Archive for the ‘London’ Category

Craft Coffee

August 22, 2018

I usually give myself an hour to get across London to catch a train from King’s Cross, if lucky I can do it in half an hour. Today I gave myself an hour and a half. Why? I wished to visit the street food market and a coffee stall located somewhere behind the station.

I was looking for Noble Espresso. All I could find was a wooden counter with Craft Coffee written across it. Was this declaring what they served or the name of the stall?

Craft Coffee is the name of the stall. Nobel Espresso has sold up, moved on, and Craft Coffee had taken over their pitch.

Was their coffee as good? They hoped so.

I was served an espresso. It was excellent. A single origin coffee from Brazil roasted by Notes.

I asked why was their stall tucked behind the station not as would logically expect with the street food market. No gas or electricity which they need to power their stall.

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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?

Happy Cat Coffee House

April 7, 2018

As I was leaving the Lincoln Vegan Festival in Lincoln Drill Hall, I noticed a coffee stall. At first I assumed it was a roasterie, as prominently displayed a bag of coffee.  Though there was also on display a bag of chocolate. A roasterie would have made sense. But no, it was a pop up coffee shop, Happy Cat Coffee House.

Did I want a coffee?

No, I do not like fake milk. It always tastes disgusting.

I had a cappuccino. It looked disgusting and was not good.

Large bubbles, at least a millimetre across.

Why was it so bad?

A combination of three things: lack of skill of barista (it was served scalding hot), fake milk, and maybe poor quality coffee (though taste so masked by fake milk impossible to tell).

It is not possible to make a decent cappuccino with fake milk. Apart from tasting disgusting, it looks disgusting. And what of the environmental damage caused by soy plantations, one of the main causes of destruction of rain forests?

The coffee was from Frank and Ernest Coffee. When a company peddles a gimmick such a nitro cold brew coffee, it says all you need to know.

I was given a sample of the beans.

Happy Cat Coffee House had driven all the way from Hackney for a pop up coffee shop selling cappuccino at £3 for a takeaway in a town that has three coffee shops, Coffee Aroma, Madame Waffle and Makushi, only a few minutes walk away serving excellent coffee.

Questionable why a vegan festival which one would hope exacts high environmental standards has a coffee stall encouraging the use of disposable coffee cups, when what we should be doing is encouraging sit down and relax in an indie coffee shop serving coffee in ceramic or glass.

I left, pouring my coffee down the drain.

It was then to Makushi aka Base Camp on Steep Hill where I was guaranteed a decent cup of coffee served in ceramic not a takeaway cup.

 

 

 

 

Day in London

July 18, 2017

A hot day, not even a coolish start.

As thunderstorm expected later, half an hour in the garden, long grass cut, grass seed sown.

Too hot for London, a day for sitting in the shade of a  tree in my garden.

But then, crossing Hungerford Bridge, with stunning view down river, I thought no different to being in a city in Europe, indeed surrounded by foreigners I could be in Europe.

On arrival, a detour to Love & Scandal.  A mistake, as the falafel was not good, but the fresh orange juice was excellent.

I  learnt from a helpful Australian  woman who preferred to sit in the coffee shop than her office, that there was another coffee shop, Coleman Coffee Roasters, further down Lower Marsh, roasted their own coffee, but closed at three.

I did check. And yes, closed at three. I asked why. They said they liked their afternoons.

I also learnt, street food market every day, not as I thought Thursdays and Fridays and that it too closes at three.

On my way to Love & Scandal I passed by a bookshop. The guy remembered me and said we have a coffee book in. It was outside on a table. I looked. Of no interest. A book of recipes using coffee.

In Lower Marsh an upmarket green grocer, spread over three floors.  They serve coffee, but not Grumpy Mule which was on sale. The owner said that from Coleman Coffee Roasters was better. No coffee, not sure why. On sale teapigs which is rubbish Tetley tea,

I cut through Waterloo Station. Quicker than walking around.

Free cans of Lucozade, free Clipper tea. Three cans of Lucozade, two boxes of Clipper tea.

I had intended to have a coffee off the kiosk at the foot of the steps for Hungerford Bridge but far too hot. The fresh lemonade was too tempting. It was excellent, though I wish would not fill glass with ice.

I sat and chatted with two girls from Latin America, one from Argentina, the other Venezuela. Conversation switched back and forth between English and Spanish.

Across Hungerford Bridge, through Embankment Gardens,  across The Strand, Covent Garden, then cut through China Town into Soho.

A Chinese lady invited me into her parlour for a massage. Sorry no time.

I was after Frith Street, which took me some time to find, in the end I had to ask.

What I was seeking, once Frift Street was found, was Bar Italia, claimed to be the oldest coffee shop in London.

Bar Italia, well worth the search. Excellent cappuccino. But, wonderful atmosphere ruined by widescreen TV.

Then to Coffee Island in Covent Garden.

I was after Standart issue 8. Third time lucky, they had in stock.

Not really time for a coffee, but I decided to try Japanese iced coffee using V60.

Then dash to Charing Cross Station, train to Lewisham, DLR to Depford Bridge, then find Taylor St Roasted for cupping session.

Interesting view from the train of route I usually walk. Front carriage of train from Charing Cross fairly empty. Packed when it pulled away from London Bridge. When I alighted at Lewisham, I saw the carriages behind packed in like sardines.

This was the only reason I was in London on one of the hottest days of the year, and had treked out to Depford, a cupping session at Taylor St Roasted.

Well worth the visit.

Back the same way to Waterloo East. Something to eat in Lower Marsh. Missed train.

As I was leaving Taylor St Roasted, the thunderstorm had arrived, drops of rain as I walked to Depford Bridge Station.

Leaving Waterloo Station to Lower Marsh, it had rained, now big drops of rain.

Whilst eating, it rained, luckily stopped as I left, wet streets already drying, but flashes of lightning in the sky, no thunder. .

From the train, very dark. I made the mistake of not looking out for the storm.

I tried one of the cans of Lucozade. It tasted nothing like Lucozade. Maybe it is now nothing more than an empty hollow worthless  brand. It was disgusting. Even more disgusting than San Pellegrino, which is also disgusting. How can people drink these disgusting fizzy sugary drinks, especially when can pop in somewhere like M&S or Waitrose and find small bottles of very interesting fruit juices?

Alighting from the train, it had been raining, started raining again. Luckily a bus, and when I alighted from the bus rain had stopped.

During the early hours of the morning, thunderstorm continued, lightning, very heavy rain, but no thunder.

  • PHOTOS Day in London

Boulangerie Bon Matin

July 4, 2017

A coffee shop  cum fancy cake shop in Finsbury Park.

What does it say of nitro cold brew coffee when have to add syrup?

What does it say when it needs a whole page ad in Caffeine to promote the ghastly stuff?

Matter of personal taste, come and visit us.

A trek on an awful jammed-in-like sardines Tube journey from Covent Garden, when I could have relaxed in Monmouth Coffee where guaranteed a decent coffee.

A pleasant job done on the interior, but sadly not coffee to match.

Stripped back bare  brick walls out the back, at a  guess a covered in yard. In many ways though a pity as no outside seating out the back.

Interesting art by David Bage on the walls, though only interesting because copies of original works, and it is difficult to see how an unknown artist can justify prices in excess of £200 for copies of originals.  A bit like being stopped in Puerto de la Cruz by illegal immigrants and being asked for twenty euros for a  fake Rolex (which they insist is the real thing).

A cappuccino ordered. Cappuccino with coffee dumped on top, immediately sent back.

What then came not a lot better.

No cookies. I ordered a chocolate brownie. It was not good. I asked was it vegan, as that often explains why not good. No.

Food looked decorative, though nothing to say what it was, or the price.

I asked to see the coffee they used.

Italian coffee, catering supply.

When are coffee shops going to learn? If you want to serve good coffee, source quality beans, employ a skilled barista. There is no excuse for importing rubbish coffee from Italy, when there are excellent coffee roasters in London.

Try The Deli at 60, far better coffee and cakes.

 

Coffee kiosk Hungerford Bridge

June 29, 2017

On the South Bank, at the foot of Hungerford Bridge, is a little coffee kiosk.

I asked where were the beans from, he told me the country of origin.

Who are the suppliers, the roastery?

The Roasting Party.

The reply immediately told me, they must know what they are doing if sourcing from The Roasting Party,  as used by Coffee Lab and The Dispensary Kitchen.  They must serve good coffee

I ordered a cappuccino and  was not disappointed.  Excellent cappuccino.

The little kiosk is called Beany Green, part of a little chain called Daisy Green.

If not Friday, Saturday or Sunday (or Monday if a Bank Holiday), when I would head for Ethiopian Coffee Roasters on the South Bank Street Food Market, this would be where I would head for a coffee.

Then walk across Hungerford Bridge for one of the best views in London looking down river.  Then cut through Embankment Gardens and up into Covent Garden, if that was where I was heading.

Excellent coffee.

— to be continued —

Bravery of Tower Bridge police officer

June 28, 2017

Armed only with his baton police officer Wayne Marques faced down three Islamist terrorists. 

A very moving account by an unarmed police officer Wayne Marques who during the terrorist attack on Tower Bridge and Borough Market put his own life on the line and as a result saved the lives of many.

Today scum Tories denied a pay rise to police officers but could find £1 billion to buy the votes of DUP to enable Theresa May to cling on to office.

Love & Scandal

June 22, 2017

A detour to Lower Marsh to investigate a street food market I happened upon Love & Scandal.

 

Would I like to try a coffee?

Yes, but sorry no time, I am on my way to a coffee festival, Union Summer Carnival at Union Hand-Roasted Coffee, somewhere in Docklands, one of the top coffee roasters in the country.

Maybe later, If I have time.

On leaving Union Hand-Roasted Coffee, I decided I would return.

Too hot to sit outside, we sat outside discussing Cyprus, Turkey, the divided island and the Middle East. It turned out my host was a Turkish-Cypriot. Interesting to hear from the other side.

Eventually I got around to ordering falafel wrap, hummus and salad. Followed by a cappuccino.

The coffee used, a blend form Alchemy, Opus Espresso v 12.  Like Pioneer from Horsham Coffee Roasters, the blend is seasonally adjusted to attempt to retain a similar flavour profile, cocoa, hazelnut, orange.

I had not heard of Alchemy, but speaking to a  Greek barista at Union Summer Carnival, he said it was a highly regarded coffee roaster.

Only for the last couple of weeks, Love & Alchemy has been opening in the evening as a bistro.

Sadly I was the only one there.

On leaving sometime after ten o’clock, I was surprised to find a man with a van from Grimsby selling fresh fish.

 

 

House of Cards portent of things to come

June 18, 2017

House of Cards 1993.

Grenfell Tower 2017.

Grenfell Tower fire

June 16, 2017

Grenfell Action Group

Watching breaking news about the Grenfell Tower fire catastrophe. Too soon (5am) to even guess at numbers of casualties and fatalities. Our heartfelt and sincere condolences to all who have perished, to the injured, to those who are bereaved or are still searching for missing loved ones.

Regular readers of this blog will know that we have posted numerous warnings in recent years about the very poor fire safety standards at Grenfell Tower and elsewhere in RBKC.

ALL OUR WARNINGS FELL ON DEAF EARS and we predicted that a catastrophe like this was inevitable and just a matter of time. Below is a list of links to previous blogs we posted on this site trying to warn the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, who own this property, and the Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation who supposedly manage all social housing in RBKC on the Council’s behalf:

https://grenfellactiongroup.wordpress.com/2013/01/28/fire-safety-scandal-at-lancaster-west/

https://grenfellactiongroup.wordpress.com/2016/11/20/kctmo-playing-with-fire/

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