Archive for the ‘food’ Category

Staycation Live Music 2014

August 2, 2014
Staycation Live 2014

Staycation Live 2014

The Box Hill Bedlam Morris Dancers

The Box Hill Bedlam Morris Dancers

Andy accompanying Jewelia

Andy accompanying Jewelia

Jewelia acoustic set

Jewelia acoustic set

Jewelia acoustic set

Jewelia acoustic set

New Rising

New Rising

Tree House Fire

Tree House Fire

Three factors determine a good music festival: the weather, the food and the music.

Staycation Live manages all three: lovely sunny day, good food, excellent music.

River Wey

River Wey

But let’s add a couple more: lovely location in the park by the river and it is free.

It was forecast rain, early afternoon, dark clouds, a heavy downpour, then the sun came out.

I arrived around one o’clock, it started at midday, so I missed Spotlight Cannibal on the bandstand and Telephone Road in the cloisters. There were not a lot of people, but then it was threatening rain.

As I arrived, Morris Men, reason enough to wander into the town. The reason Morris Men, to keep the noise level down, so as to not disturb a wedding in the Parish Church. These were Morris Men with attitude, Dark Morris, The Box Hill Bedlam Morris Dancers. The music was good, as were they.

When people dress in traditional costume, play traditional music, I always find it dire. On the other hand, add a contemporary mix, and it is usually quite good, and that was true of The Box Hill Bedlam Morris Dancers.

I bumped into a friendly face from The Tumbledown Dick campaign. We both agreed, councillors in Aldershot and Farnborough retards. Godalming hosts a free music festival, wonderful atmosphere, good food. In Farnborough, councillors destroy c 1720s Tumbledown Dick for a drive-thru McDonald’s.

I wandered over to the cloisters which was an acoustic stage. Telephone Pole had just finished, and Jewelia was setting up. Jewelia was good, very good, backed by Andy on acoustic guitar. Mainly her own stuff, excellent rendition of You Know How I Feel, Nina Simone classic.

It was a pity the second half of her set was being drowned out by bells from the church. Then if that was not enough, the wedding party decided to muscle their way into the cloisters.

One has heard of people gate crashing a wedding, but a wedding gate crashing a music festival. They made themselves very unpopular. A pity they did not show the same consideration as had been shown to them.

Back to the bandstand where New Rising were playing. They did an excellent blues number.

Followed by an Argentinian group Silvestre y la Naranja. They were pretty dire. Time to to wander into the town.

afternoon tea at Café Mila

afternoon tea at Café Mila

Afternoon tea at Café Mila.

Sadly I missed whoever was splaying in the acoustic stage, and they had finished by five o’clock.

The timings between the two stages needed to have been better synched, ideally one is playing whist the other has change over.

Tree House Fire a rock-reggae fusion. At times brilliant, most of the time good, occasionally dire. They have a new album out, but not released until Monday. They played Staycation Live 2012.

The final act, Smoky Bastards, were unbelievably bad, it was almost as though a parody of a bad act.

Last year, everyone was selling CDs at a fiver. A fiver and people will part with their money and not think twice, make it a tenner and people will think twice. Last year bands were shifting their CDs, today those selling at a tenner were not.

Knowledge of bandcamp finally seems to be sinking into the conciousness of musicians, and yet perversely they are still not using. Announcing a new album on iTunes is crazy, anounce it on bandcamp. And to direct people to spotify it total insanity.

Two years ago, excellent food, then last year stainless steel burger vans, commercial tea and beer tents. Notice seem to have been taken, as no one was happy, this year back to local food and drink, Sail Bar with real ales, a hog roast, local Thai and vegetarian curries, and Dylan’s ice cream. A pity though the local butcher with his hog roast was not there.

Suggestions for next year:

  • local butcher with hog roast
  • Curries from Home
  • HoBo Co
  • Thai restaurant in Jeffries Passage in Guildford

Last act finished at 7-30, allowing daylight to clear up.

This is Godalming, no litter anywhere.

Staycation Live continues through the night in various pubs in the town, then back in the park on Sunday, midday until around eight o’clock.

Late lunch at Caffe Macchiato

July 30, 2014
Peroni

Peroni

I thought I would try something different. I occasionally have a cappuccino at Caffe Macchiato, and this time of year it is pleasant to sit outside, though of late, too hot.

It is questionable why anyone goes to Costa, when it is possible to get a decent cappuccino in a pleasant environment at Caffe Macchiato.

Today I thought I would have lunch.

But first, a beer.

I was aware of the name, but have never had a Peroni before. A delight I had missed out on. Very pleasant on a hot afternoon.

Then, I am not sure, and not quite what I had expected.

I thought, strips of beef mixed with a mushroom sauce. What I got, a large, but thin piece of beef, covered with a mushroom sauce.

Plus a big bowl of salad.

The chips were an anomaly, and did not go with the dish. Better would have been nice new potatoes, or as I had in a restaurant in Cascais, sliced fried potatoes.

Portion size generous. In fact for me, too much.

Late afternoon outside Caffe Macchiato is pleasant as you catch the sun down the street until it disappears behind the trees.

Caffe Macchiato used to stay open until 7pm, now, more is the pity, they close at 6pm. Six is ok for winter, but for summer, when it is pleasant, it needs to be open until at least seven. Though they do appear to have reached a compromise, if there are customers and they do not have to be elsewhere, they remain open.

Sitting outside, it shows what potential the street has, if the local council had councillors with more than two brain cells to share between them. If everyone looked after their building like Caffe Macchiato, if we got rid of the disgusting fast food outlets, if cars were barred from what is allegedly a pedestrian street.

The local council is proposing to spend £4.5 million on the centre of Aldershot. It is money down the drain, there has been no consultation with either the local community or local businesses. It will do nothing to enhance the centre of Aldershot.

Lunch at The Keystone

July 26, 2014
fish cakes and salad

fish cakes and salad

As yesterday, excellent lunch at The Keystone, but unlike yesterday, not raining.

I gave the soup a miss. Leek and potato is a winter soup. Summer soups: pea and mint, watercress, tomato, courgette, to name but a few.

Fish cakes and salad as main course. Excellent.

The Keystone are participants in Guildford Independent’s Day, and I forgot to get my card stamped.

The Keystone is located at the bottom of the High Street over the bridge, behind St Nicolas Church.

Guildford farmers market

July 26, 2014
Town Bridge

Town Bridge

boat passing under Town Bridge

boat passing under Town Bridge

trugs

trugs

sweetcorn

sweetcorn

strawberries

strawberries

infused oil seed rape oil

infused oil seed rape oil

paella

paella

English wine

English wine

Hazy Hog from Hogs Back Brewery

Hazy Hog from Hogs Back Brewery

elderflower

elderflower

Live Music Day in Aldershot or Guildford farmers market. No contest. Guildford farmers market it was.

Usually on the first Tuesday of the month, a Saturday market as part of the Guildford Summer Festival.

Loaf of Celtic baker, sweetcorn off one stall, strawberries and broad beans off Secretts.

Sweetcorn has to be very fresh. Ideally picked and straight in the pot. I was thus shocked the sweetcorn on Secretts stall, the green dried, white and papery. Very unusual for Secretts as they usually have very high standards.

The sweetcorn I had for tea. Delicious. As was the ham from The Joint in Jeffries Passage (I also got sausages for Sunday lunch). The ham was in a sandwich with the bread from Celtic baker. The strawberries were delicious with Greek yoghurt (far better than cream).

Lemonade off the paella stall was not as strong as last time (when it almost blew your head off), a little too watery. The man admitted, it was very difficult to get the balance right. A Spanish lady sampled the paella and said she was impressed.

The lemonade was served in a polystyrene cup. Yuk. Cannot be recycled, goes to landfill or incineration. But, the man said he is looking to source paper cups, which can be recycled or composted.

Ben’s Record Fair was taking place in the Old Town Hall. Mainly overpriced rubbish, but the stall at the back was interesting.

It would be a good idea to hold Ben’s Record Fair at the same time as the farmers market, as an additional attraction in the High Street.

It would be great if during the summer months, Ben had a stall at the farmers market.

I would suggest scrap the farmers market and instead for the summer festival have a Guildford Food Festival. The Godalming Food Festival a couple of weeks ago was very successful. Invite the farmers, but aslo invite a wider range, for example Hobo Co coffee van, the butcher who did the hog roast in Godalming, whoever did the paella. Local chefs could have cookery demonstrations in Tunsgate, with audience in the High Street. Local chefs and restaurants I have spoken to have already expressed an interest. Invite a couple of writers with their cook books. And run until five o’clock.

A successful Guildford Food Festival would stretch along the High Street and into and along Tunsgate.

The support is there, everyone I spoke to was in favour. It is a question of the local council getting its act together and providing support and leadership.

Experience Guildford are looking for projects to fund or kick-start that will leave a lasting legacy. What better than a food festival?

Other projects Experience Guildford may like to consider would be a Guildford Pound and a Fringe Book Festival.

Only a few days left of Guildford Independent’s Day. I was curious why was the excellent Thai restaurant in Jeffries Passage not listed. I asked. They had not been asked. Until I told them, they knew nothing of Guildford Independent’s Day. They also did not know there was an extra farmers market today. Had they known, they would have had a stall. Had they known of Guildford Independent’s Day, they would have been listed. Lack of communication.

I have since learnt, there are many independent businesses, who knew nothing about Guildford Independent’s Day, hence their lack of listing. There are also some, who knew, but perversely chose not to be listed.

Excellent lunch at The Keystone.

Lunch at The Keystone

July 25, 2014
fish cakes and salad

fish cakes and salad

Dark clouds, a thunderstorm. That had scuppered eating outside at The Keystone, thought I. Luckily not, I was able to sit under one of the umbrellas.

Eating my lunch, fish cakes and salad, the sun cam back out.

Whilst I was there, a band was setting up for later. I think part of the Guildford Fringe, for which The Keystone is one of the venues.

The Keystone is also a participant in Guildford Independent’s Day.

The Keystone is located at the bottom of the High Street over the bridge, behind St Nicolas Church.

Lunch at Nepalese restaurant

July 20, 2014
lunch at Nepalese restaurant

lunch at Nepalese restaurant

A break from the airshow with lunch at the Nepalese restaurant across the road from The Swan Inn.

Not busy, indeed it was empty, which meant the buffet had been sitting there for some time. Being empty, meant a choice of tables, therefore could sit by the window and watch the planes. Sadly yet another local business that sees the airshow as an excuse to rip people off. And yet, on other days, apart from Sunday, they were closed during the afternoon.

Lunch at The Swan Inn

July 18, 2014
The Swan Inn

The Swan Inn

view of airfield deliberately obstructed

view of airfield deliberately obstructed

I had decided to have lunch at The Swan Inn. Had I not already decided, I would not have eaten there, as I was appalled at the marque and vans that were deliberately obstructing view of the runway from the main road. Something locals may wish to reflect upon.

A special Airshow menu. There was nothing special on the menu, other than the price, therefore reasonable to assume Farnborough Airshow being used as an excuse to rip off customers.

A chalk board advising 20% discount with voucher if you register to receive their newsletter.

Registration made, voucher printed and presented.

I have come across bad service, but nothing to compare with the reception of my voucher.

First girl looked at it with distaste, called over a second girl. She spent at least five minutes scrutinising it, trying to find grounds to refuse it. Finding none, she told me to go to a different part of the bar. This I did, but finding it busy, I came back, made it very clear their behaviour was unacceptable.

A third girl who looked like she was moonlighting from school, then intervened. Grudgingly, she accepted the voucher.

I also ordered a drink, to be told does not cover drink. The beer was served in plastic, not a glass.

Second girl told me voucher required two courses. Nothing on the voucher to say so, even though she tried very hard to find.

Third girl asked where I was sitting. I pointed to a table in the bar.

No, you cannot sit there, the offer only applies to our restaurant.

I asked was the menu different.

She said no.

Earlier, I had said I wished to sit on the veranda, to be told no. No reason was given. I then said garden, to be told it was £30 to sit in their garden.

But odd, I am being asked where I am sitting. On walking in, a sign saying ask to be seated.

Maybe I should have pointed out their own sign.

Maybe too, I should have pointed out their very prominent sign saying subscribe to their newsletter and receive a 20% discount voucher.

Or drawn attention to their website (actually I did):

Subscribe to our newsletter and we’ll give you a voucher for 20% off your food bill!

I then settled down to what I excepted to be a long wait.

Impossible to relax, moronic pop music blasting out.

Surprisingly not a long wait.

beer battered haddock

beer battered haddock

Haddock and chips. The haddock served upside down and plonked on the chips. The so-called chips, potato wedges, that most people would have thrown out. Mushy peas, in a tiny little pot the size of an egg cup.

No salt and pepper on the table. I was not asked if I required. I looked around and could not see any. No one inquired was my meal ok.

I was not the only person not happy. Other people I spoke to, were not happy either.

The kitchen closed at three, not open again until six. What world are they living in?

Ropes were across the door on entry, and across the door leading down to the veranda. Rope trailing on the ground, ideal trip hazard walking into a dark pub from brilliant sunshine outside. One of the girls (not who served me) did trip as she came in from the bright sun.

After the girl tripped, it was pointed out a trip hazard, but no action taken.

In the absence of a discount voucher, haddock and chips £10-95.

Again from their website, I think someone’s idea of a sick joke:

An historic building set in a fantastic location, The Swan Inn is now open after a major refurbishment and this welcoming, independently run gastro pub boasts a stylish beer garden with unique views over the London-Farnborough runway.

Enjoy quality, freshly-cooked food with locally sourced ingredients … Our popular lunch and dinner menus serve traditional and healthy pub alternatives, and our friendly staff will gladly take you through the seasonal menu and daily specials.

Gastro oub it certainly is not, whether locally sourced ingredients, I know not, apart from the fact the haddock came not from the nearby Basingstoke Canal, and there is nowhere local growing potatoes or peas (which were mushy not fresh), and the stylish garden (an area of grass with tables) costs £30 to sit in, and if what I experienced is welcoming, one wonders what unwelcoming is like.

The garden, for which it was being charged £30 to sit in, even though you were a customer, is on the centre line of the runway. It is not safe. It is within the PSZ (Public Safety Zone), defined by 1 in 100,000 risk contour, within which cannot build, cannot allow people to congregate, as deemed too high a risk, ie not safe. The 1 in 10,000 risk contour lies just short of the garden.

The best place to observe the planes, unless you wish to view the underside of a plane landing or taking off, is outside and to the side of The Swan Inn.

In light of the fact The Swan Inn was deliberately blocking local residents passing along the main road of a view of the airfield (many were enjoying that view earlier in the week), I suggest locals show what they think of this pub by boycotting it.

Apart from blocking the view, there were vehicles parked on the footpath, forcing people out onto a very busy main road. Police on cycles came by, stopped for several minutes outside the pub, but took no action. Nor did they take action on drinks being consumed outside the pub.

The Swan Inn was refurbished some years ago. Before then a very rough pub. A quality pub, good food, may work in Farnham or Godalming or Guildford, but not Farnborough. Revisiting a couple of years ago they seemed to have repositioned themselves at the lower end of the market, their clientèle being rowdy drunks. The outside of the pub is now looking the worse for wear.

The Swan Inn is owned by TAG who also own the airfield.

Beer and Cider Festival at The Keystone

July 12, 2014
barrels of beer and cider

barrels of beer and cider

I had looked in yesterday and seen all the barrels lined up in the back courtyard.

On my way to Godalming, I stopped off and had a beer.

pleasant crowd in the evening

pleasant crowd in the evening

I my return from Godalming in the evening, I again stopped off and had a beer.

A dozen or more barrels of beer and cider, from real breweries not industrial chemical plants.

Hartwood Timber, had a display of wood products on one of the tables.

It could not have been a nicer day or evening, very pleasant and warm.

In the back courtyard, a very pleasant atmosphere, not obnoxious drunks.

half pint of real ale

half pint of real ale

The Beer and Cider Festival at The Keystone is a part of the Guildford Fringe.

Guildford Fringe was launched last year by The Star Inn. A very successful programme. This year they have expanded to include more venues. The venues put on events as a part of the Fringe, for example the Beer and Cider Festival at The Keystone. Guildford Fringe runs 1-27 July 2014.

The Keystone are participants in Guildford Independent’s Day (a celebration of indie businesses in Guildford). Apart from maps on the bar listing the indie businesses, there are also maps on all the tables.

The Keystone is located at the bottom of the High Street over the bridge, behind St Nicolas Church.

Lunch at The Keystone

July 11, 2014
courgette soup

courgette soup

fish cakes and salmon

fish cakes and salad

This is my third visit to The Keystone since it changed hands and the food has been consistently good.

Today, courgette soup, a summer soup. Generous portion, but sadly only lukewarm, not piping hot, but tasty. White bread, not brown.

Fish cakes and salad was good. Again doused in something unpleasant.

I learn the painted doors were all different artists. I assumed the same artist. One is by the same guy who has the two paintings of musicians on the wall. Apparently he only took up painting a year ago. An incredibly gifted artist.

I met the new owner. A really nice guy called Richard, keen. He needs to be as he has to rebuild the reputation of The Keystone whist at the same time being screwed by zombie pubco Punch.

The worry was, any new owner would ditch all the good things. Luckily not, he will build on them.

I floated the idea of alternative book festive to tally with the Guildford Book Festival. A Fringe Festival to tally was launched last year, a great success.

barrels of beer and cider

barrels of beer and cider

A large number of beer barrels outside. A beer and cider festival over the weekend.

The Keystone are participants in Guildford Independent’s Day.

The Keystone is located at the bottom of the High Street over the bridge, behind St Nicolas Church.

Lunch at The Queen Hotel

July 8, 2014
steak and chips

steak and chips

After a successful opening in April, The Queen Hotel in Aldershot is now rapidly going downhill.

Tuesday steak day, ordered rump steak and chips.

The steak was ok, the solitary mushroom hot, the plate cold and the chips absolutely disgusting.

It beggars belief how any self respecting chef could serve chips that looked disgusting and tasted disgusting. Chips are never very good, but never this disgusting.

Meal comes with a free pint, and usually a reasonable choice of real ales from small breweries. Not today.

The manager who has been there since it opened not there. Not seen for some weeks. Maybe she has left. Maybe that is why it has gone downhill.


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