Afternoon in Guildford

A pleasant warm and sunny afternoon in Guildford, warmer than expected.

You must try Pho in Tunsgate I was told as I passed through the market in North Street on my way for lunch at Bamboo Shoots in Jeffries Passage. Pho? A new Vietnamese restaurant in Tunsgate, today food half price, try it and report back.

I checked it out. Not half price, free, but they had problems, please come back at five o’clock, we will reopen half price.

As always excellent lunch at Bamboo Shoots in Jeffries Passage.

Surrey Hills Coffee has closed. No surprise, it was only a matter of time. They have not though closed down, they are reopening in Jeffries Passage. I cannot though see being any more successful as the coffee not good and there are better places for coffee in Guildford.

It was then to Krema where I spent the rest of the afternoon. Excellent cold brew coffee. I was surprised when shown how brewed, in essence a central metal filter in a jug where course ground coffee is left for 24 hours in cold water

Krema has only been open a few weeks and already very popular.

Between Bamboo Shoots and Krema, Tourist Information Office to obtain contact for farmers market, long overdue is a coffee stall.

On leaving Krema, I decided to try Pho, surprisingly only a short queue. Not long to wait.

Looking at the menu, and having looked earlier, nothing I really fancied, but found something.

A bottle of cold water brought to the table.

I have no idea what Vietnamese food is like, this is not a Vietnamese restaurant, it is a chain. Maybe in the kitchen.

Credit where credit due, and I hate to praise a chain, the food was good. And what I saw brought to adjacent tables also looked good. They must have good chefs.

No long queue formed outside. Maybe few knew half price, though these days of social media, usually spreads rapidly.

Contrast with free pizza in Winchester on Wednesday, a queue down the street.

Free or half price is an excellent idea. Better than any advertising, puts new staff through their paces, if people like, they will come again, tell their friends write good reviews.

On leaving, I wandered through Tunsgate Quarter. The only good thing I can say about it, useful short cut. Mainly empty units, those occupied are occupied by chains. Very unusual these days for a developer to build without guaranteed tenants, guaranteed rents, as the units will remain empty.

What we now need to see is the independent businesses on Tungate compensated for loss of business during road works. The least the Council can do is give a business rates holiday and once the work finished hold an event in Tungsgate. For example during the summer, turn one of the farmers markets into a street food market and let the stalls flow into Tunsgate.

And why oh why do Experience Guildford and the Tourist Information Office keep tweeting promoting chains? They are not there to give them free PR. So far I have had two tweets for Cozy Club alone, a crap chain.

Chains destroy a locality, destroy the sense of place, drain money out of a local economy. It is independent businesses that give character, a sense of place, recycle money within the local economy.

Contrast North Laine in Brighton with Tunsgate Quarter, one full of people, the other fake and empty.

Two tweets for Cozy Club, not single tweet for Krema, an excellent indie coffee shop that has opened in Tunsgate, something Guildford should be proud of, worth a trip to Guildford for.

Then when these chains go bust, which is now happening with regular monotony, or some one at head office decides not making enough, the stores close, leaving gaping holes in our High Streets never to be filled.

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