Gail’s Artisan Bakery

Gail's Artisan Bakery

Gail’s Artisan Bakery

I was told there was a new bakery in Castle Street, where you could also eat out the back.

I needed a loaf of bread, and therefore decided to check it out, then return to Downing Street for a coffee.

Very little choice, no wholemeal bread. Staff were apologetic, said it had been a busy day, and had sold out.

I saw they had soup. Anything to eat. Sorry,  kitchen closed at three.

They had sandwiches, but ludicrous price.  £5 to take out, £6 to eat in.

To put this price in context, I can have lunch in the Thai Restaurant in Jeffries  Passage for this price.

I decided on the soup. Small or large? I decided on small.

I had the soup at a table outside. I think it was tomato and red pepper. It was excellent and generous portion. Served with a small piece of bread. I asked for butter and salt. This was brought out to me, as was the soup and a roll. Salt rock salt, butter in a little dish.

The small roll, and it was small, with smoked salmon was good.

I was asked would I like a coffee?

I had intended to visit Krema in Downing Street where I knew I would get an excellent coffee and flapjack. But decided as I was there, and to save walking down to Downing Street, I would stay and at least try the coffee.

It was not good. Not disgusting as tax-dodging Starbucks or Costa, but not good.

The coffee should have been much better, as beans were from Union Hand Roasted, same roaster as used by Harris + Hoole and Taylor Street Baristas, but nowhere near their standard.

The cookie I enjoyed.

If I had wished to eat, I was too late, as kitchen was closed, it was a choice of breakfast or breakfast, which was served until three.  As with the sandwich, expensive, and there was nothing I fancied.

Why not serve breakfast until midday, lunch until three, then afternoon tea and cakes?

The ambience where the cakes were served was quite pleasant, but further in somewhat stark, more like a prison environment.

I sat at a table, but in reality a piece of wood sticking out from the wall, another for a seat, only enough room for one person, and elbow bashed the wall. I was sat in a corridor. I could have gone further in.

Completely lacking in ambience.

Water, help yourself.

This is now quite commonplace.

On the table were free postcards. This was a clever idea, cheap publicity. Also a little fold out chart, but differed from the reality of Farnham.

The staff were excellent, very pleasant and helpful.

Gail’s class themselves as a neighbourhood bakery. Not really. It is a purveyor of very expensive breads and cakes and sandwiches, a bread shop cum coffee shop cum cafe. It is a chain. The entire environment screamed corporate.

Gail's Artisan Bakery Cookbook

Gail’s Artisan Bakery Cookbook

On sale was their own cookbook, Gail’s Artisan Bakery Cookbook.

Loyalty card unusual, stamped if bought a loaf or a coffee. But had to collect nine stamps.

Gail’s open until seven in the evening. I cannot see any point opening beyond six as no one about.  Contrast with Guildford where the indie coffee shops shut at five, turning custom away.

I can recommend the soup. The bread I did not try, apart from my roll, which was good. The coffee not good. Try Krema in Downing Street or Barista Lounge.

I cannot see Loaf in Downing Street surviving, nor the Downing Street Deli, with competition from Gail’s.

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