Archive for May, 2017

Coffee Berry coffee shop in Zorbas bakery

May 26, 2017

An interesting concept, a coffee shop within a bakery.

Also very odd, if not outright weird. A lot of thought gone into the equipment, the look, wasted on what is in essence a takeaway counter in a bakery.

The beans. Flavour or Premier? Er?

One stronger than the other. Why not simply say, a darker roast?

Roast date. Not a clue. Did not even understand the concept.

The beans were at least freshly ground.

The cappuccino was drinkable, one shot of the lighter roast. Better than Costa or Coffee Island, which is not saying a lot.

Freddo cappuccino not a clue how to make. Crushed ice, the milk poured in to mix with the coffee. Undrinkable. I had to spit it out in a nearby flower pot. If nothing else, indicted the poor quality of the coffee beans.

The girl serving, I would hesitate to call her a barista, tried her best, and was helpful, but lacked the necessary skills. Compounded by her lack of English. She apologised for her poor English. I apologised for my poor Greek.

In addition to two espresso machines, several different brew methods. But apart from show, what is the point when lack the necessary skills?

Served only in takeaway cups and for the freddo cappuccino even worse, plastic.

Need ceramic cups and glass.

Dherinia farmers market

May 22, 2017

Mainly farmers with fruit and vegetables. 

One stall had fresh caught fish.

I was told there is fresh bread, cakes, honey, but not on Saturday morning when I visited.

A weekly market, Saturday mornings.

Ocean Basket Ayia Napa

May 18, 2017

If you want bad overpriced seafood coupled with piss-poor service then Ocean Basket in Ayia Napa is the place to eat. 

There are good fish restaurants in the locality, in Protaras and Paralimni, but this is not one of them.

We had intended to eat at a fish restaurant in Paralimni. A big mistake that we chose to eat at Ocean Basket instead. 

Dips and menu arrived promptly, though no mention of what the dips were, no bread. 

A long wait before our order was taken. After half an hour or more had passed, we summoned a waitress. She did not want to know. A waiter was summoned. He at least apologised. He thought our order had already been taken. 

Once our order was taken the food arrived promptly. Too promptly to be freshly cooked.

The fish n chips was disgusting. The cod not fresh, the chips not freshly cooked. 

Any fish n chip shop in England that served this would not survive long in business.

The seafood platter looked ok, but was cold.

The bread never did arrive. 

My dining companion who chose the seafood platter in less than an hour of eating, had bad attack of food poisoning and had to run to the toilet. 

We should have walked out and left the food untouched.

A place to be avoided.

We then drove through the centre of Ayia Napa. Nighttime and yet the streets were all but deserted, the restaurants and bars empty. As with nearby Protaras, another resort where local economy destroyed by all-inclusive hotels.

Coffee Culture

May 5, 2017

I occasionally walk past Coffee Culture as I walk through the courtyard of The Angel Hotel. I have never popped in, as it is off putting the smokers hanging around outside.

Today I thought I would give it a try.

The decor is ok, but that is as good as it gets.

Everything they did, screamed they know nothing about coffee

I was offered coffee in normal size cup or an outlandishly large cup.

Never use a large cup.

I ordered a cappuccino.

It looked disgusting, and did not taste much better. But at least I was asked, did I want chocolate, it was not dumped on top.

Never use chocolate, use cocoa.

The coffee was a on a par with the free coffee out of the machine in Waitrose in Farnham.

A tad too hot, milky, watery, barely drinkable.

The best that could be said of my cappuccino, was served in an attractive cup, the same cups used by Harris + Hoole.

I walked out and left it.

Outside a board telling me an award winning coffee shop.

This once again emphasises the point, awards have become meaningless.

I do not know which award they are referring to, they are not one of the best coffee shops in Guildford, not by a long way, nor for that matter is Caracoli which has a board outside making that ridiculous claim.  It is like awarding Costa the nation’s favourite coffee shop brand, completely and utterly meaningless.

Whoever drew up the short list of coffee shops for Surrey, clueless on coffee.

The coffee beans used, catering supply for the trade, no roast date.

Why bother? There is no excuse these days for using poor quality coffee, other than cutting corners and do not care what you serve.

The notice also says, locally sourced. Since when has Scotland been local? There are plenty of coffee roasters locally or in London they could have used, could have used if they cared and knew anything about coffee.

And no, tea pigs is not quality tea.

Coffee Culture is not a coffee shop, it is a cafe that serves coffee masquerading as a coffee shop.

Afternoon in Guildford

May 5, 2017

Morning cold, or at least a very cold wind blowing. Afternoon warm in the sun out of the wind, cold in the shade in the wind.

The intention had been, lunch in Thai restaurant in Jeffries Passage, and had I gone straight there, it would have been possible.

Looked at coffee beans in Surrey Hills. A wide range of coffee beans, which maybe explains why they were all too old. They should know better.

A coffee in Coffee Culture. A big mistake, coffee not good and too late for lunch at Thai restaurant.

Usually on a  Friday, Thai restaurant open all day. Not anymore. I arrived to find too late for lunch.

Lunch at their takeaway shop. Green Thai curry. Not good. Usually very good but not today. The chef had screwed up, overdosed with spices. I told the guy behind the counter it was awful and he must throw it away.

Food for Thought is a  little wholefood shop tucked down a side street off North Street. I occasionally pop in to see what they are offering.

Today, Hummus Chips. I enjoyed munching as I had a look around the same. On my way out bought a bag.

Coffee in Harris+ Hoole. A marked contrast to Coffee Culture.

Cottage pie at Alton Station Cafe

May 3, 2017

Wednesday night, bikers night. Though few bikers, too cold and wet.

This little black shed is not where to expect high quality food. Be pleasantly surprised.

I was looking forward to moussaka, no moussaka.

A choice of cottage pie or a chicken casserole.

I opted for the cottage pie, and they knocked out a salad to go with it.

The cottage pie was excellent. So good, I could have done with seconds.

I opted for crumble and custard, which also was good.

I mentioned O’Connor’s Secret Garden appeared to have closed. I suggested they looked into taking it on, provided they did not change it.

Cappuccino in Coffee Lab

May 3, 2017

Coffee Lab, if nothing else, I was glad of the warmth.

Did I wish to sit outside?

Normally yes, but not today, far too cold.

Can I please close the door?

Now a choice of two different blends, Einstein or Heisenberg.

I chose Einstein as I was familiar with it.

Excellent walnut cake, made by a local lady.

I sat in my second favourite place, by the window.

Lovely paper flowers.

Written on the mirror, courses they are running at Coffee Lab Academy in May.

I then popped around the corner to Coffee Lab Academy, for them to weigh me out a bag of Einstein beans.

As I was about to leave, in walked Dhan,

A  quick hi, sorry got to run, a bus to catch.

I just had time to suggest he checked out Standart, maybe stock it.

Bedda

May 3, 2017

Today, Wednesday, is street food market in Winchester.

Each visit, the market gets smaller. Though loss of many of the stalls is no loss.

Bedda is Sicilian for good.

Bedda is a Sicilian stall on the Winchester street food market.  Two Sicilian guys doing pasta. Today was their first day.

I tried their tagliatelle or was it tagliolini. Lovely creamy sauce, with added sliced oyster mushrooms (at least I think they were oyster mushrooms).

It was excellent, in fact worth a trip to Winchester for.

The only time I have had as good, was from El Maná in Puerto de la Cruz, and from an Italian chef in Bassano del Grappa, president of north Italy food association.

We had a long conversation. I was suggesting where they could have a stall.

Maybe Guildford farmers market first Tuesday of the month. I do not know if they would meet the criteria, though their food is clearly made locally and there is a stall with paella.

An absolute must for them would be Godalming Food Festival  and Staycation Live.

They should also check various events in Gostrey Meadow in Farnham, especially the Farnham Carnival.

 

Afternoon in Winchester

May 3, 2017

Mayday was wintry, winter had returned, yesterday was a pleasant warm day, today worse then Mayday.

Why was I travelling down to Winchester on such a cold, unpleasant day? On the way down rain.

Passing through Alton, I was shocked and saddened to see O’Connor’s Secret Garden had closed. This was an excellent restaurant.

On the way down, cowslips on the grass verges and on roundabouts.

The road leading down to Winchester, a meadow carpeted with cowslips.

I would normally alight, and walk down the hill into Winchester, but today, such a cold miserable day, I stayed on the bus until the bus station in the town centre.

Wednesday, Winchester has a street food market. Each time I visit it has become smaller.

Today many of the stalls had gone. Though many it is no loss.

But no fruit and vegetable stall, no fish stall (though I was told had packed up early), the bread stall and the excellent cheese stall still there.

But no falafel stall. What was I to do for lunch?

I walked up and down, eventually settled on a Sicilian  stall Bedda doing pasta.  A good choice, the tagalette was excellent. Worth a trip to Winchester for.

It was then to Coffee Lab for a cappuccino, and to get warm.

A brief chat with the lady running Flat Whites where I would have a coffee but for Coffee Lab. I did though buy one of her excellent cakes.

Excellent cappuccino from Coffee Lab.

I then popped to Coffee Lab Academy where they weighed out and bagged coffee beans, Einstein blend. Now a choice of Einstein blend or Heisenberg blend.

Just as I was leaving, Dhan popped in. I said hi, apologised, had to run, a bus to catch.

I would have walked through Alton to double check that O’Connor’s Secret Garden had indeed closed, but cold, drizzling of rain, alighted at Alton Station.

Bikers night at The Alton Station Cafe. Not many bikers. Too cold. I had hoped for moussaka. Excellent cottage pie.

I suggested they look into taking on O’Connor’s Secret Garden.

Cappuccino in Harris + Hoole

May 2, 2017

Shock horror, Harris + Hoole sold to tax dodging Caffè Nero.

Shock horror, Harris + Hoole no longer source their coffee beans from Union hand-roasted coffee, now source from tax dodging Caffè Nero.

Damning reviews on TripAdvisor.

Not good news.

Does this now mean, coffee in H+H no different to tax dodging Caffè Nero?

It was with trepidation I set foot in Harris + Hoole. Was I to be disappointed, never to cross the threshold again?

Same friendly staff. Always good sign.

Quiet downstairs, which was a big improvement.

Upstairs very busy, more like a working office, even a  couple holding a business meeting.

But first set the record straight.

Tax dodging Caffè Nero have not bought Harris + Hoole. They have bought the minority Tesco stake, which always was an anomaly.

Were Caffè Nero to buy the company, I can see they would find difficult to not resist the temptation to turn into Caffè Nero Plus.  At the moment Caffè Nero are operating at arms length, and let’s hope it remains that way.

Harris + Hoole have set up there own roastery in Neal Street in Covent Garden, the beans single origin, direct trade.  I was told today, the beans from Peru.

My cappuccino was excellent. I expect no less from the team at Harris + Hoole.

The damning reviews on TripAdvisor are complete and utter garbage.

Usually fake reviews are easily detected, no resemblance to reality, usually the only review. These are different, several reviews, which makes me curious.

The negative comments on the staff are not true. Nor on the quality of the coffee.

The staff are always friendly, time permitting, willing to inform the clientele about the coffee, but most importantly, they take huge pride in the coffee they serve.

The cakes are not the factory cakes found elsewhere.

Yes at times, dirty dishes are piling up on the tables. This is a management issue, too few staff. Two busy floors, only two staff, one taking orders, one serving the coffee, who clears the tables?

It merely serves to once again emphasise, reviews on TripAdvisor are worthless.

If you think they serve coffee in Costa, then do not review coffee shops, as you know nothing about coffee.

Similarity, if you eat in McDonald’s or KFC, then do not review restaurants.

As soon as they are able, H+H should get get rid of all their coffee shops in Tesco.

Wherever possible, transfer all the Caffè Nero coffee shops in Waterstone’s to Harris + Hoole.

Waterstone’s is kicking Costa out of their bookshops. In Lincoln, Costa has gone, to be replaced by W, their own in-house coffee shop. Same in Brighton, now W. In Lincoln, one bookshop has Caffè Nero. This could change to Harris + Hoole.

Maybe sell Standart. Though its sale may be restricted to indie coffee shops, certainly the top end of the coffee market.

I mentioned to the guys free coffee books and that James Hoffmann is crowdfunding his writings, to be published as The Best of Jim Seven.