Our local historian, guide, agniologist and impecunious pensioner invites you to take a walk with him (more like a hobble in his case) around Nottingham City Centre, comparing the choices and prices now, compared to what he paid and had as a teenager, Café-wise.
The comparisons depict the changing face of life for Nottingham residents, legal and otherwise.
1960: Maid Marion Way
Establishment: Wimpey Snack Bar
Recommended: Beefburger & Chips
Consisting of: Beefburger Chips, garden peas, bread and marge. Cup of tea 3d (1p)
Price: 2/3d (11p)
Comments: The chips were made out of paste from tins, and took about 10 seconds to deep fry, but they were not in the least bit greasy. The frozen garden peas they used were soft and sweet. The tea was not very strong. (Quick Brew)
2011: Maid Marion Way
Establishment: 'Chutney' Indian Restaurant
Recommended: Tandoori Combo
Consisting of: Boneless cicken, tender lamb, Bombay potatoes, smothered in a tandoori marinade.
Comments: No comments available as I've never passed the premises and seen anyone inside.
1960: Bridlesmith Gate
Establishment: 'Lily's Cafe'
Recommended: Beef Dinner(I thought of recommending Lily, but thought better of it)
Consisting of: Mashed potatoes, greens, gravy, roast beef, mushrooms, Yorkshire pudding, mug of tea 4d (2p)
Price: 3/6p (17½p)
Comments: Always packed out, but worth the wait. Big busted Lily always had a kind word, and a Woodbine in her mouth.
2011: Bridlesmith Gate
Establishment: 'Café Rouge' (French)
Recommended: Crepe au Courgerres et Poivrons
Consisting of: Baked crêpe filled with peppers & courgettes, topped with crème fraîche
Comments: The waiting time was longer than Lily's was! A cup of coffee was offered at £2.15!
1960: Upper Parliament Street
Establishment: El Toreador (Owned by ab Italian family from Leicester)
Recommended: Lamb Rissoto
Consisting of: Chicken broth, shallots Arborio rice, cheese, lamb, & artichoke hearts.
Price: 6/- (30p)
Comments: Great place for us teenagers, they had a skiffle group playing for us!
2011: Upper Parliament Street
Establishment: May Sum Buffet Restaurant (Chinese)
Recommended: Sweet & Sour Pork
Consisting of: Battered Sweet & Sour Pork balls in sauce
Comments: *The service is terrible: staff are always leaning over table (while you are still eating) to grab a plate at the other side of the table, then when you want to order a drink/get the bill no one will come to your table unless you a baiting them with an empty plate. Food is average & service is sub-average (better at McDonald's)
*Customer comment on Google Maps
1960: Near Huntingdon Street
Establishment: Station Cafe
Recommended: Breakfast Fry-up
Consisting of: Bacon, sausage, fried bread, black pudding, eggs, tomatoes or baked beans, mug of tea.
Price: All for 2/3p (11P)
Bacon Cob 1/- (5p)
Breakfast Sandwich 1/- (5p)
Pastries prices start from 2d (1p)
Toast 3d (1¼p)
Ski yoghurt's 4d (2p)
Expresso Coffee 1/- (5p)
Comments: So unhealthy to eat nowadays, but knowing no better we decrepit oldies digested the lot and enjoyed it. There beef dripping sandwiches had plenty oof jelly on them, and were salted! Mmmmm!
2011: Near Huntingdon Street
Establishment: Costa Coffee Chinese
Recommended: Nothing at all
Consisting of: Nothing at all
Price: Breakfast £4.99
Bacon Roll £2.50
Breakfast Roll £3.80
Egg and mushroom roll £2.50
Morning pastries prices start from £1.30
Granola yoghurt's from £1.80
Cappuichino coffee £2.10
1960: Foreman Street
Establishment: Haye's Fish & Chip Shop
Recommended: Fish & Chips
Consisting of: Fish & Chips
Price: 2/6p (12½p)
Comments: Wonderfully fat fried crispy dark brown chips, and the fish batter was excellent. Mr Haye's always had an insult for us, and his service left a lot to be desired, but the sheer taste of his fodder ensured we always returned.
2011: Foreman Street
Establishment: Mustapha's Take Away
Recommended: Chips are not too bad.
Consisting of: Potatoes cooking oil
Price: Fish & Chips £4.50
Comments: The last food outlet that looks like a chip shop used to years ago. Chicken, pizzas, kebabs, etc also on sale. Batter on the fish I'd liken to shoe leather.
Summary: Perhaps the best of all the Cafés in Nottingham was Betty's in Central Market (I hope this prompts some memories of the readers who remember her stall, halfway up at the back).
She was jolly, patient, cuddly, and made everyone welcome.
Her fried egg sandwiches I always said were made with a secret recipe, she got them right everytime... perfect!