Archive for the ‘Guildford’ Category

Gail’s bakery Guildford

October 5, 2021

No lunch, no breakfast, with reluctance I decided to eat at Gail’s bakery in Tunsgate.

Could it be as bad as Gail’s in Farnham? Sadly yes, they must be vying with each other as disgusting places to eat and drink coffee.

I asked for a sausage roll. I asked that it be heated up. Girl serving refused, on the grounds out of the oven, it is hot.

Tables dirty, no one has bothered to clear the tables, let alone clean the tables.

I sit at a table, push dirty crockery to one side.

We are in the middle of a coronavirus pandemic, not only should tables be cleared, they should be cleaned before next customer sits down.

Reputable places that care about their reputation, care about customer health and well being, do no allow to sit down until a table is cleared and cleaned, and would never allow tables to be piled with dirty dishes.

I return for cutlery and serviettes.

In Farnham, dish ordered is brought to the table piping hot.

In Guildford, serve yourself, including clearing and cleaning the table.

My sausage roll cold and disgusting. I leave half eaten.

I contrast with sausage rolls from Redhill Farm Shop, excellent, piping hot, a fraction of the price, but then they take a pride in what they are doing.

I watch a fellow customer, clear his table, then get cleaning spray and cloth to clean his own table.

I catch him as he is leaving. He said not somewhere he has eaten before, I think he had a coffee. He said he found the place disgusting.

Staff not wearing face masks.

Only one toilet for a quite large greasy spoon café.

Lack of ambience.

It must be a trade mark of Gail’s, disgusting food, appalling service, tables groaning under dirty dishes.

This must be one of the most disgusting places to eat in Guildford. Maybe there are worse, but they would be very bad.

I did not try the coffee. That in Farnham undrinkable, clueless on coffee. Why even sample when Krema across the street serving excellent coffee, plus the worlds smallest coffee shop serving from a red telephone box. I regret I did not eat at Krema.

A chain and it shows. No one cares, certainly not the staff.

Coronavirus biosecurity very poor: Staff not wearing masks, tables not cleaned between customers.

Gail’s best avoided.

The world’s smallest coffee shop?

October 5, 2021

On my last visit to Guildford some time end of last year, Krema had drawn to my attention a red telephone box serving coffee. I had noticed as walked past, but thought nothing more of it.

Today, visiting the farmers market in the High Street, I thought I would investigate further.

Quite literally, a red telephone box functions as a coffee shop, a few tables and chairs outside.

I was offered Brazilian coffee.

Brazilian coffee is usually poor quality from mechanised plantations, but there is an awful lot of coffee in Brazil and there is some good stuff.

I try an espresso. I was happy with what I was served. An espresso a good test.

We had a chat, coffee from Brazil, coffee in Greece, I learn the guy is Greek, though no Greek accent.

Caffe Nero lack of social distancing

January 4, 2021

Tuesday of last week, two days before tier 4 on New Year’s Eve, lack of social distancing in Caffe Nero, top end of Lincoln High Street.

Half a dozen people lined up at the counter. Half a dozen people putting themselves and staff at risk. This is an example of why covid-19 is out of control and why a highly infectious strain B117 is spreading like wildfire.

Covid-19 is a respiratory disease, it spreads person-to-person, it spreads through people touching contaminated surfaces.

Not only Caffe Nero.

I think it was the previous week, a family butcher a notice on the door, people not able to count, I counted seven inside, the notice said three.

A local baker, limit of three people posted on the door, people take no notice, often there will be three people stood in the doorway, blocking the way as leave the shop.

Guildford, first Saturday after the second lockdown, first Saturday of December, the town was packed, too many people on the street lack of social distancing. Looking in coffee shops, no social distancing as customers queued for a takeaway coffee.

It is not difficult to form an orderly social distanced queue outside.

Coffee Aroma in Lincoln sets a standard that others need to follow:

  • one customer
  • form an orderly queue outside not blocking the door
  • contactless payment
  • takeaway coffee cups
  • no reusable cups

We prevent spread of covid-19 by avoiding other people, keeping our distance, avoiding overcrowded enclosed spaces.

From midnight, England goes into lockdown. Will remain in lockdown until at least mid-February. England should have gone into knockdown Christmas Day.

Guildford coronavirus tier 2 day thirteen

December 15, 2020

Saturday I finally get around to raking wet leaves. Usually twice a week, now all of autumn leafall. Soend the rest of the day in pain. 

oday, rake more wet leaves, in pain as I work.

Themorning was plesanta nd sunny, now cold and raing.

I decide not wise to walk to the station, and it is raing, bus theh train. 

River Ey muddyadn afst flwoing. 

Rtaher tahn walk to Waitrose alterm I go before I eat. 

Canopy Coffee open. I aheb a cappuccino. Canopy Coffee takeway coffee for the forseebale future. To small to be viabkle socail dstancing. Suprsingly busy. In the past nevr busy. Maybe due to Wairise clsoing their cafe and no longers erving free coffee. Unless shopping in Waitrose too far to make the effort to walk from the town cdentre. 

Late lunch at Hanki small Koraen rarsuaranyt in Jeffreos Passge. 

Deliverroo serfs ignore notice on door to wait out side. Topw walk in, fail top remove crash helmet, lave door open. 

They do not appear to undersnad Enlhsih. Customers compalin they acnnot undersnad simple directions.

Cappuccino at Krema.

Raingg, walk through Tunsgate Quarter zonmbie shoping centre. Ss always, empty.  It only function, auseful shotcut when raining.

Coffee at Ceylon House of Coffee. 

Whilst I was oout it was aniounced London and surroundiong araes would eb placed in tier 3. Covid-19 cases in London are doucling every four dasy. A covid-19 varaints has appeared in Londond and surrounding aaresa ndis sprading rapidly.

— to b econtinued —

Ceylon House of Coffee revisited

December 11, 2020

Ceylon House of Coffee is owned by London House of Coffee in Sri Lanka. Designed to look like a tarditional Ceylon coffee house, it only serves Ceylon coffee.

I visited Monday, today paid a return visit.

I looked in on my way to lunch, then returned later.

Coffee paraphernalia Krema

December 11, 2020

New this week in Krema, coffee making paraphernalia.

If selling coffee beans, then also need to sell the gear for the home brewer.

But, V60 on its own does not a pour over coffee make. Will also need, swan-neck kettle, hand grinder, digital scales.

For hand grinder, reasonable c £50

  • rhino
  • crushgrind

If wish to spend more, a lot more

  • Rock
  • Commandante


Electric grinder

  • Niche Zero

For digital scales

  • Hario
  • Rhino

Rhino, with no timer, around half the price of Hario.

Then there is the water.

Coffee made with tap water will taste disgusting.  Need a filter or bottled spring water. Or ask the coffee shop nicely for filtered water.

  • Peak water filter

V60 requires skill.

Gem series designed by Stefanos Domatiotis deskills the pouring, but about three times the price of a ceramic V60.

A pour over is the easiest way to make coffee at home, also the Aeropress.

Domestic espresso machines are a waste of money.

But if really want to make espresso at home, only one option.

  • 9Barista

Well engineered, expensive, and a long wait.

On sale a reusable cup I have not seen before.

Stoke, claimed to be shatter proof. May I bounce it off the floor? No.

But, selling reusable cups during a pandemic is to encourage their use. No one should be using, no coffee shop accepting  during coronavirus pandemic, as is to introduce an unnecessary disease vector.

Guildford coronavirus tier 2 day ten

December 11, 2020

Mild during the day, but turns cold later when turns dark.

In pain walking to the station.

No power usb charging point on the train. This is all too common. Why? No one bothers to turn the power on.

Stop and have a coffee at FCB kiosk at Guildford Station, better than what I had last Saturday.

Bankrupt Debenhams site sold for redevelopment.

More people on the street than Monday, but not as bad as last Saturday.

Look in Ceylon House of Coffee, but do not stop. Pop back later.

Look in mobile phone repair shop. Replacement phones A41 …, S8 …


Costa has gone. Town centre coffee shop closed. This is the second Costa in the town centre to close. No great loss.

When Waterstone’s were forced across the road by a rent hike, Costa closed. I do not know if the newly relocated Waterstone’s has a coffee shop.

Flight Centre closed. I cannot see it reopening.

Harris + Hoole empty. With Caffè Nero bankrupt what will happen to Harris + Hoole? Will Caffe Nero be asset stripped with Harris + Hoole  sold off as an independent chain?

Many businesses in Guildford had gone bust last year and early this year before coronavirus pandemic. What will be left in the New Year?

Lunch at Hanki. I decide tempura prawns and rice will suffice. Nigh impossible to fish out the egg. I am starting to feel sick. Replaced with rice with no egg.

Deliveroo serfs are ignoring the sign on the door to wait outside. Crash hat not removed. Maybe sometimes wearing a mask.

On my way to Krema for a coffee I pass Loakes in the High Street.

I have never noticed before. New I do not know.

Quality shoes, last a lifetime if looked after. Expensive, but worth the money if can afford.

New this week for Krema. Coffee making gear, V60 kit and reusable cups.

But should not be encouraging or accepting reusable cusp, disease vector for coronavirus.

V60 on its own does not a pour over coffee make. Will also need, swan-neck kettle, hand grinder, digital scales.

To Ceylon House of Coffee. A little disappointed, should be better than it was. But, feeling sick from the egg.

Ceylon House of Coffee

December 7, 2020

Once upon a time, a century ago, coffee spread from Ethiopia to Ceylon, Ceylon was a major exporter of coffee. Then disease struck, the coffee trees were wiped out and had to be destroyed to stop, in vein, to try and halt the disease from spreading. Coffee was replaced by tea.

There is now an effort to establish the island’s coffee heritage, old trees located, new trees grown.

Coffee needs a coffee shop.

Ceylon House of Coffee is owned by the owner of a Ceylon coffee planation. High altitude arabica.

It was with trepidation I visited, my expectations low.

Ceylon House of Coffee is to recreate a traditional coffee house. Never having visited one, I would not know, but on walking in, I was transported to what in my mind’s eye I would expect, with the exception of modern espresso machine and a grinder.

I was introduced to the manager and head barista Rohan Pitumpe and spent the rest of the day talking all things coffee until well after the coffee shop had closed.

The coffee is roasted in Sri Lanka then shipped to England. As a general rule, added value in the source country is always a good idea, but for coffee no. Roasted coffee beans do not travel well, there is a risk of contamination, risk of delay, and with UK leaving EU this can only get worse with chaos at the borders. Already companies are stockpiling in anticipation of chaos in the New Year.

The coffee beans must be shipped to UK as green beans, then roasted locally by a skilled coffee roaster. Supply the green beans from Ceylon to a local roastery in UK, then supply the roasted beans to the coffee shop in Guildford.

If coffee is roasted locally, it will suit local palates, local water, and will not encounter supply delay.

Around the walls, information on the farm and history of coffee in Ceylon.

Very elegant coffee cups, equally elegant tea cups. Again reminiscent of what would expect of a traditional tea or coffee house.

The only time I have seen cups like this was in Ben Rahim, an Arabic coffee shop in Berlin.

A long time opening,  Problems with the builders, then covid-19 lockdown.

Open space in the middle, wooden floor, it could be a cabaret dance floor, tables and chairs arranged around the periphery.  Difficult to see what could be done with this open space. If tables and chairs, would be an obstruction to the bar. It could be one large old table, a communal table.

Large floor to ceiling windows which makes open and airy in daylight hours.

A coffee shop needs outdoor seating for the summer. This Ceylon House of Coffee lacks though has applied for permission. It would though be difficult as on a slope and not pleasant with passing traffic.

With changing coronavirus situation, opening hours are in flux, currently open until six thirty in the evening. Too late in the winter cold and dark and folk wish to get home. In the summer could be later.

In the future they hope to offer coffee related events.

And the coffee?

For a change, I chose an espresso. Not harsh, but could be better.

Followed by a cappuccino.

I did not have to send the cappuccino back, I did not have to say no chocolate. I was not asked did I want chocolate? I was served a cappuccino with no chocolate dumped on top. Why do so many coffee shops get it wrong?

The cappuccino, a little weak.

But the beans are roasted in Ceylon, then shipped to UK, far from ideal.

I looked forward to a shipment of green beans, roasted locally.

Currently it is not possible to purchase the coffee beans, but hopefully this will change when coffee is roasted locally.

Ceylon House of Coffee has on sale, of course, Ceylon tea.

For reasons unknown, Ceylon House of Coffee has been targeted by trolls and very unpleasant  fake reviews. Please ignore. Pay a visit and be pleasantly surprised.

I came way from Ceylon House of Coffee pleasantly surprised. It was a pleasure to visit. Sadly not often I feel that way, therefore always a pleasant surprise to find a coffee shop where they care about coffee. Such coffee shops do exist, but it is finding them, too many people open coffee shops, and roasteries, caring nothing about coffee and knowing even less.

We now have two excellent coffee shops in Guildford, Krema in Tunsgate and Ceylon House of Coffee at the bottom of the High Street.

Coronavirus biosecurity excellent.  Open and airy, high ceiling, table and chairs well spaced apart, hand sanitiser as walk in.


Hanki revisited

December 7, 2020

Hanki is a little a Korean restaurant in Jeffries Passage.

Whenever I pass by it is empty. Not so Saturday, not only busy, but very noisy Chinese.

Today lunchtime, empty.  I discuss with the ever helpful young Korean guy, the steamed white rice stir fry with vegetables and ease off the chilli.

My  suggestion taken up by the chef and oh what a difference. The rice changes from bland boring and not very tasty to to very tasty. The deep fried chicken now bland in comparison. Maybe a little chilli.

I also added tempura prawns. These were excellent.

But, generous portion size and too much. Sufficient for two people to share. I found myself struggling to finish.


Guildford coronavirus tier 2 day six

December 7, 2020

A grey misty day, a day for staying home.

The last time I visited Guildford on a Monday, it was very quiet, little open.

After super spreader Saturday, maybe Monday a better day to visit Guildford.

Walking to the station, cold and misty. Pain kicked in half way, but luckily did not worsen. On reaching the station it started to rain. Ten manures wait for the train.

Mist has gone when I reach Guildford, but only because the rain has washed it away.

I looked in bankrupt Debenhams, everything being sold off.

I had fancied roast dinner. The last time I looked, restaurant closed, now barricaded off.

Looked in Ceylon House of Coffee. I explain a quick look, I will pop back later after lunch for a coffee.

Lunch at Hanki, a little Korean restaurant in Jeffries Passage. I explain my thoughts, stir fry the steamed rice with vegetables.

Chef takes up my suggestion. Amazing difference, now tasty. I add tempura prawns, excellent. Too much though, enough for two people. I am struggling to finish.

I am asked what I think. Yes, far better. The deep fried chicken I had without chilli sauce. Too bland. Maybe add a tiny amount, enhance the flavour without overpowering.

Back down the High Street to Ceylon House of Coffee. Long chat with the manager and head barista.

Then back up the High Street to Krema.

Crazy, I am zig-zagging up and down the High Street.

Cappuccino in Krema.

Pop in Ben’s Records.

Look in Gail’s bakery. Far better set up than in Farnham.

Back down to Ceylon House of Coffee.

When we think of Sri Lanka, we think of tea. A century ago, Ceylon was an important country for coffee, until the coffee trees were wiped out by disease. The coffee trees were replaced by tea plantations.

There is now an attempt to revive the coffee trade.

House of Ceylon Coffee serves only Ceylon coffee, from a single farm. Also serves Ceylon tea.

The idea was to recreate a traditional Ceylon coffee house. Never having visited Sri Lanka, I do not know, but in my minds eye, House of Ceylon Coffee is what a Ceylon coffee house would look like. Apart from an espresso machine.

The walls are lines with information on the coffee plantation in Sri Lanka.

The beans are roasted in Sri Lanka, then shipped to UK.

Usually to retain added value in the exporting country is excellent, for coffee no. Coffee has to be roasted where it is brewed for many reasons.

Roaster will know the local palate and will brew with the local water. Roasted coffee beans are fragile and will pick up bad aromas when shipped. Roasted coffee needs to rest for a few days, then three weeks at its optimum. Any shipping delay will eat into the commercial viability of the coffee. In essence shipping from Sri Lanka is just in time shipping for an agricultural product. When UK leaves the EU at the end of he year, there is going to be chaos and long delays at the border.

I advised use a local roastery.  Roastery buys the green beans, coffee shop then buys the roasted beans.

We had long discussion on this and many other coffee related topics.

I visit coffee shoos, and too often I am drinking bad coffee. A glutton for punishment.

My visit to Ceylon House of Coffee was a pleasure, and not only good coffee but interesting conversation.

And the cups, very elegant cups.

We were still chatting an hour after the coffee shop had closed.

Guildford now has two coffee shops worn visiting, Krema and Ceylon House of Coffee.


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