Archive for the ‘food’ Category

Lunch at Ghurkha Palace

September 22, 2019

Mediocre buffet lunch at Ghurkha Palace.

https://twitter.com/keithpp/status/11757859875800555567

Always has been mediocre, the one and only advantage cheap, but even that no more, no longer cheap.

Also tried a so-called Nepalese inspired craft beer. It too was mediocre.

Travelling street food circus returns to Lincoln

September 20, 2019

It is bad enough this travelling circus of junk food, poor quality street food, German sausages, chips, kebabs, poor quality cheese, passes through Lincoln once a year. Now it seems twice a year.

Added to which, as if Lincoln has enough problems with drunken yobs in the High Street on a Saturday afternoon, without adding a bar in the street in Corn Exchange.

Quality street food this is not, and yet another example of how Lincoln BIG wastes public money and why they should be wound up.

Quality Street food can be found in Lincoln for example Curry Jacks (outside Central Market, St Mark’s and once a month at Coffee Aroma), The Mint Box (outside Central Market), Barbell Burger Co (Lincoln Castle during Lincoln Steampunk Festival), Redhill Farm slow roast pork (Lincoln Castle during Lincoln Steampunk Festival).

It is long overdue these quality street food vendors got together as the founders of a Lincoln Street Food Festival, locally organised, local traders, invite only, if not quality, do not get a repeat invite. Would need a craft beer stall, a quality coffee stall, possibly cheese stall, if also served cheese in bread, pasta, paella, wood-fired clay oven pizza.

Sheffield Cheese Masters

September 3, 2019

On my way to The Depot Eatery at Kelham Island I came across a cheese maker, Sheffield Cheese Masters.

I looked in, then headed to The Depot Bakery for late lunch and a coffee, with a promise I would be back.

When I looked in earlier they were preparing experimental blue cheeses. Now gone.

I raise the same issue of cleanliness that I had thought of in The Depot Eatery, how to keep clean in a warehouse? They have built a sealed unit within the warehouse.

The girl I talk to knows little about cheese. She apologises and explains she is new and has only been there a few weeks.

I recommend she reads Reinventing the Wheel, excellent book on all aspects of cheese.

She offers me a sample of their cheese. It reminds me of Cornish Brie. She tells me it is a Camembert style cheese.

Not made from unpasteurised milk. A big mistake if trying to produce quality cheese. But nevertheless an excellent cheese. Would be even better if made from unpasteurised milk.

The cheese has a sticker Gold Winner 2019 Great Yorkshire Show. Of what merit I do not know, but cannot be worse than the meaningless Great Taste Awards.

I ask of of the cows. She does no know, other than the farm local and claims the cows are grass fed.

Sheffield Cheese Masters the only cheese maker in Sheffield.

The Depot Eatery

September 3, 2019

The Depot Eatery in Kelham Island, a bus ride or tram ride away from Sheffield city centre.

No idea where catch a bus.

I eventually found the correct bus, long wait, 20 minutes for next bus, I wandered off to Winter Garden, only then to learn a different bus due.

I head back, catch No 7, I was earlier waiting for No 8 or 8A.

I asked bus driver, he tells me he does not know where he is going. He then tells me there is a diversion.

I follow the route on Google maps, alight at correct bus stop.

Kelham Island a desolate area. Red brick abandoned foundries and warehouses, but I see has potential if the buildings are renovated not demolished.

I find where I need to be, but first look in a cheese dairy, Sheffield Cheese Masters the only cheese maker in Sheffield.

I do not stop, head next door to The Depot Eatery.

Do they serve food food? Yes. Kitchen is now closed. I ask when does it close. Three. It is on the dot of three. This is Sheffield service.

Contrast with (from The North and North Wales Independent Coffee Guide):

Owner Jon’s Kiwi heritage shines through in the emphasis on quality food and drink, along with nothing-is-too-much-trouble friendly service.

That The Depot Eatery is featured in The North and North Wales Independent Coffee Guide is no surprise. It is little more than a scam masquerading as an independent guide to coffee shops, the coffee shops pay to be listed and write their own entries, hence the overblown bullshit.

I settle for a sandwich. Roast vegetables adulated with some vile tasting gloop. The bread was interesting.

I asked of the bread. I was told brioche bap. It was not.

Next door a bakery. But open warehouse, not ideal for a bakery, or food preparation, as impossible to keep clean.

Coffee is Ozone and Has Been. Ozone a big mistake.

Tamper (the same owner) used to use Ozone and Dark Woods coffee. Big mistake ditching Dark Woods and replacing with Has Bean. It should have been the other way around, ditch Ozone and replace with Has Bean.

I order a cappuccino. It is served with chocolate.

Why oh why does no one know how to serve a cappuccino? It is not served with chocolate.

Cappuccino ok, better than I expect for Ozone.

Something I have not seen before, Ozone produce what appears to be an annual magazine.

Not busy all the time I am there. But hardly surprising, middle of nowhere, and not somewhere would go out of the way for.

On walking in I was superficially reminded of The Barn. I say superficially, The Barn quality.

Vietnamese pop up kitchen Union St

September 3, 2019

From my experience to date no great fan of Vietnamese food, at least not that served in England and what I have tried in Berlin only marginally better.

Pho, a chain of fake Vietnamese street food restaurants, not only the food not good, bad service to match.

Mama’s Kitchen, a Vietnamese restaurant in Berlin, the food to say the least not very good.

For September, no ShuJu Kitchen Taiwanese pop up kitchen at Union St, I decided to try the Vietnamese.

Union St was the reason for my visit to Sheffield, or at least Monday for the Vietnamese pop up kitchen.

Oh what a disappointment. I have never been impressed with Vietnamese food, but never this bad. Noodles and tofu, both were stone cold, not even lukewarm, stone cold as though served straight from a fridge.

Myself and a fellow customer complained. We were given our money back. There was then an offer to hot it up. Plate was hot, food not even lukewarm.

But even had it been hot, it would still have been a very poor offering.

What though was reasonable, was the potato and pork soup. Not listed, and I only had because I asked what it was. And then perversely they offered to pour it over the stone cold noodle and tofu. I stopped them, obtained a take away cup, a and drank it from the cup.

Union St need to replace these guys.

I like the idea of a pop up kitchen, to try different food, to give the chefs an opportunity, but Union St need to exercise quality control.

There is also a need on the board, to at the very least list a twitter account to enable their offerings to be checked out. And for those running the pop up, to list what they will have available, or if not there.

Afternoon in Sheffield

September 3, 2019

A cool Monday afternoon in Sheffield.

Train into Sheffield delayed several minutes as approaches station. No explanation.

A detour for cappuccino at South Street Kitchen. Stunning view across Sheffield.

South Street Kitchen easy enough to find if know how. Take the back way out of Sheffield Station, cross the tram lines, follow the path up the slope to South Park Flats, nestled at the foot of the flats, South Park Kitchen.

My cappuccino weak and insipid. Could be many reasons, poor extraction, low quality coffee.

A big mistake using Dark Woods for espresso. Their single origin coffees are usually excellent, espresso blend not. A Great Taste award sticker no guarantee of quality, indeed usually the exact opposite. No self-respecting roaster would wish to adorn their coffee with such a sticker.

Though I usually get an excellent cappuccino off Motore Coffee, who use Dark Woods. And on a previous visit to South Street Kitchen their coffee was excellent.

Second time I have made a mistake visiting South Street Kitchen, though not sure if the mistake the visit or not staying to eat the food as always looks great.

A detour to Sheffield BID to pick up copies of The Heart of Independent Sheffield a guide to indie businesses in the Devonshire Quarter, then through Winter Garden to Union Street.

Union St was the reason for my visit to Sheffield, or at least Monday, for the Vietnamese pop up kitchen.

Oh what a disappointment. I have never been impressed with Vietnamese food, but never this bad. Noodles and tofu, both were stone cold, not even lukewarm, stone cold as though served straight from a fridge. Myself and a fellow customer complained. We were given our money back. There was then an offer to hot it up. Plate was hot, food not even lukewarm. But even had it been hot, it would still have been a very poor offering.

Union St need to replace these guys.

I like the idea of a pop up kitchen, to try different food, to give the chefs an opportunity, but Union St need to exercise quality control.

Once again no Now Then. Should now be September issue out. I asked. I learnt not published in the summer. Yes, there should be copies. Something going very wrong with distribution. Last week, when I could not find the August edition, I asked of Now Then where to be found. They lacked the courtesy to reply.

It was then head to The Depot Eatery in Kelham Island, a bus ride or tram ride away.

No idea where catch a bus. I eventually found the correct bus, long wait, 20 minutes for next bus, I wander off then learn a different bus due. I head back, catch No 7, I was earlier waiting for No 8 or 8A. I ask bus driver, he tells me he does not know where he is going. He then tells me there is a diversion. I follow route on Google maps, alight at correct bus stop.

Kelham Island a desolate area. Red brick abandoned foundries and warehouses, but I see has potential if the buildings are renovated not demolished.

I find where I need to be, but first look in a cheese dairy, Sheffield Cheese Masters.

I do not stop, head next door to The Depot Eatery.

Do they serve food food? Yes. Kitchen is now closed. I ask when does it close. Three. It is on the dot of three. This is Sheffield service.

I settle for a sandwich. Roast vegetables adulated with some vile tasting gloop. The bread is interesting.

I ask of the bread. I am told brioche bap. It is not.

Next door a bakery. But open warehouse, not ideal for a bakery, or food preparation, as impossible to keep clean.

Coffee is Ozone and Has Been. Ozone a big mistake.

I order a cappuccino. It is served with chocolate.

Why oh why does no one know how to serve a cappuccino? It is not served with chocolate.

Cappuccino ok, better than I expect for Ozone.

Something I have not seen before, Ozone produce what appears to be an annual magazine.

Not busy all the time I am there. But hardly surprising, middle of nowhere, and not somewhere would go out of the way for.

I then look back in the cheese maker, Sheffield Cheese Masters.

Earlier they were preparing experimental blue cheeses.

I raise the same issue of cleanliness. They have built a sealed unit within the warehouse.

The girl I talk to knows little about cheese. She apologises and explains she is new and has only been there a few weeks.

She offers me a sample of their cheese. It reminds me of Cornish Brie. She tells me it is a Camembert style.

Not made from unpasteurised milk. A big mistake if trying to produce quality cheese.

I ask of the cows. She does no know, other than the farm local and claims the cows are grass fed.

I am given rough directions where to find a bus. She does not know of tram as is given a lift in.

I stand at the bus stop in a deserted road. I begin to wonder, diversion, but nothing at the bus stop to say.

A guy comes along. I ask. He says there is a bus now due, but sometimes wait 30 minutes for a bus to turn up. Once on the bus he advises me where to alight for the railway station

Whilst waiting for the bus, I voice my thoughts of The Depot Eatery empty, no one would trek out to. He says because of the businesses around, they do well at lunchtime.

I am at the station early, fifteen minutes before train due. I wander off, detour to Tamper Sellers Wheel. A coffee is tempting, but I will miss the train.

I make it in time for the train, only to find train is delayed. Luckily only by a few minutes.

When it pulls in, packed, many waiting on the platform to board.

Another overcrowded two coach Northern Fail.

A refurbished Northern Fail wifi and usb charging. Only wifi does not connect to anything.

I mention to the guard. He is surprised to learn the train has wifi, let alone knows how to reset it. He says they are not even able to adjust the air conditioning. If too hot, they have to open the windows.

Guildford farmers market

August 6, 2019

Weather forecast was cool with rain. Not only did it not rain, it turned hot in the sun.

Small producers should set high standards, if not, what is the point, I can obtain low standards in a supermarket. Many take a pride in their produce, too many do not.

Coffee that is very poor quality. The only reason they get away with it is that the average Joe or Jo is used to bad coffee.

For coffee try Krema, excellent coffee, plus they sell coffee from Horsham Coffee Roasters. They will also advise on what is best suited on home coffee making and no not a Nepresso machine, no not a home espresso machine, they will never produce a good cup of coffee, a French press, not really.

I had hoped Coffee Gems would have a stall. Excellent coffee.

Cheese, quality cheese, comes from raw milk, grass fed cows, not pasteurised milk, not the black and white bulk milk producers.

If want quality cheese, check the cheesemonger end of Chapel Street also the French cheese stall on the Friday market in North Street.

On farmers market in Lincoln not only cheese made from raw milk, also raw milk on sale.

A chat with a chocolate maker. Craft chocolate is a meaningless designation, we see the same with coffee, gourmet coffee, artisan coffee, meaningless designations.

Looking at the chocolate stall, only one chocolate would I call a quality chocolate, the rest had emulsifiers, additives, adulterated chocolate, and that is even before I try the chocolate.

Chocolate

  • cocoa mass – sugar – vanilla
  • cocoa mass -cocoa butter – sugar – vanilla

The purists will not allow vanilla, others say ok if enhances the quality of the chocolate. A moot point.

Always check the list of ingredients.

Quality chocolate will be bean-to-bar. Anything that is not bean-to-bar paying a lot of money for someone to buy in chocolate and turn into bars.

Asked why chocolate on the stall had soy? Soy destroys rain forests, likely to be gmo, most probably unless organic, sprayed with glyphosate. It could be worse. it could be palm oil. Green and Black chocolate is padded out with palm oil. Emulsifiers are used instead of cocoa butter. Why, because it is cheaper.

EU permits emulsifiers, USA does not.

Chocolate, high quality single origin bean-to bar chocolate has many subtle flavours, no quality chocolate maker would dream of adding additives. This would be like adding syrups to a good coffee.

Chocolate has more flavour profiles than coffee. Coffee has more flavour profiles than red wine.

We are going backwards. Chocolate wrapped in plastic. Why? Chocolate used to be foil wrapped, then wrapped in paper.

To claim cannot as small business is nonsense.

It is indie coffee shops that have been leading the way on reusable cups compostable cups, on direct trade not the fair trade scam which is little more than a marketing scam to make the smug middle class feel good. Being small, is being nimble.

What asked these questions, lady manning chocolate stall turned very unpleasant and refused to answer.

Excellent beer from the beer stall next to Silent Pool Gin stall. I bought three bottles, one chilled to have with my lunch. My only criticism, the bottles are too small, should be 330 ml not 250 ml.

A year ago I was assured the market would be plastic free this year. It is not, if anything it has got worse.

Persuasion is not working. It should not be individual stalls, the paella and dosa stalls set high standards. If stallholders are not cooperating and clearly they are not, then rules have to be set and enforced. No plastic. If not plastic free, then will not be allowed on the Guildford farmers market. If stallholders whinge its is costing them, tough. If their businesses model is not valid they should not be in business. It is not acceptable to externalise their costs onto the environment and the rest of society.

Guildford is the only farmers market where I see what should normally be in a fridge 0-5 C sat on a stall at 20 C or higher. Any stall wishing to sell meat, poultry, fish and dairy products must have refrigerated stalls. No refrigerated stall then not permitted on the market.

Last month Guildford declared a Climate Emergency. Empty words unless followed by action. Markets in Guildford should demonstrate best practice not worst practice, set a lead for others to follow.

And please get rid of the ice cream van at the bottom of North Street with engine running belching out toxic fumes at the height of toddlers.

Excellent lunch at Bamboo Shoots with a bottle of craft beer off the market, but 250 ml too little.

Passing by Surrey Hills coffee five people, when I passed by later one person. I cannot see how they survive.

Walking back down the High Street to Tunsgate, craft beer stall said they would return on Saturday. I was surprised as I was not aware there was a market on Saturday. A vegan market. No publicity, no mention by any of the stalls.

As always, excellent cappuccino at Krema.

Staycation Live 2019

August 3, 2019

GWR Reading-Guildford-Redhill, wifi not working, usb charging not working. Usually though is down to not turned on. Why is there not a check list? Maybe there is.

Alighting at Godalming Station, surprised how many get off the train. All were headed for Staycation Live. Word has got around.

Once I arrived at the park, already many people, far more than when I usually arrive.

Disappointed to find The Little Beer Company no longer running the bar as they have done an excellent job the last two years. Maybe ask Growlers & Cans.

Reusable plastic for the beer. Pay a refundable pound deposit. I can though foresees a problem, no washing facility on site.

The design I did not like. It would have been better a logo nothing more on the side.

But the concept is good sustainability.

Something that needs to be addressed at the markets in Godalming, Farnham, and Guildford. No it is not acceptable to use plastic. Why do councils have such abysmally low standards? If Staycation can, then so can they. They should be demonstrating best practice, not worst practice.

Hog roast always worth grabbing something to eat.

A fake burger vegan stall. I would rather have seen quality vegetarian dishes, not fake meet. They do at least make their own.

Beware of the fake meat being hyped for example Impossible Burger, big businesses, highly processed crap including gmo soya contaminated with glyphosate.

Extinction Rebellion probably thought themselves in a prime location, in the cloisters with the secondary stage. Not so if tried to hold a conversation

It would have been a good idea had they been granted the stage to give a talk. Maybe they were, maybe they did.

Something to consider for the future, talks, poetry, drama.

Need a quality coffee truck.

I would have liked to have seen a quality coffee stall. Something that has been lacking. Maybe try Coffee Gems, a quality coffee roastery in Farnham. Or 101 Coffee Espresso Bar in Oxford who have experience of running coffee stalls at festivals.

I would invite Ollo Foods, quality vegan food, not fake meat substitutes.

Surrey Pride, sponsored by BAE Systems, hands dripping with blood of all the children killed in Yemen. Sickening.

I did not stay long, left before three.

On leaving a brief chat with the local Mayor.

Lucky I left when I did, local butcher closes at three.

One reason for wishing to leave early, I had spotted on Wednesday cast iron cooking pots in Samaritans charity shop. Unfortunately had gone.

Looked in 2 Bada, a Korean restaurant. Somewhere to eat on my next visit to Godalming.

Caught bus into Guildford.

A little market on the Town Bridge. Did I want an ice cream? No, Loseley ice cream, not cheap at £3 a tiny tub, I would prefer a cone, no cones. Man suggests try elsewhere. But I could not find where he directed me.

I did find at the bottom of the North Street an ice cream van peddling crap ice cream with engine running.

It illustrates Extinction Revolution have a long way to go. Guildford has declared a Climate Emergency. Empty words unless followed by action. Why is this ice cream van permitted?

Dylan’s ice cream, top quality local ice cream and served in a cone, does not leave an engine running.

Next time roads are blocked, point out roads are multi-function, not restricted to traffic. OK for a bike ride passing through that blocks the roads. The chaos is as nothing when Climate Emergency kicks in.

Last week record high temperate. This week, a month’s rain fell within a couple of hours, roads swept away, rail lines swept away, a dam about to overflow a small town evacuated. Had the hills been rewilded, subsidised sheep kicked off the hills, these flash floods would have been prevented. Grass grazed herbivores improve soil structure, soil acts as carbon sink, grass mitigates temperature change, when it rains the water soaks into the ground.

Good deed of the day, helped with a survey on shopping habits. Long discussion followed on collapse of retail in town centres. Tunsgate Quarter zombie shopping centre, Brighton, need for support for local indie businesses not chains, question why Visit Guildford and Experience Guildford are promoting corporate chains at the expense of local indie businesses, are they taking money to do so?

My detour into Guildford to collect Black Gold from Waterstone’s.

A girl outside handing out poetry. She was typing it out on a portable typewriter. She was packing up when I came out of the bookshop.

I questioned she was not there for long. She told mm she had been there all day.

She told em she was a musician and gave me a copy of her EP.

It was then to Guildford Station.

Even though I left Staycation Live early it was still around seven when I got home.

Staycation Live is supported by Godalming Town Council. And they are to be complimented for their continued support.

Culture should be supported for its own sake, it improves well-being, sense of place, but as a study in Sheffield has shown, it also benefits the local economy.

To what extent does Staycation Live benefit the local economy? Those with stalls will benefit, if provided by local bars and restaurant, as in the past, even if not making money on the day, is going to tempt to visit.

Sheffield has an excellent freebie magazine Now Then found in indie coffee shops which supports local indie businesses, local culture.

Contrast with Guildford where Visit Guildford and Experience Guildford promote corporate chains, big business to the detriment of local indie businesses. 

 

M&S plastic obscenity

July 19, 2019

The plastic obscenity that is M&S gets worse.

Plastic Free July, but would not know this from visiting M&S.

Shrink-wrapped coconuts, bananas rotting in plastic bags, and just when think cannot get worse, M&S are giving away plastic copies of their produce.

Quite why anyone would wish for plastic replicas of M&S goods is beyond me. More totally unnecessary plastic waste.

Yet another massive retail fail by a failing retailer.

Godalming Food Festival 2019

July 7, 2019

The first food festival I went to a few years ago was excellent. Has slowly gone downhill. Each one worse than the previous. Today was dire.

Why a Sunday? Public transport is non existent on a Sunday. So much for reduce reliance on the car and that we are facing a Climate Emergency.

In the past one train an hour to Guildford, one train an hour from Guildford to Godalming, with nearly an hour wait at Guildford.

Revised timetable, two trains an hour to Guildford, two trains an hours to Godalming, which is an improvement.

But try catching a bus.

Whilst waiting fora train, cappuccino off FCB kiosk.

Sunday, no butcher open, no greengrocer open.

Waitrose had a cookery demonstration. Weirdest cookery demonstration I have ever seen, the cooks were silent. The guy who was doing the talking was trying to sell stuff from Waitrose, completely ignored the cooking.

The Waitrosee demo meant I missed the hog roast.

Hog roast, dosa off Ollo Foods, Dylan’s ice cream, paella, the only stalls worth knowing about.

In the past there has been a range of beer and wine, and far wider range of food.

A stall selling fake-meat burgers. Why? Why not provide quality vegetarian food? I was surprised to see a long queue. I think they were too. Only the queue was for the neighbouring Thai stall.

A stall with adulterated cheese shrink-wrapped in plastic.

Godalming Deli has improved, or at least expanded, now has zero waste. But crap coffee from Redber.

Cafe Mila busy. Crap undrinkable coffee from Cupsmith. I saw a a cappuccino, full of froth and foam, chocolate dumped on top, yuk. In the street a sign barista coffee, meaningless.

Why is no one in Godalming capable of serving decent coffee?

Cafe Mila is usually empty during the Food Festival. That it was busy a reflection of how bad the Food Festival.

A stall with what was claimed to be craft artisan chocolate only it was not. Wrapped in plastic, bulked out with emulsifiers. Quality chocolate it was not. The guy manning the stall did not even know what was bean-to-bar chocolate.

Chocolate

– cocoa mass, sugar, vanilla
– cocoa mass, cocoa butter sugar, vanilla

Purists do not add vanilla.

Why do council markets have abysmally low environmental standards? Why not plastic free?

Worst stall by far, stall with turkey sausages sitting on the stall on a hot afternoon, sausages in polystyrene boxes. Sausages cooked, popped back in the box for people to sample. Cooked sausages crawling with flies.

Hot weather and food do not mix. Why environmental health not patrolling these markets?

Meat, cheese, should be on refrigerated stalls.

With no greengrocer, no butcher, not even a fruit and vegetable stall, it was to Waitrose.

I never made it. I saw a coffee shop called Roost. I had seen a sign for it earlier but no indication where it was.

I looked in. It goes further back than external appearance would indicate, with a garden out the back. Very pleasant ambience.

I sat in the garden and had a chat with the owner.

Coffee from Fire Chimney Coffee. The only place in Godalming that sources other than cheap crap coffee. I did not try a coffee, too late. Maybe another time.

Waitrose now closed. Made do with Cook.

On the way to the station, am ice cram parlour, crap coffee, but interestingly had bean-to-bar chocolate. And no emulsifiers.

I tried a pistachio ice cream. He said it was made differently. Taste was much different. Not sure if I liked or not.