The Breakfast Project: Nicholls Oval Restaurant

The Breakfast Project is a personal initiative led by one bacon addicted student and her Breakfast Partner in Crime (more commonly referred to as her BPC) to find the best and worst breakfasts in town, and report the findings back to all of you, so you never have to sit through another bad breakfast again—well, at least not in Peterborough.

This week’s breakfast hunt took BPC and I out on Parkhill to the Nicholls Oval Restaurant. We were headed out of town anyways, so it seemed like as good a time as any to give it a try.

It was an exciting adventure for us as it was a restaurant neither of us had been to before, so it was a whole new breakfast experience. Only a complete greasy spoon junkie can understand this extreme excitement.

From the outside, it looks like a pretty typical restaurant that serves up the usual fish and chips, burgers, BLTs and breakfast selections, and inside, it was pretty much the same.

We headed in around 8:45am and, quite shockingly, found that they were closed. Turns out they don’t open until 9am, which is kind of strange considering they’re a breakfast joint, but hey, they must have their reasons.

We swung back around 15 minutes later and they were open. Not surprisingly, we were the first ones in, so we had our pick of tables.

Inside, the restaurant is exactly what you would expect for that kind of place, complete with wooden tables, tiled floors, typical oil paintings, and a wild array of fluorescent lights.

Quite promptly, a waitress came over to our table and we ordered our teas. I was very happy to discover that the tea pot actually poured. This has become quite a pet peeve for me, as a tea pot only has one real purpose in life, so it must be a very unfulfilling life for the tea pot if it can’t even achieve its one purpose.

After our tea arrived, we ordered the usual breakfast special and awaited our meals.

On a side note, I’ll just add that BPC and I always order the breakfast special with bacon and brown toast. We’re not into the whole ham or sausage with breakfast thing.

The waitress was very friendly and accommodating, and offered to refill our tea pots with hot water regularly at no extra cost, which I always appreciate. A few minutes after ordering, our breakfast arrived and we dug right in.

At first glance, I was pleased to see that breakfast looked just the way it should. The eggs were perfectly rounded and cooked to perfection. One pierce at the corner with my fork let loose an avalanche of golden yellow yolk which I quickly sponged up with toast.

BPC’s over-medium eggs were also cooked perfectly. It’s nice when there’s actually a difference between the over-easy and over-medium egg, as there should be.

The home fries were deliciously spiced and lightly fried with some red and green peppers, which BPC and I both agreed was a really nice touch. I was quite surprised at how tasty they were. I could have even used a few more on my plate, which is always a good sign. I’m not sure why some restaurants insist on being so sparse with their potatoes, but what can you do?

Sadly, the bacon was quite obviously reheated from yesterday, which I guess may have been our fault for arriving so early, but it’s not that hard to fry up a few fresh slices. Unfortunately, this brought the breakfast down a little, but the bacon was still edible, so no real harm was done.

The toast was obviously store-bought, processed bread, but it did the job just fine, and I wasn’t expecting anything more than that. It was served with a whole container of packaged jams, which made BPC very happy as there was a selection to choose from. He quickly grabbed up two marmalades.

Our tea came with milk packages rather than a container, but I wasn’t shocked by that either. Most restaurants opt to use those instead.

As climate change takes a toll on our world, we can blame restaurants and their overuse of those tiny ridiculous little packages.

At the end of the meal, BPC and I were thoroughly content and rather impressed. I think we were both expecting a pretty mediocre breakfast, and, although I would never go out of my way to get to this one, if I ever find myself hungry on the way to class, this could be a pit stop for me.

Its location right on the East Bank bus route is also a plus for travelling students and those looking for a breakfast close to campus.

On the potato scale, so far, these ones rank quite high, but the restaurant is lacking on the bacon scale. I’d be curious to try this place again just to see if I’m served a few fresh slices this time.

At the end of the meal, we weren’t charged for our tea. I’m not sure if that was a mistake or if it’s just figured into the final price, but it was $4.99 a person, which we both agreed was a super reasonable price and an incentive to go again.

I love breakfast for this reason. What other meal can you eat out for under $10, and still get a huge portion of food?

Below is my personal rating scale for breakfasts. Each component of breakfast will be rated out of 10 on my bacon scale. Overall atmosphere will also be rated. This includes the staff we encounter and the general ambience of the restaurant. Bonus points can also be awarded for things like a surprise piece of fruit on the plate or extra embellishments to the meal like a sprig of parsley or homemade toast.

I’ll add up all these points and award each restaurant an overall mark, and, at the end of the adventure, we’ll see who the reigning champs of breakfast are, and which breakfasts should be avoided altogether.

breakfast review score score for nicholls oval