When you eat in the in-store café of the massive ASDA in Wembley, you just expect greatness. You expect quality. You expect gourmet.
However, their “All-Day Brunch” offering failed to live up to the weighty expectations of fine-dining that comes with the ASDA name.
The ASDA café ethos is transparency. There are no secrets from the customer. They don’t hide their food away in a refrigerator or cook it freshly to order behind some sinister kitchen door, away from the public eye. Oh no.
Everything was cooked hours ago (and as ASDA Wembley is open 24 hours, it might even be days ago. Meat is like wine, it gets better with age) and left in a bowl for you to see, in a bain-marie with nothing but a piece of glass separating you from the delicious food that is kept at a temperature that meets the legal requirements to be classed as “warm.”
And it’s not just for you to see, there could be hundreds of people who have seen those same individuals items of food before they eventually end up on your plate.
I ordered an “All-Day Brunch”, because it was close to noon and a fry-up should be able to be ordered on demand at any time in the day, like an ambulance (in all of the UK), a fire engine (in all of the UK) or heroin (exclusive to Scotland).
The beauty of the bain-marie system is being able to choose exactly which items you want (because the beauty of the bain-marie system sure-as-shit isn’t the quality of the food). I asked for the crispiest bacon on view as, my theory was, if I eat the more thoroughly cooked rashers, there was less chance that the bacteria living on it would survive to, in return, eat the lining to my guts and poison my blood.
Most of the customers in the ASDA Café Wembley are sat on a table by themselves, staring at their shopping trolleys full of groceries opposite them (substituting in the role of a “dining partner”) to act as a deterrent to other customers who might steal out of them.
One exception was a woman (full tracksuit in a shade of freshly burnt flesh pink), her gentleman-friend (full tracksuit in a shade of shadowy alley where a night stabbing has taken place black) and a baby. The female was yelling to her mother in the food queue, with culinary recommendations. “GET THE CHICKEN KORMA, IT’S FUCKIN’ LOVELY ‘ERE. DON’T GET IT WIFF RICE THOUGH, RICE IS SHIT. GET IT WIFF CHIPS!”
When I stopped admiring the clientele my attention was drawn to the carnival of dried out fried food before me.
The bacon like the scab over a war veteran’s bullet wound, the eggs like they were ejaculated onto the plate by a syphilis sufferer, the sausages looking like they’ve had a bad fake tan job and the mushrooms colourless and wrinkly like half of an elderly gentleman’s bollock.
And it was just as good as it looked.
I really enjoyed it as I often find that food can have too much taste or have a resemblance of moisture to it.
But not the ASDA Wembley Café All-Day Brunch.
Blander than an Emeli Sande album track and as dry as the mouth of someone who was binge-drinking extra-strength cider the night before.
To really improve it, I made sure everything was drenched in the juice from the beans. The baked beans had the satisfying taste of cost efficiency. You know when you’ve bought an 8p can of value beans and they aren’t terrible. And you realise “I’ve got a real bargain here, these taste almost like normal beans and some mugs spend up to 60p on a tin of Heinz. The flash cocks.”
And all this for 4.50! So that’s the score that I’ll give it. 4.5.
Out of 10,000.