Archive for the ‘Farnham’ Category

Afternoon in Farnham

November 5, 2016

A very cold day in Farnham.

Someone I know on the bus. I said alight at the Sports Centre, Phyllis Tuckwell furniture warehouse has books.

He did, I showed him the way, and he was pleased.

I picked up a  couple of books, The Alchemist, a book on soups and Christmas cards.

Looked in Lidl. It was packed, anyone think Christmas had already arrived. Unlike the appalling service at Lidl Aldershot, all tills were manned.

Man serving me was very cheerful. I commented he was cheerful and all tills manned. He said oi not manned, manager would be onto him.

If nothing else, empathises something seriously wrong wth Lidl Aldershot.

In the bins, power banks £9-99, 3000 mAh, similar size and shape to a mobile phone.

Walk along the River Wey and up through Gostrey Meadow to Downing Street.

Very cold walking through Gostrey Meadow.

Soup in Krema. Moroccan chicken. Not up to their usual high standard.

barista-lounge-november-2016

flapjack and cappuccino in Barista Lounge

Cappuccino in Barista Lounge. Not good, barely drinkable. Not the worse, I have had there undrinkable.

I idd it the wrong way round, I should have had soup in Barista Lounge, coffee in Krema.  But last week told kitchen closed, which was ridiculous.

Barista Lounge need to get their act together. They have had teething problems since opening. They still have problems. If operating as coffee shop, then need skilled baristas, quality coffee beans. They have neither.

The girl serving the coffee claims to have come from an  indie coffee shop in Yorkshire. Whilst this may be true she is no barista. Basic mistakes like making coffee too hot, hence bitter.

I left a copy of The Alchemist as an early Christmas present.

Now getting dark, temperature has plummeted.

Looked in Farnham Wholefoods. As always empty. But no surprise. Nothing worth buying. Unless they sort their act together they will go under. A good wholefood shop would be an asset. I suggested they visit Infinity Foods and Grocer and Grain in Brighton, especially Grocer and Grain.

Something very wrong with Waitrose Farnham. Their stock control always poor, can never find what I want. But nothing like today. The shelves were stripped bare. It was as though a National Emergency and panic buying had stripped the store. They had nothing I wanted. A completely wasted trip.

I was told problems with deliver on Thursday. But today Saturday.

If nothing else, the should have discounted everyone’s purchases to say sorry.

had the roads not been closing I may have walked to Sainsbury’s. But I was told Sainsbury’s the same, shelves stripped bare.

Maybe seeing shelves stripped bare in Waitrose, and not knowing why, maybe it triggered panic and people went on to strip Sainsbury’s.

Would I make the bus?

Bus at 1748. All the roads were closing at six for a torch lit procession.

A No 46 bus at the bus stop. Was it going to Aldershot? No. I learnt it no longer goes to Aldershot.

Stagecoach bus service is getting ridiculous.

No 71, Guildford to Godalming. Then through the villages, to Hlseenmere, then changes to No 19 and on to Farnham and Aldershot.

A few weeks ago, I learnt No 19 no longer goes to Haslemere.

No 46, Guildford to Godalming, then Farnham and Aldershot. Now no longer goes to Aldershot.

What is the point of terminating at Farnham? Aldershot is a major bus-train interchange, as is Haslemere.

It goes without saying, no public consultation.

The intention seems to be, make bus routes unusable, then terminate the service as little used.

A lady wished to get to Guldford. She wanted No 65. It was not due until 1815. I told her it would not arrive, as all roads would be closed.

She asked the driver of No 46. He did not know the roads were closed. He rang his depot. They did not know roads were closed.

I said catch No 46. No 65 will not arrive. Then when No 19 came in, I said catch No 19, change at Aldershot for Guildford.

This she did. It would have been good advice if she had not had to wait half an hour for a bus at at Aldershot.

Luckily the No 19 turned up. I did wonder would it turn up with roads closed.

Dull grey afternoon in Farnham

October 29, 2016

Yesterday at least started off sunny. Today, dull and grey.

Krema, no soup, sold out. Very busy.

Barista Lounge, kitchen closed, empty.

Barista Lounge need to get their act together, else they will no longer be in business.

Farnham Wholefoods, difficult to see them surviving. They opened in September, no signage, half a dozen staff. Last week maybe three. This afternoon one. I have yet to see anything in the shop worth buying. A good wholefood shop would be an asset. They need to visit Brighton and take a look at Grocer and Grain and Infinity foods.

Lamb and chickpea soup in Gail’s not very good.

Gail’s was almost empty. The initial interest when they opened must have already waned. Only three staff, and none who I recognised from when they opened. Very bad layout and poor use of the available space. I was tempted to try a coffee to see if it had improved, but then why waste money on bad coffee?

Cappuccino and coffee and walnut slice from Krema.

Downside of good coffee shops opening in Farnham, I spend too much time in them.

Looked in Farnham Parish Church pianist and a quartet rehearsing for a concert in the evening.

In the gathering dusk, a wander over Bishop’s Meadow.  I am pleased to see they are using their newly installed notice boards to keep people informed.

Unlike last year, not ot too many idiots wandering around for Halloween.

Next week town centre closed in the evening for a torchlight procession for Bonfire Night, lighting of bonfire, followed by fireworks.

Why does Aldershot have a firework display tonight, when Bonfire Night is next Saturday? Good view from the station.

Soup and cappuccino at Krema

October 22, 2016
cappuccino

cappuccino

I was pleased to find, now the weather has turned cold, that soup is back on the menu at Krema.

Excellent tomato and pepper soup, with a I think they said Wenslydale cheese. Big chunk of bread. Generous portion size.

A trip to the butcher, then back for a cappuccino and flapjack.

I noticed cascara on the board. I asked. Yes, it was a new addition.

Krema serve as tea, in a tea pot. Contrast with Coffee Lab who prepare and serve cold.

Afternoon in Farnham

October 22, 2016
River Wey riverside walk

River Wey riverside walk

Pleased to find soup in Krema. Popped to the butcher, then back again for a coffee.

The greengrocer opposite, which closed some months ago, a sad loss to Farnham, now a shops selling home furnishing tat.

A cold day.

Cappuccino and cookie in Caracoli Farnham

September 10, 2016
cappuccino at Caracoli Farnham

cappuccino at Caracoli Farnham

Cappuccino far better than what I had in Caracoli Guildford. It would have been bad if worse.  But, Caracoli has an awful corporate feel, completely lacking in character.

I am pleased to see they sell their bread off at half price towards the end of the day. Or at least buy one get one free. Half price would be better. Then after the shop had closed, some women came and took what was left. Who they were I do not know. A soup kitchen maybe? Better than Loaf, who fail to reduce, then throw their bread away.

The only attraction of Caracoli Farnham is a highly skilled barista who knows a lot about coffee. But he departs soon for pastures new the other side of the world.

Farnham Parish Church Fete

September 10, 2016
Farnham Parish Church Fete

Farnham Parish Church Fete

Most church summer fetes are held in the summer. For whatever reason. Farnham Parish Church choose  to hold theirs in the middle of September.

Today was sadly a washout. The only stall outside was the sausage stall. But why call excellent sausages from the butcher in Downing Street hot dogs?

The other stalls were inside. It gave the church the appearance of what a  medieval church must have looked like, a market place.

Too late for soup at Barista  Lounge. I am sure if the girl serving had troubled to ask the kitchen, there probably was soup.

A new shop in Downing Street. Farnham Wholefoods or maybe it was Farnham Organic. Had the butcher not pointed them out, I would not have noticed. Nothing to say they were opening, or who they were. Still no shop sign. I looked in. There seemed to be more staff than stock. It had all the appearance of a  shop in the last days of a  closing down sale with the stock run down. Sadly I cannot see them lasting long. It is a pity they did not take over the greengrocer before it closed. It hardly enhances their reputation, stood outside smoking.  I would suggest a visit to the excellent Grocer and Grain in Brighton to see how it is done

Cappuccino and cookie in Caracoli. Cappuccino far better than what I had in Caracoli Guildford. But, Caracoli has an awful corporate feel, completely lacking in character. I am pleased to see they sell their bread off at half price towards the end of the day. Or at least buy one get one free. Half price would be better. Then after the shop had closed, some women came and took what was left. Who they were I do not know. A soup kitchen maybe? Better than Loaf, who fail to reduce, then throw their bread away.

The only attraction of Caracoli Farnham is a highly skilled barista who knows a lot about coffee. But he departs soon for pastures new the other side of the world.

Tax-dodging Starbucks packed. Do locals in Farnham have no social conscience or taste for coffee?

Excellent soup in Barista Lounge

September 3, 2016

Fine drizzle. As I reached Downing Street, the heavens opened. I just made Barista Lounge before I was soaked.

Excellent soup. Wild mushroom with spinach and rice. Nice presentation too.

I am not sure why, the cook came and had a chat with me. Asked me what I thought. I told her it was excellent. I am not sure she believed me.

I cannot say that of the coffee. It was not good. Not bad, but could be better.  They need to source better coffee beans. It was also too hot.

The coffee is variable.

I have had excellent coffee, undrinkable coffee and not so good coffee.

Barista Lounge closes at five. I am surprised for summer not six, though Farnham is quiet after four. I was there to almost six. I would have got soaked if I had left earlier.

Afternoon in Farnham

September 3, 2016

Coolish day, rain threatened, at four o’clock in came the heavy rain.

As always a walk along the River Wey and up through Gostrey Meadow.  No Vintage Tea Van. last week, Natalie said, last time this season.

I stuck my head in Krema and told them of my visit to Bond Street Coffee shop.

Krema use beans from Horsham Coffee Roasters, Bond St  Coffee shop in North Laine in Brighton is their coffee shop. I wished to see what their coffee was like. To say the least I was disappointed. Krema do a better job. But I suspect the beans may have been different.

Looked in Gail’s. Nearly everything gone, even less than my visit a couple of weeks ago. As previous visits, outside tables not cleared, pilled up with dirty dishes.  Last two weeks has been almost empty. Today, packed, queuing out the door.

As I walked to Gail’s and on my way back to Downing Street, it was fine drizzle. As I reached Downing Street, the heavens opened. I just made Barista Lounge before I was soaked.

Excellent soup. Wild mushroom with spinach and rice. Nice presentation too.

I am not sure why, the cook came and had a chat with me. Asked me what I thought. I told her it was excellent. I am not sure she believed me.

I cannot say that of the coffee. It was not good. Not bad, but could be better.  They need to source better coffee beans. It was also too hot.

Barista Lounge closes at five. I am surprised for summer not six, though Farnham is quiet after four. I was there to almost six. I would have got soaked if I had left earlier.

I had a chat with the Indonesian guy who runs Caracoli. Very knowledgeable of coffee. I mentioned Coffee Lab in Winchester. Small world. To my surprise, the guy behind Coffee Lab (national barista champion for several years, international runner up) who I have not met, is his brother. I said I was surprised he had not joined his brother. He said he was asked, but is emigrating to Australia to join a coffee roastery. Luckily he mentioned, as he is leaving in a couple of weeks.

When I was in Coffee Lab a couple of days ago, after they had closed a couple of Australians walked in. Complained of poor coffee in England. I offered to list for them good coffee shops, but they were not interested, flying back to Australia next day. They said they had heard of Coffee Lab in Australia.  A likely story, as only been open a few months. Having been served their coffee, the guy dumped a large amount of sugar in his coffee.

Quick visit to Waitrose.

Afternoon in Farnham

August 27, 2016
River Wey riverside walk

River Wey riverside walk

Another hot day.

Passing through Aldershot, a brass band in the bandstand in Princess Gardens, Basingstoke Silver Band. An elderly gent and a couple of others. I felt sorry for the brass band. Does no one understand publicity?

In the entrance to Gostrey Meadow in Farnham, there is always a chalk board announcing who is playing in the bandstand on Sunday.

Walking along the riverside walk to Gostrey Meadow, a dog decided I was a willing playmate to throw its ball into the river.

watercress and pea soup at Gail's

watercress and pea soup at Gail’s

tiny roll with smoked salmon

tiny roll with smoked salmon

Soup and a tiny roll with with smoked salmon at Gail’s.

Soup watercress with peas. Only lukewarm, and stuffed with peas, spoilt the soup. Watercress is a delicate summer soup, by all means add to bring out the flavours, but not turn it into broth.

Did I wish a coffee? No, not after what I had last week.

Gail’s has only been open a couple of weeks. New staff and it shows.

Tables outside not cleared.

If you are going to serve coffee, then have to have experienced baristas from day one, otherwise simply a cafe attached to a bread shop serving mediocre coffee, I would hesitate to call a bakery.

Last week, no wholemeal bread. This week a couple of small loaves, but I had got bread the day before in Guildford.

But reservations aside, I cannot see either Loaf or the Downing Street Deli surviving, now Gail’s has opened. .

Popped Truck and Vintage Pop up Vintage Tea Van

Popped Truck and Vintage Pop up Vintage Tea Van in Gostrey Meadow

I would have returned to Krema for a  coffee, but Natalie had told me it was her last day of the season in Gostrey Meadow, therefore a coffee off The Vintage Pop up Tea Shop. I chose an iced coffee. Big mistake. It was a sweet sickly coffee flavoured yuk. I poured it under the hedge. The flapjack though was excellent.

Hopefully she will get a  stall on Guildford farmers market, first Tuesday of the month, now it is back in the High Street.

I suggested to Popped Truck, the little van serving wine, Staycation Live. She has tried in the past, got nowhere. Something going wrong with Staycation Live and the stalls they book, as can be seen with the comments that have made on the excellent Sole Luna wood-fired pizza truck at Staycation Live. Why the paranoia and secrecy? Godalming Town Council need to start asking questions about the organisation by TST Live, why the lack of transparency? This little stall would be far better than the cocktail stall the organisers book.

A must for this little stall, they need a twitter account, to alert people to where they are.

I was pleased to see plenty of people around these two quality vans, no one by the Tony Tresco ice cream van with engine running belching out toxic diesel fumes.

To Krema, no coffee, a green smoothie. I think apple juice, avocado and lime.

Lady closng the Parish Church told me their garden fete is in two week’s time.

A very pleasant walk around Bishop’s Meadow and into the neighbouring field.

Just time to pop into Waitrose. Their stock control abysmal, no salad onions, no peas, no fresh bread, no one manning the deli counter, and even if their was, the meat looked so dried up, no thank you.

Gail’s Artisan Bakery

August 20, 2016
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.