Ashington is a foreign country: they do things differently there. I was there recently and this came to mind. Not sure why - partly because the bus takes so long (it meanders through most villages in Northumberland, often doubling back as though it's just remembered it left the gas on) and partly because everyone seems to know everyone else.
Anyway, I easily found Mario's Cafe on the main street.
It looks as though the cafe now belongs to Alf as he's advertising his own breakfasts in time honoured fashion on a blackboard:
I don't know what happened to Mario. It's possible he teamed up with his brother and made it big in the computer gaming business. Alf is definitely in charge now and when I asked for a veggie version of the 'big one' he took out his pen and pad while we discussed what he could offer. His wife made a couple of suggestions as well, which was good because Alf got stuck on a loop of beans and tomatoes. Here's the outcome of our deliberations:
When he brought it out, Alf said he'd decided to add a few chips at the last minute, which was a very canny idea as a few chips improve any meal. On reflection, I think they might have been an example of his 'amuse bouche' but I don't know what I'm talking about. At any rate, they amused my bouche as did the mug of hot tea.
Festive footnote: Christmas is looming so the bus home was full of bairns in santa hats. One lad kept singing a scatological version of Jingle Bells. After about 20 minutes his mam said 'If ye divvent shurrup Ah'll put that hat in the bin and ye'll spend Christmas in bed.' The rest of the bus silently concurred.