Archive for the ‘lunch’ Category

Appalling meal at Pho Guildford

November 16, 2018

Pho is a fake Vietnamese street food restaurant in Tunsgate.

I went twice when Pho Guildford first opened in the summer when half price, then returned a few weeks later.

Each time, the food had deteriorated from previous visit, never saw the same staff twice, poor service their trademark.

Today I met up with a friend. As Bamboo Shoots closed, we went to Pho.

Pho was packed, very noisy, not pleasant, but luckily we got a table by the window. On previous visits, apart from the day it opened, empty.

Loud music, lots of noise, does not make for a pleasant environment to relax and eat, but Pho clueless and do not understand this or care.

Menu came promptly, not the food we ordered. A long wait, a very long wait, easily half an hour or more. Most of the people had left before our food came. A man sitting next to us was served promptly, even though he arrived some time after us.

When the food finally came it was cold. It was fairly obvious, cooked, left, before delivered to the table. The bowls were stone cold.

Prawns on a bed of bean shoots and noodles. Some of the prawns lukewarm, others cold as though out of a fridge. Bean shoots warm. Noodles cold as though out of a fridge.

Disgusting that food can be served like this.

We requested something else.

Only I ate as it was getting late. It was not good either.

Char-grilled pork, only it bore no resemblance to what have had before either in Pho Guildford or Pho Reading last week. Previously thin slices of pork, these were chunks of pork. Previously crunchy white rice slightly aromatic. This was neither and had had something unpleasant poured over half the rice.

I left half eaten.

When we complained, a tall black guy came to the table. Whether manager or serving staff he did not say.

He apologised and offered something else and said we did not have to pay. I would not have paid anyway.

He then asked did we live in Guildford and said he would bring us something.

When he returned we assumed it was to give us a voucher to eat again another day.

No, it was a book of special offers, available in every participating venue.

Could we use to to pay the bill? No. Only for their Christmas dinner.

When something is this bad, and it was bad. The meal should have been free with an invite to return at their expense.

But Pho is a chain, they do not care, poor service is their trademark.

Although in Tunsgate, Pho is part of Tunsgate Quarter, the latest Guildford White Elephant. A sterile artificial shopping centre, boarded-up units, crap chains like Cosy Club a fake 1930s bar, so fake a parody of fake and devoid of people. The only use of Tunsgate Quarter to provide a useful short cut when raining.

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Afternoon in Guildford

November 16, 2018

A damp wet drizzly day in Guildford, though mild.

FCB kiosk on Guildford Station always has a guest coffee. I have often asked, why not have the beans on sale?

A first, Beanpress coffee the beans on sale in tins.

Last week I inquired the price. £18. This could not be right, I inquired of Beanpress, they would not say. Their website not working. I suggested put price of beans and description in a pdf file which can be downloaded or sent out on request.

I was told to e-mail. This I did last week. I finally got a reply this evening. Prices of beans, not the beans I inquired of.

Today I learnt £7-50. Reasonable. Unlike Coffee Lab not ripping customers off on the sale of guest beans. What not acceptable, old beans, roasted August 2018.

Bamboo Shoots closed today. I looked in Debenhams.

Debenhams used to have their own coffee shop. Then became Costa. I was shocked to find it has expanded on the ground floor, and busy, Debenhams customer obviously no taste in coffee.

Debenhams used to have excellent roast dinners, excellent roast pork. Today turkey, always turkey.

Looked in Food for Thought, sometimes freebies, not today. Ever changing coffee, Eat Your Hat, never heard of, no roast date, and looking at their website, marketing hype for the gullible.

I met up with a friend, Bamboo Shoots closed, we went to Pho.

Passing by Surrey Hills Coffee, not a single customer. The norm these days. No surprise when poor quality coffee. How long before they close?

Caracoli is closing or has closed.

I am surprised Canopy Coffee still in business.

Pho was packed, very noisy, not pleasant, but luckily we got a table by the window. On previous visits, apart from the day it opened, empty.

Menu came promptly, not the food we ordered. A long wait, a very long wait, easily half an hour or more. When the food finally came it was cold. It was fairly obvious, cooked, left, before delivered to the table. The bowls were stone cold. We requested something else. Only I ate as it was getting late. It was not good either.

Krema packed. I returned a little later still busy, but not packed. A cappuccino, then a V60 pour over.

Mum Mum Vietnamese restaurant

November 13, 2018

I revisit the Vietnamese restaurant Mum Mum where last week they offered me two cold spring rolls. I order pho, Vietnamese noodle soup. Again from the fridge which they hot up.

Calling it chicken, is probably stretching trade description to the limit, yes theew are a few fragments of chicken. Pot is compostable, the fork wood, but the spoon plastic. Given a cup of water, not compostable.

Why not serve in a bowl? Why not bowls of rice?

In terms of value for money, Pho is better, loathe as I am to recommend a chain where service is terrible.

Pho Reading

November 5, 2018

Trademark of Pho is appalling service.

Approaching three, now hungry. I decide with reluctance on Pho. If for no other reason than to compare with Guildford.

I had earlier popped in a Vietnamese restaurant and ordered spring rolls. I was appalled when served cold from a fridge. I asked for my money back, which they gave me.

Trademark of Pho is appalling service. Pho Reading even worse than Guildford.

On entry I am invited to sit by the door. I say no the place is empty and walk further in.

The table dirty, either has not been cleaned or not been cleaned properly.

Long wait to be brought a menu, then wait again as food is freshly prepared. Bowl is cold, rice lukewarm. I suspect cooked then left standing, as rice is warmer in the middle.

I am brought the wrong bill. When I pay correct bill short changed.

This is the problem with chains, low paid casual staff who do not care.

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.

Afternoon in Guildford

June 22, 2018

Strange weather, starts cool, turns hot.

As I walk up North Street by the market, arrogant idiot parks in No Parking to do his shopping on the market. When it is pointed out No Parking, he ask where am I to park when shopping? Maybe car park as everyone else.

Lunch at Bamboo Shoots, honey crunch chicken with brown rice, then back to market, but too late, strawberries gone. From another stall, two boxes of strawberries, two pineapples, £3-00.

Work on Tunsgate progressing backwards, now digging up that previously laid.

In Krema, excellent cold brew coffee. I resist the temptation to have another.

I give one box of strawberries, one pineapple, to Krema.

Walking down to The Keep, I see the work on Tunsgate is extending half way down the road.

In The Keep, Hidden Curiosities Gin have set up a gin pop up shop and free tasting.

I am no fan of gin, cannot stand the smell let alone the taste, but was curious, this was craft gin.

For some perverse reason, gin has become the in drink.

Did I wish to try?

The aroma was quite pleasant, not at all like that normally associated with gin. To drink, like drinking firewater, lacking the maturity of a good brandy. I could see why it is usually drunk diluted. It also has potential for cocktails with cold brew coffee.

Lunch at Italian coffee shop Bottega dei Sapori

June 16, 2018

Late lunch at Italian coffee shop Bottega dei Sapori where once I used to eat regularly.

The food was good, the service terrible.

A long wait, I went to the cake counter and ordered.

Soup and main course delivered together. Main course I sent back, with orders not to bring back but to cook fresh. No butter for the bread.

Baffled why each serviette stuck down.

Tea is tea pigs, another small business taken in by marketing.

Coffee has changed, now supplied by Winchester Coffee Roasters. I have had twice elsewhere, not good.

I ordered a cappuccino. Then went and told them not to dump chocolate on top, as I would only have sent it back. They would have otherwise served with chocolate and not asked.

Served too hot, not good. But then from previous experience with Winchester Coffee Roasters, I was not expecting anything better.

Bottega dei Sapori need to improve their tea, their coffee and their service.

The world has moved on, will no longer get away with poor quality tea and coffee, poor service.

Visit Winchester, see what indie coffee shops Coffee Lab and Flat Whites are serving as tea and coffee, look at their delicious mouth-watering cakes.

These little indie businesses need to get their act together, otherwise they will not exist. The day before, I had a Vietnamese dish in Pho in Guildford and it was excellent.

Afternoon in Winchester

June 13, 2018

Miss train to Alton by twenty minutes due to usual piss-poor service by Stagecoach.

At Alton run to Alton Station Cafe to inquire of tonight, bikers night, lamb casserole.

Bus to Winchester large crack in the windscreen. Why is it still in service, especially as reported this morning by another driver?

Shocked to find the excellent greengrocer in Alton has closed. Maybe they have relocated. Let us hope so.

Walk down Magdalen Hill into Winchester.

Looking forward to pasta of Sicilian stall, shocked, annoyed, angry and upset to find no pasta, only rubbish. I try, looks like a pasty but is not, the pastry like a doughnut, yuk, inside disgusting cheap ham, tomato sauce not even tomatoes and mozzarella cheese. It was as bad as it sounds.

What is wrong with these people? They start with good food, then cut corners and and serve rubbish.

On the Flat Whites stall, guest coffee. They say go to their coffee shop and try.

The coffee shop opened end of last year, hidden in a courtyard.  I notice a good selection of guest coffees, also coffee soap, made with coffee grounds (a novel use of coffee grounds).

The coffee I was recommended, no V60, but have Chemex. I notice cold brew.

The cold brew excellent, a little cloudy as not filtered. I was surprised they brew for 24 hours.

I suggest serve in a  glass carafe with a smaller glass.

They subscribe to Caffeine. I recommend do not waste your money, subscribe instead to Standart and get a free sample coffee with each issue.

It is then to Coffee Lab Academy. I am surprised to find closed at five o’clock, chairs piled on tables.

Where is Laura?

The Square.

They have opened a third coffee shop, each one street apart.

I find a long queue outside for a pizza shop opposite. Free pizza.

The Square is a lot different to the other two coffee shops, which are each different. Much larger, seating outside and out the back, seating upstairs, and packed.

I order a cappuccino. It tastes different. I query Laura. Same coffee, they have changed the grinders, and it has made all the difference to the coffee, plus they are monitoring and adjusting the grinders during the day.

Do I queue for a free pizza? No, I am tired, I will catch the bus and join the bikers at Alton Station Cafe.  I arrive and find no lamb casserole.

Burr Coffee

April 20, 2018

Alighting at York Station the final stop, wandering through  the streets, over a bridge over the River Ouse and into the city centre.

Passed a couple of coffee shops, one of which was Brew and Brownie, but too hot to sit inside.  Ended at York Minster, back tracked to Lendal and found Burr Coffee.

Excellent brunch at Burr Coffee, the same cannot be said of the coffee. The cakes looked tempting, but I did not try.

Looking at the menu outside, brunch field mushrooms and halloumi cheese with pine nuts on toasted sourdough bread. Generous portion size and excellent.

North Star Coffee on sale, espresso blend and single origin, though no single origin served, no pour over.

I have had North Star before at Canopy Coffee, not good, therefore was curious.

Cappuccino ordered. It was terrible, chocolate dumped on top, scalding hot, undrinkable.

I kept taking a tentative sip whilst eating my lunch, but my opinion did not change, it was terrible coffee.

I had been tempted to buy a bag of North Star coffee was not sure which, though my decision had been made for me, as apart from The Docks an espresso blend, the single origin which I would have preferred, was all too old.  Having experienced an awful coffee, I decided not.

Further down the street, Spring Espresso Lendal serving Square Mile Coffee.  What a difference a few steps can make.

Sometimes I wonder, is my sense of taste awry. I then have a decent cup of coffee, and realise no, I have been served bad coffee.

Burr Coffee has on sale The North and North Wales Independent Coffee Guide in which they are listed.  The listing opens up a whole can of worms. If not serving quality coffee, why are they listed? How independent is this guide, what credibility, when coffee shops are paying £500 to be listed?

Burr Coffee, excellent for lunch, not somewhere for coffee.  A cafe serving coffee, not a coffee shop serving food.

 

Afternoon in Nottingham

April 17, 2018

An hour later than I would have wished in Nottingham thanks to appalling bus service, now three weeks running late, missed my train, had to wait an hour for the next train.

On my last visit I only just made the train, but today no.

Lunch at 200 Degrees Nottingham Station overlooking Nottingham Canal.

I skipped coffee. I do not find their house blend great.  I wished to try their guest blend, which I have yet to try, though at their other coffee shop.

I headed off in roughly the right direction.  At Market Square headed off down Friar Lane, which is is not as a the name suggests a pleasant lane, though maybe once was, about to turn around, I found The Speciality Coffee Shop,  where I was greeted by Michelangelo, head barista and co-owner.

Time pressing, I headed back to Market Square to find Ideas on Paper, to pick up a copy of Coffee Shop North and inquire back copies of Standart.

He was popping out, pop back in a few minutes.

I inquired of coffee shops. I was given the same advice as the previous week, exit out of Cobden Chambers, turn left and head off down the street.

This I did, sticking my head in Wired to say hi.

I found nothing, turned on my heals and headed back.

It was then I spotted Outback Coffee.

Back to Ideas on Paper, picked up the only copy Coffee Shop North. No did not have Standart. Experiencing the same problems as everyone else, distribution issues.

Minutes to spare, a cake from 200 Degrees Nottingham Station and hopped on the overcrowded train as it was about to pull out.