run the place. Similarly Café Piazza, although I would argue that the Piazza is cosy because it's darker and the food is more hearty, even the 'meal deals' which include a drink.

Out of 10 I'd give Muffin Break a five and I would rate the M&S café and Café Piazza both around seven.