Archive for the ‘food’ Category

Shoot the Bull

August 31, 2018

A burger does not have to be bad anymore than sausages have to be bad.

Lincoln sausages from Redhill Farm farm shop in Bailgate off the butcher in Heighton are excellent, as are their pork chops, ham and pork pies.

Similarly, a burger can be excellent, as for example Dirty Organic Burger street food stall in Brighton.

I had decided to eat at Trinity Market, followed by a coffee off Caffeinated.

Looking at all the food stalls, I was not impressed. I decided to try a burger off Shoot the Bull.

Burger was good not the usual disgusting McShit burgers or worse, far better than the poor quality burger off street food stall at Steam Punk Festival last weekend in Lincoln, but not quite in the same league as Dirty Organic Burger.

The service not so good, if not surly.

No, do not put ketchup on without asking, and no do not blame the customer for not telling you.

Putting ketchup on a quality burger is like dumping chocolate or adding syrup to speciality coffee. You do not. The only reason to add ketchup, chocolate or syrups is to mask an otherwise bad taste.

Not handed a serviette, had to request.

No mention of the offer of a meal deal with a beer.

Skip the fries, offer a decent craft beer. Brew Dog Punk IPA would go down a treat with a quality burger.

Served on some sort of card. Asked but they did not know, other than they believed it could be composted. Utensils wood.

A marked contrast to the poor environmental standards in Trinity Market. Food served in polystyrene boxes, plastic utensils.

The low environmental standards are the fault of the council. They should set minimum standards for anyone wishing to have a stall. Do not comply, do not get a stall.


Hull Freedom Festival

August 31, 2018

Freedom Festival, a three day festival in Hull.

Freedom Festival was started in 2007 to commemorate the anti-slavery pioneer William Wilberforce.

Train to Hull, stunning views over the Humber Estuary and of the Humber Bridge.

On arrival at Hull Station, greeted by Philip Larkin.

Then head to Hull Old Town, cobbled streets (strictly speaking setts) but first a detour to Two Gingers in Paragon Arcade.

Excellent cappuccino in Two Gingers.

They have recently introduced their own house blend from The Blending Room, plus single origin coffee from The Blending Room.

Zeberdee’s Yard locked off, rehearsals for a concert tonight.

Lunch in Trinity Market.

I went round the stalls, twice. None looked appetising, appalling environmental standards, food served in polystyrene boxes, plastic utensils.

Burger off Shoot the Bull. Rare breed beef, burger excellent, service not so good. No, do not put ketchup on without asking, and no, do not blame the customer for not telling you.

No mention of the offer of a meal deal with a beer. Skip the fries, offer a decent craft beer. Brew Dog Punk IPA would go down a treat with a quality burger.

Asked of Caffeinated where to locate Thieving Harry’s. They kindly marked on a map of Hull Old Town.

Passing by Hull Minster, a guide said I must enter and look at the moon. No time, maybe on my return. She was insistent. Amazing, a suspended moon occupying the nave, quite surreal. Yes, she was correct Museum of the Moon in Hull Minster an absolute must visit.

To get to the part of Hull Old Town where Thieving Harry’s is located, have to cross a busy main road with no convenient crossings, one crossing closed and long wait at the lights when crossing.

Pedestrians should have priority. The traffic is at a virtual standstill. The crossings should be more frequent for pedestrians, it will make not a jot of difference to the traffic flow.

Thieving Harry’s overlooks the old docks now a marina and the sea. Located in what was once the offices of a fruit merchant, the old Fruit Market was located in this part of Hull Old Town.

Picked up a couple of bags of coffee.

We have a problem with plastic, plastic-lined paper takeaway cups, plastic cups, plastic utensils, plastic straws.

As always it is the indie coffee shops leading the way. Compostable cups, refillable cups, though best to relax with coffee in glass or ceramic, paper straws.

Thieving Harry’s showed me something I had not seen before, drinking straws made from shells.

A diversion to Trinity Market to collect two bags of coffee off Caffeinated.

As I cut across Trinity Square a giant puppet had been erected. This was one of the giant puppets to parade through the Hull Old Town later that evening as part of Hull Freedom Festival.

I pop in Two Gingers and pick up two bags of their house blend. I would have wished for a V60 pour over, but no time.

All three coffee shops use The Blending Room, a Hull coffee roastery. Today they had a pop up coffee stall. Where, no one knew, and they lacked the courtesy to respond to a query. What is the point of tweeting have a pop up stall for the Freedom Festival and do not say where? Yet another example of poor use of social media.

Made the station in time for my train, just, only to find no train, running late.

Stunning views across the Humber Estuary out of the train window and of wind turbines.

King’s Cross Street Food Market

August 22, 2018

One of the advantages of catching a train from King’s Cross, indeed reason to arrive with more than a few minutes to spare, is the street food market in front of the station.

My favourite stall is the cheese stall, run by Borough Cheese.

Excellent Comte, indeed until today, Comte is the only cheese I have seen on the stall, but today not only Comte, also feta cheese, and a cheese I had not encountered before Tome de Jura.

After a quick tour of the market, I went off in search of a coffee stall, which is not as would logically expect with the street food stalls, but around the back of the station. Craft Coffee, worth going in search of, serves excellent coffee.

On return, cakes, some savouries, and of course cheese.

The guy running the stall was sadly not that knowledgeable on the cheeses, but could tell me made from raw milk, unpasteurised milk.

He was not there at first, gone to get a coffee. Where, the coffee stall? No, Pret a Manger.

Why oh why do these artisan stalls not support each other, why get a crap coffee from Pret, now owned by Vulture Capitalists, when there is a quality coffee stall nearby?

Nuisance caused by Deliveroo serfs

August 17, 2018

Whilst sat outside Krema in Tunsgate overlooking Guildford Castle grounds, unacceptable and illegal behaviour by Deliveroo serfs.

Late afternoon, Deliveroo serf illegally parked his white scooter MJ15 UXK outside the gate to Tunsgate, illegally left engine running, keys left in the ignition, whilst collecting his delivery from Pho, a fake Vietnamese street food restaurant.  No removal of crash helmet, which is also not acceptable.

On return he was told he was illegally parked. He turned very nasty, his arrogant response, I am working and can park where I like.

Complaint lodged with manager of Pho. Not my problem, they work for Deliveroo. Wrong, they are picking up your deliveries.

Forty-five minutes later, a repeat performance, a different Deliveroo serf parks scooter LF15 XKC illegally, no removal of helmet, a delivery for Pho. At least he turned off his engine.

Walking down the street, walking into a restaurant without removing crash helmet is intimidating for staff and diners. It shows lack of respect and courtesy to staff and diners.  There should be a standing instruction to all Pho staff, any Deliveroo serf walking in wearing a crash helmet is asked to immediately leave and not allowed to return until crash helmet removed.

Tunsgate had been pedestrianised, now that the roadworks have finally been finished, people can sit and relax outside overlooking the Castle Grounds. They do not want this nuisance, especially pollution from an engine left running.

Deliveroo serfs on scooters in Guildford are now a major nuisance, they are driving through pedestrianised streets, wrong way down one way streets, ignoring traffic lights. A few months back, I was amazed no accident the behaviour of one of these idiots, the complex road junctions outside the bus station.

The two who were illegally parked at Tunsgate, both were learners, the first not English the second unknown. Are they insured for using their scooters to carry out a business?

Both Police and Guildford Borough Council need to clamp down on these Deliveroo serfs as it is getting out of hand.

AM Ozone Restaurant

August 17, 2018


I would have eaten at Caffe Macchiato, but fancied a change. A big mistake.

Sort of greeted by a toad like man as walked in, actually not greeted at all.

One surly waiter cleared away dirty plates.

Virtually empty, and easy to see why.

Dull and dingy, though did then manage to turn on a few extra lights.

An oriental-style buffet, food from everywhere.

The food not fresh, lukewarm at best, only one dish replenished whilst I was there. Open from midday until 10 pm. Do the dishes sit there all day? The plates stone cold.

I was worried would I get food poisoning. The place was shut down and fined it was disgusting. I looked in vein for a  food rating, it got zero last year, could not find, then spotted on the door, 4*.

Guildford farmers market

August 7, 2018

Another very hot day.  Coolish before ten, half an hour later hot.

Thoroughly disgusted to see turkey stall on the market with turkey and turkey sausages sitting on their stall, not refrigerated. Sitting on cold packs will make not a jot of difference.  Ambient temperature close to if not exceeding 30C.  Ice in a glass melts within minutes.

One stall had bottles in water in a box with large blocks of ice. The ice melted within an hour.

Food and hot weather do not mix. Where were the Environmental Heath Officers? In this hot weather they should be patrolling all food markets.

If this is what we see in public, what happens behind the scenes?

What is is market waiting for, a major outbreak of food poisoning, for people to die?

Farmers market a synonym for quality is a myth they like to project.

I would not buy from many of the stalls. Fresh, quality produce, on many this is not the case.

Fresh produce wrapped in plastic, sweetcorn with dry papery outer leaves which should be lush and green.

Cupsmith coffee stall with open hessian sacks of roasted beans. If this lack of respect for coffee beans then avoid.  I have had the misfortune of trying both the tea and the coffee, neither are good.

Spoilt for choose these days for excellent coffee roasteries there is no excuse for buying low quality coffee.

Locally if looking for coffee beans, then visit Krema in Tunsgate (next to Ben’s Records).  For tea, Bamboo Shoots in Jeffries Passage.

Very disappointed  have again failed to have a stall on Guildford farmers market, especially as the market lacks and needs a speciality coffee stall from a local coffee roastery.  In the meantime Horsham Coffee from Krema.

Not to say there is not quality on the market.  Wholemeal bread off Celtic baker, cakes off a stall, excellent sweetcorn off the stall where Secrett’s used to have a stall, plums, strawberries, apples and chilled apple juice off the apple stall.

Guidelines have been produced on food handling, but they are meaningless.  Meat, fish and cheese has to be as in any shop, in refrigerated units.

Winchester has an excellent cheese stall, a refrigerated stall. In the hot weather he knocks of early as impossible to keep the cheese cool and it would have to be thrown away.

From where to obtain excellent cheese? Cheesemonger in Chapel Street? Direct from the farm?

I had a chat with one cheese stall. Raw milk, not pasteurised? No. Milk has many microbes, these are what makes the cheese, gives it character. Pasteurisation does not make the cheese ‘safe’ as cheese ideal breading ground for microbes. Kill off the microbes and have to add a culture. Far from making the cheese safe, grant the opportunity for pathogens that otherwise would not get a look in. And the cows? Those black and white bulk milk producers, feed in one end, watery milk out the other. Totally unsuitable for quality cheese production. This is sadly to reproduce on the farm industrial cheese production. The only difference scale and lack of mechanisation.  Contrast with artisan cheese producers in France, milk straight into a wooden bucket, cheese left to mature on wooden planks.  Maybe that is why French produce excellent farm cheeses that command a  premium price.

Excellent lunch at Bamboo Shoots.

Passed by Surrey Hills Coffee twice, on both occasions empty.  Passing by a second time, coffee grounds for the garden.

Why do more coffee shops not put the coffee grounds outside for passers by to help themselves? Maybe something to be encouraged.

V60 Japanese iced coffee sat outside Krema. A little disappointed compared with their cold brew.  Maybe not suited to Ethiopian coffee. Maybe needs a single origin Colombian, or better still Panama Geisha. I have offered to bring in beans from Burundi to try.

Apple stall had saved me a chilled apple juice. Drank and bought a second to take home.

Passing the ginger ale stall, a cold ginger ale.

Cold ginger ale, like cold brew coffee, very refreshing on a  hot day.

Two girls dropped off a leaflet for social media. Only problem showed they were clueless on social media. Some fliers they had not even bothered to cut out straight, leaflet lacked web address, twitter account.  Classic example of how not to social media.

The market is to go plastic free next year. A step in the right direction which is long overdue. It needs to be rigorously enforced, offenders barred from the market.

Afternoon in Guildford

July 27, 2018

Another very hot day. Though not as hot as yesterday when 35.1C.

Stopped at FCB kiosk cappuccino Origin guest coffee.

I learnt FCB are going to set up their own coffee roastery, to which I was invited to visit.

Lunch at Pho, fake Vietnamese restaurant, a pleasant day and can sit outside.

Service at Pho is not poor, it is non-existent. A very long wait, maybe half an hour before anyone came to take an order. They could at least have brought a drink. In the top coffee shops in Athens it is the norm to bring ice cold water as soon as take a seat.

Order taken, another long wait before food arrived. Drinks were not brought until food was delivered.

As eating, heavy thunder, then lightning, followed by heavy rain. To their credit, staff rushed out and helped carry things indoors. And replaced my drink.

Another long wait for bill to be brought. In the end it had to be asked for.

In gaps in the rain, dash across to Krema.

Did I want cold brew? No, I would have V60 Japanese iced filter coffee, and showed how to make it.

St Martins Coffee House

July 13, 2018

Chichester is an old Roman town, the pedestrianised centre still follows the Roman Street plan, a medieval buttercross Chichester Cross in the centre, medieval side streets, surrounded by the Roman wall.

All the more depressing that the pedestrianised centre has been ruined by a proliferation of corporate chains, independents driven out by the greed of the Church and other local landowners, interspersed with what are little more than greasy spoon cafes masquerading as tea rooms and coffee shops.

From the station I trekked South Street to the Chichester Cross and all points of the compass, north, south, east and west in the hope of finding a decent coffee shop and somewhere decent to eat. I trekked in vein. It was then the medieval streets, and there in the North East Quadrant between North Street and East Street I happened upon St Martins Coffee House.

St Martins Coffee House is a restored town house, an oasis in a desert of mediocrity.

The town house was derelict, restored over several years by the current owner and now a restaurant.

Inside ancient wooden furniture, no cheap crap. Near the entrance a piano, feel free to play. It was actually in tune. Upstairs games to play chess, Japanese Go or Scrabble.

Outside a wonderful little garden.

Simple fare, freshly prepared, ingredients wherever possible sourced locally, in season, organic. Nothing hotted up in a microwave, no use of aluminium utensils, storage glass not plastic.

I selected for my lunch Red Dragon Cake. It was a little like the bean burger I used to have in Neal’s Yard Bakery in Covent Garden. Sadly long gone, as too has Food for Thought in Neal Street. Served on a bed of salad.

Generous portion size and delicious.

This I sat and enjoyed in the delightful garden.

Cakes were vegan, which I did not try, as my experience with vegan cakes is that they have never been very pleasant. Though I admit I was tempted.

I did not though give in to temptation, as I was tempted by a fresh fruit juice and the two would not have gone well together.

I chose carrot apple orange ginger fresh juice. I asked how made and it was as I had designed for a coffee shop in Cyprus and a juice bar in Athens.

It was as I expected, excellent for a hot day.

The coffee was dark roasted Italian sourced from a large company. This I declined, as would not have been good.

I made recommendations of from where they could source their coffee, top quality local coffee roasters. The moot point, may not be certified organic, but if single origin direct trade, would have traceability and transparency back to the farm, and would be able to say what inputs if any had been used, and the likelihood is none. Also for this weather, consider cold brew. And add other coffee methods, for example V60 pour over.

I suggested visit Coffee Lab, where they would be able to try speciality coffee. I did not know until I visited, Coffee Lab now have guest coffee.

Whether historic, I do not know, although called a Coffee House, St Martins Coffee House is actually not, it is a restaurant. But would make a wonderful coffee house if sourced speciality coffee, employed a skilled barista, and this would compliment their excellent food and environment and bring people in during the afternoon when quiet.

I then myself went in search of Coffee Lab where I had an excellent cold brew and cappuccino. And as always interesting conversation.

Godalming Street Food Market

July 7, 2018

A very hot day in Godalming.

The market stretched down Church Street as far as the Parish Church. It was though an illusion. A French market had been tacked on. A big mistake, as the French market is a travelling circus.

I was though pleased to see a French stall that I once found in Winchester, quality produce brought over from France. Not part of the travelling circus, an independent stall.

I wandered up and down, each year fewer stalls, at least fewer stalls of quality, fewer interesting stalls. Many stalls that used to come no longer do.

Gin tasting was a con, they were selling gin, and they were not even the producers.

It was good to see a Punch and Judy show. A rarity these days.

Music and dance at the Pepper pot.

Would it not be great if somewhere in Godalming served quality coffee? Sadly not.

I passed by Jory Cafe Gallery in Church Street. More a greasy spoon cafe than a coffee shop. What were the coffee beans? Would not say, may steal their secrets. Over roasted Colombian. I ordered a cappuccino. Chocolate dumped on top. I sent it back. Second cappuccino not good.

Were their takeaway coffee cups compostable? It did not say. Yes. On leaving I was handed a cup and lid to add to my compost experiment.

I popped in The Star, walked into their back garden. A mistake. Full of drunks. I took my beer out into the street. Remind me again why I prefer coffee shops to pubs.

All day I was wishing for a refreshing cold brew coffee. Chance would be a fine thing.

Disappointed Chimmney Fire Coffee did not have a stall.

Abysmal environmental standards on the market, food safety and obscene us of plastic.

The same stall as of Guildford farmers market, poultry sat on the stall with temperature in excess of 30C. Why was it not closed down? Were the butcher to put poultry on a stall outside the shop would very quickly be shut down.

Food and hot weather do not mix. In this hot weather Environmental Health should be patrolling food markets, not wait until people fall sick.

Humans have this strange ability to hold two contradictory and opposing views simultaneously. We know plastic is polluting our oceans and yet we continue to use plastic.

The amount of plastic on the market was appalling, drinks in plastic, plastic straws, junk foods served in plastic boxes. Even sweets in plastic coffee takeaway cups.

Paella stall an exception, but that an initiative of one stall. It should not be down to one stall, standards should be set for the market, no plastic.

It is not only Godalming. Farnham Carnival, Guildford farmers market, Winchester street food market, all have abysmal environmental standards.

Nor is it only local markets. Wimbledon is handing out bottled water. To add insult to injury, French bottled water.

Has no one heard of Plastic Free July? Does any one care?

From Cook a raspberry and mint lollipop. It was excellent. I went back and had a second.

In Waitrose rCup. Waitrose had their own reusable cup at £3, now the rCup at £12. Claimed to be made from a dozen recycled coffee cups. Which makes the point, plastic is not recycled, it is down cycled. Designed by a former designer for Dyson. Maybe should stick to vacuum cleaners as not barista friendly, something fairly basic for a reusable coffee cup. Greenwash by Waitrose to distract from fresh produce in plastic.

Guildford farmers market

July 3, 2018

A very hot day for the farmers market.

Half a loaf off Celtic Bakers.

A very hot day, poultry sitting on a stall, flies and wasps crawling over their cooked sausages.

A farmers market should not only be local produce, it should also be quality.

I have pushed for some time for a coffee stall. I did not know whether to laugh or cry, Cupsmith Coffee, quality it is not. Coffee beans displayed open to the air in the heat.

One of the first things learn about coffee, respect the beans.

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.

It is Plastic Free July. Why low environmental standards on the market? What steps are being made to eliminate plastic?

The only steps are initiatives of the individual stall holders. It is not acceptable fresh produce in plastic.

Full marks to the paella stall, card boxes, wooden cutlery. And to the apple stall, apple juice in glass bottles.

Odd, what I thought was Secretts Farm, no longer is. I wonder how many others have not noticed? I had not noticed until it was pointed out to me.

A detour to Partisan excellent cheese shop end of Chapel Street. I recommended they stock Chimney Fire Coffee. Picked up Lincolnshire Poacher Cheese.

Hidden Curiosities Gin, why no stall, I was intrigued to see how craft gin compared with what was on the market. Silent Pool Gin, virtually no aroma, very bland to drink, 24 botanicals. Tom Cat Gin, slight aroma, rough firewater, 6 botanicals.

As always, excellent lunch from Bamboo Shoots.

Surrey Hills Coffee has relocated from Chapel Street to Jeffries Passage. I asked was it a pop up shop as gave the impression of being temporary.  Coffee was not great.

It was then to Krema, where guaranteed excellent coffee.

The roadworks in Tunsgate still not complete.