Archive for the ‘Farnham’ Category

Afternoon in Farnham

August 18, 2018

A pleasantly warm afternoon.

It is becoming increasingly difficult to walk along the riverside walk along the River Wey.

Once again, publicly minded citizens have torn down a section of the fence obstructing the footpath. The problem is getting out the other end.

And why is the footpath closed? To enable a bridge to be built to bring construction material in from the A31, one lane of which will be coned off for months if not years, to build a shopping centre that no one wants, a shopping centre that will be empty, a shopping centre that will destroy the character of an historic market town. Many empty shops in the town but corrupt local councils decides to build a shopping centre, a shopping centre that will sit empty.  The only reason it has been able to proceed, the developer went bankrupt, is because Surrey County Council has handed over £50 million of public money to keep the project afloat.

A festival in Gostrey Meadow, some sort of 1940s celebration, an American band playing. Nothing to say what it was, no people. Closing the footpath leading into the park does not help.  I learnt later, a VE/VJ fete.

Just made the butcher before he closed. I missed last week. I asked did he close on the dot if not early. He admitted he may have closed early as very quiet last week.

Vegan restaurant very strange soup, watermelon, apple, and mint. I cannot see how this can be soup. I was willing to try, but no we stop serving food after four. Not, sorry we have run out. That is why these little businesses fail, lack of flexibility, turning away custom. Maybe I was lucky.

On to Gail’s. For once tables outside clean. Not busy, only one table inside occupied. Gail’s is never busy.

Tomato and red pepper soup was good.

I sat outside. It is not pleasant inside.

People sat next to me after the table was vacated. When whatever they had ordered was served, they had to ask for the table to be cleared.  The table the other side of me not cleared. When they left, no attempt to clear the tables.

I rarely see the same staff twice at Gail’s. Again new staff.

To Krema for a  cappuccino and flapjack.

I dropped off a card for Coffee Festival in Winchester.

Then walk around 23-acre Bishop’s Meadow. They have introduced cattle at the far end, but already removed as not sufficient grass in the dry weather. There is in other parts but lacks secure fencing.

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Cappuccino in Caracoli

August 16, 2018

I would usually have a coffee in Krema, something I look forward to, though of late I prefer their coffee shop in Guildford.

On my most recent visit to Farnham, Krema was closed. I with reluctance decided to have a cappuccino in Caracoli in Lion and Lamb Walk, not somewhere I would normally  choose to have a coffee.

I was brought a cappuccino with chocolate. I sent it back.

Why does no one know how to make a cappuccino?

What was brought next had a very unpleasant taste. I suspect bad cheap coffee. It was a tad too hot, but I do not think the barista was at fault.

I inquired of who roasts their coffee?  Mozzo Coffee, the same people who supply Flat Whites, but then added a  blend for them. Maybe cheap catering supply coffee.

Caracoli is both deli and coffee shop and does neither well.

Only one place for coffee in Farnham, Krema in Downing Street.

Afternoon in Farnham

August 11, 2018

Another cool day, threatening rain, had been raining earlier.

I attempt to walk along the riverside walk, then through Gostrey Meadow and into the town.

Only to find I cannot, it has been fenced off. Luckily people had torn down part of the fencing. Let us hope they continue to do a public service, tear down the fence.

I then find my way is blocked when I reach the far end.  Luckily I am able to walk through the trees and find my way around the fence.

It is not acceptable the walk has been fenced off. The reason why even less acceptable.  To enable contractors to build a bridge to bring their materials straight off the A31, resulting in one lane closure, to build a grotty unwanted shopping centre that will be detrimental to the character of Farnham. The only reason it is going ahead is because the local council Waverley has pushed it against the wishes of the town, and Surrey County Council has poured in £50 million of public funds.  Greed and corruption writ large.

I make the butcher only to find closed.  Either closed on the dot if not closed early.

I was looking forward to a cappuccino, only Krema closed.

A visit to Farnham Parish Church.

Whilst in the church, as it was closing, came an extremely arrogant man, with a woman and child in tow.  American accent, I suspect an Israeli, but I may be wrong. He asked for something with a name, that neither I nor the lady locking up had a clue what he was asking for. He then showed on his phone, and said the Hebrew letters for God.  No, we had not seen. I also explains Jews do not say out loud or write the name of God, they write G-d.  The man disagreed. The woman he was with very quickly found. How did she know where to look? A discoloured board for the Ten Commandments, with the word he was looking for at the top, clean and glowing. Again odd. The letters bore little resemblance to what he said he was looking for. He argued, got out his phone. No they did not look the same. They then departed. They showed no respect for the church, the child making loud vulgar noises. A not very pleasant man.

What was he really looking for?

The printed sheet he had in his hand, had a few lines instructing him to look in the church.

Lion and Lamb Cafe and Restaurant, half a chicken ten pounds. This is to directly take on the chain eatery in Lion and Lamb Courtyard. It always has a weekend special, half a chicken, Difficult to see how a special, if always the same. It used to be £9-99, now £11-50. If success was based on innovation, now also selling fresh flowers, Lion and Lamb Cafe and Restaurant would be packed.  It is not, it is always empty. The menu is always enticing. I have ate there a couple of times. The food has always been awful. The coffee not good either, even though sourced from Union, but Union sadly supply anyone.

It was then to Caracoli for a coffee. Not somewhere I would normally go for a coffee. I was brought a cappuccino with chocolate. I sent it back. Why does no one know how to make a cappuccino? What was brought next had a very unpleasant taste. I suspect bad cheap coffee. It was a tad too hot, but I do not think the barista was at fault. I inquired of who roasts their coffee.  Mozzo Coffee, the same people who supply Flat Whites, but then added a  blend for them. Maybe cheap catering supply coffee.

Then to Waitrose. Loose bananas were not in very good condition. Those in bags rotten.

Waiting for a bus, cold. More like autumn than summer.

Cupsmith

July 16, 2018

When I came across Cupsmith at the Guildford farmers market I did not know whether to laugh or cry.

I first encountered Cupsmith last year running a stall at Farnham Maltings Christmas Market. The conversation that ensued was to say the least bizarre. If roast the beans, have a stall, at least have someone knowledgeable about the coffee manning the stall. The lady running the stall impressed me with her lack of knowledge of coffee.

To put in context, Workhouse have in their coffee shop, a choice of single origin, blends, I counted 18 different, available to be weighed and bagged. Staff were only too helpful to explain the beans, how roasted, where sourced from, roast date.

Roast date, not on the bag. Roasted the previous day, so at least freshly roasted but would it not be better and no excuse to actually have on the bag? Best by is meaningless.

The lady disagreed. She claimed their customers did not want to know the roast date.

Really, have they been asked, do they know the importance of roast date?

And why the silly names, Breakfast coffee, Glorious espresso? Quality coffee will have country of origin often the name of the farm, how the coffee has been processed. All important information.

Q grade of the coffee? Did not know, would need to talk to the man who roasts their coffee.

Would I like to smell the beans. I did, and they did not smell good.

Quality beans have a lovely aroma, these did not. I would certainly not buy coffee that smelled liked this.

If the coffee I had tried was not good, that was the fault of the barista. It was a problem as coffee roasters they were up against all the time, lack of good baristas, impossible to find in Farnham, it was not London.

I had not encountered this problem in Farnham, I can think of an excellent coffee shop Krema, source coffee from Horsham Coffee Roasters a reputable roaster, had at the time of the conversation at least three skilled baristas who never failed to serve me excellent coffee. Krema now have a second coffee shop in Guildford.

Nor elsewhere, be it Winchester, Brighton, Lincoln, Nottingham, York, Hull or Athens. But then apart from skilled baristas, they are also using quality coffee.

The high end of the coffee industry, traceability, transparency, quality is important.

I had wished to visit their roastery outside Farnham, a request to visit a year ago was ignored.

I have come across Cupsmith coffee served in two places, neither occasion good. The first time a skilled barista tried his best, the result was not great, and he would much rather have had better quality beans, the second time at Farnham Maltings Riverside Cafe, the coffee was disgusting.

When I next encountered Cupsmith the first Tuesday of July on the Guildford farmers market I did not know whether to laugh or cry.

Local yes, quality they are not.

The roasted coffee beans were in open hessian sacks, exposed to the heat and sun. One thing you learn in coffee is respect the beans. When coffee is treated like it says all you need to know about the vendor.

A sign on the stall cited Jamie Oliver as praising their coffee.

Coffee any Italian would be proud of — Jamie Magazine

Jamie Oliver may be a celebrity chef, that does not make him an expert on coffee, as his coffee kiosk at Gatwick demonstrates. The Gatwick kiosk is a tragedy and a lost opportunity. It could be a showcase to visitors to the UK for local coffee roasteries, serve excellent coffee, not barely drinkable coffee, corporate catering Italian brand coffee.

Coffee any Italian would be proud of. Was this meant to be ironic? Italy is infamous for its bad coffee. Something Italians are finally getting to grips with.

There are exceptions, there are always exception, Bar Italia, The Speciality Coffee Shop, Rubens Gardelli coffee roaster and owner of Gardelli Coffees won the World Coffee Roaster Championship in China last year, but these are exceptions, not the norm for Italian coffee.

I asked of the Q grade. Over 80.

The coffee lacked aroma. But then hardly surprising when exposed to the elements.

Cupsmith a roastery supplier of catering supply coffee, the bags lack essential information, country of origin, roast date, where sourced from.

To supply catering supply coffee is a mug’s game, a race to the bottom. Up against dodgy practices, we supply the machine, you have to buy our rubbish coffee at higher price then you would pay for quality coffee.

There is a myth peddled, people do not want quality coffee.

And yet, when speciality coffee shops open, they are busy, as when people discover what quality coffee tastes like, served by people who care about coffee, there is no going back.

These days spoilt for choice for quality coffee, no excuse for frequenting coffee shops serving poor quality coffee. And if wish to buy bags of coffee, good indie coffee shops will often have on sale, or go direct to the coffee roasteries.

Cupsmith also deal in tea and chocolate.

The chocolate I cannot comment on as I have not tried.

The tea is supplied in tea bags. Er, quality tea is supplied as loose leaf tea. The tea bags looked remarkable similar to those supplied by a tea supplier in Winchester.

To experience quality tea, try CUP, Coffee Lab Academy, Bamboo Shoots, all of which serve quality loose leaf tea.

In Guildford for loose leaf tea, Bamboo Shoots in Jeffries Passage is a must. They also serve excellent tea.

For coffee spoilt for choice in Guildford. Krema has a choice of single origin and espresso blend from Horsham Coffee Roasters. Canopy Canopy has guest coffees. Surrey Hills has coffee. FCB coffee kiosk on Guildford Station. And for a drink of coffee, Krema end of Tunsgate.

Yes, I wish to see coffee on the market, but quality coffee, not poor quality catering supply coffee. Invite Chimney Fire Coffee, speciality coffee roasted locally in the Surrey Hills.

I will leave last thoughts with Stephen Leighton, head honcho, green bean buyer, coffee roaster at Hasbean and author of Coffeeograpghy:

And do remember, life is too short for bad coffee.

 

Farnham Park

July 15, 2018

I used to regularly walk in Farnham Park. Up the hill then once the top is reached, a foot path continues.

On leaving Bells Pierce Summer Fete on Saturday I decided to walk along the ridge and into Farnham.

I thought I was walking the tree lined avenue, but was actually walking along the top of the southern slope.

This brought me to Farnham Castle, then out into Castle Street and down to Gail’s Bakery.

Bells Pierce Summer Fete

July 15, 2018

In the summer I have passed by Bells Pierce Summer Fete but never visited, too late to then visit Farnham.

On Saturday as I was early in Farnham I visited Bells Pierce Summer Fete.

I assumed next to The Six Bells, or even associated with, but no, it was along a drive.

The Six Bells was once again closed and derelict. It appears to change hands every six months. That it is owned by Greene King, one of the trio of bad pubcos who screw pub landlords the other two Enterprise and Punch, says it all. One of the ladies serving food, confirmed The Six Bells closes and changes hands quite regularly. She said she has had good food, when she next went it had changed hands ad the food was disgusting, and she has never been since. Again, typical of Greene King.

To my surprise Bells Pierce Summer Fete very popular. A typical English summer fete.

I was reminded of the fete at the English church in Puerto de la Cruz. The main difference was less junk and not forced to pay to enter.

I wish people would would learn how to cook on a barbeque. One could see the sausages were not cooked. I sent mine back, and even then, only barely cooked.

I decided to walk along the ridge of Farnham Park into Farnham. This brought me to Farnham Castle, then out into Castle Street and down to Gail’s Bakery.

Afternoon in Farnham

July 15, 2018

Hot afternoon in Farnham.

Passing through Aldershot, a brass band playing. The band far outnumbered the audience, and in the absence of any meaningful publicity, they were probably like me only passing by.

As I was early in Farnham, I visited Bells Pierce Summer Fete.

I assumed next to The Six Bells, or even associated with, but no, it was along a drive.

To my surprise very popular. A typical English summer fete.

I was reminded of the fete at the English church in Puerto de la Cruz. The main difference was less junk and not forced to pay to enter.

I wish people would would learn how to cook on a barbeque. One could see the sausages were not cooked. I sent mine back, and even then, only barely cooked.

I decided to walk along the ridge of Farnham Park into Farnham. This brought me to Farnham Castle, then out into Castle Street and down to Gail’s Bakery.

Why does nowhere understand that in the summer you do not serve winter soup? I made a mistake and had chicken and vegeable soup.

I looked in the new vegan place on Downing Street. Cold gazpacho soup. Yes, it was a big mistake soup at Gail’s.

Butcher was shocked when I told him of the turkey stall on Guildford farmers market and Godalming street food market, poultry sitting on a stall in this heat. Like myself, he questioned how do they get away with it.

Advice has now been issued to Guildford farmers market in a newsletter the public does not see. Utterly meaningless advice. Only leave on the stall for a reasonable time in warm weather. It was not warm, it was hot, and what is reasonable time? Ice cubes in a glass melt in within a few minutes. The turkey stall should be kicked off the market. They are a disgrace. Food and hot weather do not mix. Environmental health should be patrolling markets in hot weather. And stalls like the turkey stall, fined and kicked off the market.

Cold brew coffee from Krema. It was better than what I had Krema Guildford.

Krema was empty. But then so was Gail’s and the vegan cafe.

I then took a walk around Bishop’s Meadow. Not far, then back along the River Wey and around Manor Field.

The hay has already been cut. My advice has been followed, now grazing cattle though I did not see them.

Lion and Lamb Cafe and Restaurant as always empty, apart from a couple sat outside, Cote opposite packed. It is now time for desperate measures. Last time I looked, eat and pay what you want, though so many conditions attached not worth bothering. Now it is book the venue, catering free. And they are hosting events. The menu always looks enticing, but the couple of times I have eaten there the food has not been good.

Service was abysmal in Waitrose, even by their normal low standards, Only one till manned.

At the Bells Pierce Summer Fete I learnt McDonald’s was to move into the old Argus store in the centre of Farnham. Very bad news if true.

As I pass by to catch the bus I see nothing on the shopfront to indicate this.

Farnham Carnival

June 30, 2018

Farnham Carnival is an annual event, last Saturday of June.

The disgusting fast food stalls would have done justice to Aldershot. I had hoped maybe they would have improved but sadly not. It contrasts badly with the Sustainability Fayre of a few weeks ago.

There is absolutely no excuse these days for not inviting quality street food stalls, anymore there is no excuse for coffee shops sourcing bad coffee.

A beer tent rows and rows of pumps serving Carlsberg.  Why not invite The Little Beer Corporation to run a beer tent? They have done an excellent job at Staycation Live last two years.

It was then to Krema for a cold brew coffee.

Questions to Krema, and to a  lesser extent a coffee stall at the Carnival.

Takeaway coffee cups compostable? No.

If compostable, will end in general waste stream, and are they compostable?

Reusable cups, heavy, expensive, bulky and a pain to carry around.

A step in the right direction but addresses symptoms, does not address grab it and go takeaway culture. We need to discourage takeaway, encourage relax in an indie coffee shop with speciality coffee served in glass or ceramic.

A walk around Bishop’s Meadow was tempting, but too hot and I would not have got out of Farnham before the roads closed.

On cue in one of the alleys leading from the churchyard a Starbucks plastic takeaway cup illustrating why we need a latte levy.

I did not think I would, but caught the last bus out of Farnham before the roads closed.

Sustainability Fayre

June 9, 2018

In Gostrey Meadow in Farnham a Sustainability Fayre.

I recall passing through last year, not busy, not many stalls, but maybe I passed through as closing.

A good variety of stalls, far better than at the Farnham Carnival. Something the Farnham Carnival should take note of and act on.

Sadly no coffee stall.

A burger off a farm stall was very good. Though unfortunate not fresh off the grill.

A brief chat with Farnham Town Council. They must exact higher environmental standards in the park for events, get rid of the Tony Fresko ice cream van belching out noxious fumes at the height of small children damaging their brains. They do not own the park, but did not disagree with what I said, maybe we will see change.

A bowl of soup from the vegan cafe that has opened in Downing Street. Far better attitude than the failed deli, and busy. The bread was black. I have never come across black bread.

Excellent cold brew coffee off Krema. Once had one, desire another. Very refreshing on a hot day. Far better than the V60 earlier in the afternoon off Karuna Coffee during a fleeting visit to Aldershot Victoria Day.

Afternoon in Farnham

May 12, 2018

A cold wet afternoon in Farnham. Heavy rain all afternoon.

Chicken and vegetable soup followed by smoked salmon in a small bread roll at Gail’s.

The Farnham Deli is no more. No surprise, it was only a matter of time before it closed. The deli side was excellent, the tea shop dreadful, not helped by a woman who was rude to customers.  It is now a vegan cafe.

I looked in. The place has been gutted, the back half turned into an open kitchen. Noticeable cleaner that the Deli, a surprise it was never closed on health grounds. The upstairs also opened up. Art on the walls.

I am not very likely to eat here as no fan of vegan food.

Nor have a coffee. Coffee sourced from Surrey Hills, which is not great coffee, especially when they add robusta. A cappuccino bloody expensive at £3-20, all the more so when made with fake milk. It is not possible to make a cappuccino with fake milk. It looks disgusting, tastes disgusting.

I may though in future try the soup. Today it was roast tomato and red pepper soup.

A cappuccino at Krema. I was a little disappointed after their coffee shop in Guildford yesterday. Most of the regular staff appear to have left. My cappuccino was blended with chocolate. They did offer to make me a fresh one, but I declined.

Wandering through Lion and Lamb Courtyard, a novel offer at Lion and Lamb Cafe and Restaurant. We choose the menu, you choose the price. Curious I walked in and asked.

What was it, beans and toast? I have never seen busy, usually empty. It was admitted it was a last ditch attempt to attract custom. The menu chalked up on a large board but to the side a number of conditions, which somewhat defeats the offer.

I have eaten here a few times. The menu looks enticing the food has never been good. Which probably explains why always empty.