Archive for the ‘food’ Category

Lunch and afternoon tea at Café Mila

October 28, 2014
pumpkin soup

pumpkin soup

Excellent lunch at Café Mila.

Pumpkin soup, followed by filo pastry tart stuffed with vegetables.

Pumpkin soup is usually an orangey-yellow. This was green. I do not know why. I meant to ask the chef, but forgot. Strictly speaking, it was spiced pumpkin soup.

A wander around Godalming, then afternoon tea and cake. Bakewell tart with a mug of tea.

Bad news, Café Mila will be closing at four o’clock, which is not good news. Indeed it is very bad news.

I would turn this around. In the winter stay open until five o’clock, in the summer stay open until at least six o’clock.

Today, and last Tuesday, it was still busy when I left a few minutes before 4-30.

When indy coffee shops close early, all they do is lose custom to the High Street chains, people then get into the habit and do not come back.

In Guildford in the summer Glutton & Glee are turning people way when they close at five o’clock. Their loss, Harris + Hoole gain.

Lunch at Iydea

October 26, 2014

lunch at Iydea

lunch at Iydea


Has Iydea changed hands?

Food still good, but not much else.

Internal décor has changed. Not an improvement.

Inside horrendous music thudding out. Lunch and as an added bonus, leave with a headache.

It used to be two plates, two portion sizes.

Now, pick what you wish to eat, two vegetable or salad choices.

Very unpleasant surly person serving. When asked, what the different dishes were, said read what it says on the counter. Same with the toppings.

I would fire him on the spot.

They used to have very charming and helpful staff.

I sat outside, it was far to unpleasant to sit inside. Though not too warm to sit outside.

They used to have cakes, a delicious choice. If they still have cakes, not apparent.

I walked to Taylor St Baristas and had a cappuccino and a cookie.

La Casita

October 24, 2014

It is good when you stumble across somewhere worth eating, where they take a pride in their food.

Lunch at Guildford Institute was not up to much today, mainly because everything had gone and there was little choice.

Late afternoon, I decided to have a cappuccino and cookie in Harris + Hoole, but upstairs was closed (they now close at five) and downstairs was packed.

I walked to the Castle grounds and read a little of This Changes Everything on Google Nexus 7. On the way I passed La Casita and looked at the menu. On my way back, I looked again, and although it was only early evening, I was hungry, and decided to give them a try.

I asked was their offer three tapas for £10 still valid, they said yes.

I decicdd to stay.

A lovely atmosphere.

I chose tortilla española, champiñones al ajillo (mushrooms cooked with garlic and chillies) and pincho moruno (pork and peppers and onions on a wooden spit).

The portions were generous.

Something missing. Bread. I asked. Why did you not say. A basket of bread was brought out.

The tortilla good, though not as good as in Puerto de la Cruz, though half way through, I decided as good. The other portions excellent.

To have food this good, yoou would have to go to the old part of Puerto de la Cruz, where there are many excellent restaurants or El Limón or Meson California en Plaza Charco during carnival.

As it was early and I was the only customer, I had a long chat with the owner. Someone who takes a pride in what he is doing. A pleasant change to the ghastly chains that dominate our town centres, chains that do not even pay tax.

It is these little business we should be supporting. When was the last time a politician passed through the door and asked ‘what can we do to help?’ on the other hand they fall over backwards to help big business.

La Casita to be added to the list of places worth eating in Guildford, Friday lunch at the Guildford Institute, Thai restaurant in Jeffries Passage.

Afternoon in Godalming

October 21, 2014
Church Street

Church Street

I was surprised how cold it was when I alighted at Godalming Station.

Was it different location or was it temperature falling during the day?

A big storm was due to hit during the night. The remnants of a hurricane that devastated Barbados over the weekend. I cannot say I noticed, but this morning it was very windy, and reports of extensive damage from across the country.

The first big storm of the autumn. Trees still have most of their leaves hence maximum damage. Storms are arriving earlier and earlier, and of increasing severity.

If we hold global temperature rise to less than 2C we are going to see an increase in severity of storms. Ideally we should hold to less than 1.5C. But with the amount of carbon we are pumping into the atmosphere, we are unlikely to hold to 2C. If we go beyond 2C, the models start to break down and we are likely to face thermal runway.

But it is still businesses as usual. And when we use austerity as excuse for Shock Doctrine, slash and burn of public services, we are in not in a good position to withstand shocks to the system, as we saw with the floods and storms last winter (which stated with autumn storms, and we have already had nearly two weeks of rain).

A look in the Parish Church. Where prayer cards are left, and candles lit. I noticed a memorial book for our animal friends. And why not, they are as much a member of the family.

A walk along the River Wey. Very cold.

Lunch at Café Mila. It was packed. I have never seen it this packed.

Even upstairs was packed.

mushroom soup

mushroom soup

cauliflower and sweet potato curry

cauliflower and sweet potato curry

I ordered mushroom soup followed by a curry. Both were brought up to me by the chef.

The mushroom soup was excellent. Often soup is sloshed around a bowl. Not when the chef serves. Presentation is equally important. Generous portions too.

The curry was ok. Not what I would have chosen, but everything else had gone. More like a broth. It lacked body. I would have added some chopped up boiled new potatoes.

Lunchtime eateries in Winchester have a lot to learn. In Ginger Gelato, watery tomato soup. Lunch consists of a little more than ciabatta with a little melted cheese. Were Café Mila Winchester to open I cannot see anyone else surviving.

A little wander through Godalming.

Tea and cake in Café Mila. Not much choice left on the cakes.

sunset over Frensham Pond

sunset over Frensham Pond

Catch 4-30 bus to Aldershot. Three counties, Surrey, Sussex, Surrey, Hampshire, through the Surrey Hills. I thought it might be heavy rain, a nightmare journey, but luckily sunny. Sunset over Frensham Pond. A pity the bus drivers do not clean their windows.

When I get off the bus over an hour and a half later, very cold at the bus station. Five minutes wait for a bus, and I was chilled to the bone.

Dinner and party at Nicolas Tavern

September 28, 2014
delicious food

delicious food

Greek food

Greek salad

tea and cake

tea and cake

Chicken soup, followed by kleftico, followed by baclava.

Many claim to do kleftico, but if it is not cooked in the traditional way, slow-cooked in a  clay oven, then it is not kleftico.

At Nicolas Tavern, kleftico is slow-cooked in a clay oven.

live music

live music

Nicolas, staff and guests

Nicolas, staff and guests

A 40th anniversary wedding party, around 60 guests. Live music until half-past midnight, followed by DJ until the early hours of the morning.

Cappuccino at Caffe Macchiato

September 12, 2014
cappuccino at Caffe Macchiato

cappuccino at Caffe Macchiato

A pleasant afternoon, luckily Caffe Macchiato was still open and it was possible to sit outside and enjoy a cappuccino.

Caffe Macchiato has occasional live music in the evening and tonight was one of those nights.

The musician was setting up, and I was able to hear the music drifting out of the open door.

A set menu on music nights, each table was laid out, a wine glass or beer glass, a candle, a specially printed menu.

Many of the starters were already prepared, a bread basket with bread and olives.

The food looked good, and was very nicely presented.

Indeed, hard to believe this was Aldershot (where both service and food is dreadful) rather than somewhere in a continental side street, or at the very least nearby Godalming or Guildford or Farnham, but no, it was Aldershot.

Sat outside, a pedestrian street, and yet vehicles are allowed through. Earlier, cars were racing through.

The street should be vehicle free, 24 hours a day seven days a week, deliveries by hand cart, a pedestrian crossing at the top of the street, but no, instead the Rotten Borough of Rushmoor has decided to waste £4.5 million repaving the streets, with the associated damaging impact it will have on local businesses.

As the West End Centre is a cultural oasis in the Philistine wasteland of Aldershot, so Caffe Macchiato is a culinary oasis in the wasteland of junk food outlets for which Aldershot is infamous.

Station Cafe

September 10, 2014
Station Cafe breakfast

Station Cafe breakfast

Station Cafe Wednesday night bikers night

Station Cafe Wednesday night bikers night

As I learnt two weeks ago at Station Cafe, Wednesday night is Bikers Night.

The place was packed outside and inside with bikers.

Apart from the charming young lady serving, I was the only non-biker there.

As I had 35 minutes to wait for a train, I decided to have something to eat, and chose the smallest breakfast, egg, bacon, beans, fried bread and sausages. Not wanting egg, I asked could I have something else. I chose mushrooms, a mistake, as tinned mushroom not fresh mushrooms.

The breakfast came surprisingly fast. I also added chips, which were brought as a bowl of chips, plus I had a mug of tea, served from a great big tea pot.

The breakfast was good, apart from the sausages and the mushrooms, excellent bacon. No excuse for the sausages and mushrooms, not when Alton has an excellent butcher and greengrocer. It would probably cost a little more, but I am ok with that.

I missed the next train.

Station Cafe is a black shed by Alton Station.

Bikers night is Wednesday night, in winter last Wednesday of the month.

Jimmy Bean

September 10, 2014
Jimmy Bean

Jimmy Bean

cappuccino and Allpress coffee beans

cappuccino and Allpress coffee beans

On an afternoon in Winchester I spot Jimmy Bean on the food market selling coffee from a battered old Citroen van, very much like HoBo Co. I see they sell coffee as well as serve coffee. I am invited to try the coffee and we have a long chat about coffee.

Jimmy Bean started work in a Italian chain, now long gone. He made the coffee and thought he did a pretty good job, until he was in London one day and had coffee in an indie coffee shop, and his mind was blown away.

This started him on a quest on how to roast and serve quality coffee. He visited Latin America, he was on the coffee farms, he saw the coffee being grown, picked, roasted, served, he went to Australia, he read the books, he learnt all there was to learn about coffee, but is still learning. He then set up this little business.

His philosophy is, and I entirely agree, as an indie coffee shop, in this case a van, you do not serve what masquerades as coffee in the chains, you serve quality, as that is the only way to compete, as they cannot compete on quality. They may wear the t-shirt that says barista but that does not make you a barista.

He had for sale coffee beans, only roasted Monday. I bought a pack, and he offered to make me a coffee to see what the coffee was like.

The coffee was Allpress, roasted in Shoreditch in London.

I asked for a cappuccino, as I would then have a point of reference. It was good. It was better than Harris + Hoole Guildford (and that is not to belittle them as they have excellent coffee and have excellent baristas), possibly on a par with Stokes of High Bridge in Lincoln.

The coffee is served in biodegradable paper cups.

Looking at the Hobo Co battered old Citroen van, I think maybe looks old, but not actually old. That of Jimmy Bean is a lovingly restored 1954 Citroen HZ Van, then custom kitted out to serve coffee and food.

Beside the van was seating and tables, the seating covered in coffee Hessian sacks.

My mind was set on lunch at Ginger Two, which by the time I eventually got there, the kitchen was closed, but next visit, if a pleasant afternoon, I think this is where I will sit and have lunch.

It begs the question: Why does anyone visit the tax-dodging chains further up the High Street for overpriced disgusting coffee when they can obtain a quality coffee off Jimmy Bean?

Jimmy Bean is in Winchester High Street Wednesday to Saturday. Stop by and try a coffee, you will not be disappointed.

Jimmy Bean is an absolute must for the Guildford farmers market, first Tuesday of the month in Guildford High Street.

Lunch at Italian coffee shop Bottega dei Sapori

September 6, 2014
mushroom tortellini

mushroom tortellini

teapot

teapot

Bottega dei Sapori is a lovely little coffee shop in Alton, serving excellent food, with a lovely walled garden out the back.

Mushroom tortellini ordered. I was lucky, one table in the walled garden.

A very pleasant afternoon, sitting under the shade of the beech tree.

After my mushroom tortellini, which was excellent, I had a pine nut and honey tart, plus a pot of tea. The tea though was teapigs, not quality tea.

Bottega dei Sapori pride themselves on the quality of their ingredients, locally sourced from local suppliers, the local butcher, the local greengrocer. Teapigs is an anomaly as it is neither, it is not the indie tea company they pretend to be, it is part of Tetleys.

The rambling rose, which I saw in June (hard to believe it was three month’s since I was last here) has been pruned hard back.

Had I thought of it, I would have raised Guildford Independent’s Day.

Dinner at Zaffron

September 3, 2014
complimentary poppadoms

complimentary poppadoms

chicken korma served in this beautiful bowl

chicken korma served in this beautiful bowl

It several years since I have eaten at Zaffron. I had forgotten how good the food could be. A rarity for Farnborough, somewhere worth eating.

I was there when they opened for a drink. I thought maybe stay and eat, but it filled up with very noisy people. Very unpleasant and I decided to leave. I did leave, but then thought, they have gone through to the dining room, the bar was now quiet, I was tired and hungry, I returned and asked to eat at a table by the bar. They said yes.

I ordered chicken korma, mushroom bajhi and rice. And for drink a glass of water.

Whilst I was waiting, I was given complimentary poppadoms.

I did not have too long to wait for my dinner. It was served rice in a bowl, chicken korma in a metal bowl with a lid, and mushroom bajhi in a bowl.

All the food was served piping hot, the plate hot, and a linen napkin.

The mushroom bajhi bore no resemblance to an onion bajhi. It was simply a bowl of vegetables, which I did not like.

The chicken korma was excellent, the sauce delicate, chunks of delicious chicken.

It put to shame the disgusting curries served by J D Wetherpoon. Any one who eats, has never eaten decent Indian food, if they had, they would not eat again.

Zaffron, one of the few places worth eating in Farnborough, is like the other three businesses at Firgrove Parade, under threat of destruction, following last year Rushmoor granted planning consent for the area to be redeveloped.

The application to close the public right of way crossing Firgrove Parade has been challenged at a Public Inquiry.


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