Archive for the ‘reading’ Category

Cappuccino at CUP Reading Minster

November 26, 2018

CUP hidden behind Reading Minster is worth finding as always excellent coffee in a pleasant environment.

Today, a cold wintry afternoon in Reading was no exception, an excellent cappuccino.

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Nightmare GWR trains from Reading to Redhill and Gatwick

November 19, 2018

At every location on a visit to Reading, I stay far longer than intended. I will not make 4-30 train. Not even 6-30. I go for 1902 to find cancelled.

Then the nightmare begins, no trains, no announcements, no explanation, no apology.

Next train for Gatwick, showing twenty minutes late.

Next train an hour later, comes into wrong platform.

As by now frozen decide to catch this train, even if later, as appears to be on time, as at least I can sit on a warm train out of the cold.

During this time no announcements.

Train does not leave on time. Train does not leave, told to catch earlier train which has now arrived and is sitting at the station. It does not leave either. After a long delay, it pulls out of the station, only to stop 100m from the station, where its sits.

Arrive North Camp Station at 2115. If trains running normally, approximately 30 minutes from Reading depending upon fast or slow train.

A man got off the train at North Camp, hoping to pick up stopping train to Ash. Only problem, there were no stopping trains. Whilst on the train, passengers to Ash should have been advised to continue to Guildford, then pick yo a train back to Ash, either on Reading or Aldershot line. I advised he walked to Ash Vale, caught train to Aldershot then to Ash.

There were no announcements to advise passengers what was happening, no apology.

There should have been a bus running to Gatwick.

And this was not a one off.

In September, on at least two Fridays in a row, no Gatwick trains were running. No announcements, no advice to catch Redhill train, then change.

On the last day of October, last train from Gatwick cancelleld. No information at Gatwick on replacement bus or from where to catch.

Train indicator at North Camp has not worked since June. GWR refusing to pay the £5000 to repair.

Not only GWR.

South West Railways too.

During the morning, no trains to and from Waterloo.

A couple of weeks ago, no trains at Guildford, apparently broken down train at Clapham Junction.

Last week in the evening no trains at Alton. Broken down train at Clapham Junction.

September, train from Portsmouth Harbour cancelled.

Every Saturday, no trains due to guards on strike.

Other rail companies as bad.

Three times in September on East Coast Mainline, now run by LNER following disastrous performance by Virgin, trains delayed, connections missed.

Then there is Southern Fail and Northern Fail, appalling service during the summer, missed connections, delays of hours.

Trains with no working toilets.

We have a Third World train service with extortionate fares.

Beginning of January we will see train fares hiked double the rate of inflation, with rail companies telling us service has improved.

Rail fares must be frozen for the foreseeable future.

Rail must be taken back into pubic ownership, the gravy train of HS2 scrapped.

It will cost nothing as default at end of franchise.

Failing companies must be stripped of their franchise.

Note: There were no trains from Farnborough North for fours hours.

Note: GWR consider a delay of two hours to be acceptable.

Cappuccino at CUP

November 19, 2018

I would have had a V60 at CUP, but owner suggested I had a cappuccino as her barista had come seventh in recent UK latte art championships.

CUP is a Greek coffee shop hidden behind Reading Minster.

V60 at CUP

November 19, 2018

I would have had a V60 but owner suggested have a cappuccino, as her barista had come seventh in recent UK latte art championships.

Note: Filter has been washed, hot water poured over the coffee grounds and allowed to bloom.

CUP is a Greek coffee shop hidden behind Reading Minster.

Anonymous Coffee

November 19, 2018

I had looked in Anonymous Coffee last week, down an alley between Broad Street and Reading Minster, Chain Street en route to CUP.

Coffee sourced from Union, which sadly does not mean a lot these days as they will supply anyone.

I ordered a cappuccino.

Not very good, weak and insipid, with an unpleasant taste.

I find a large lounge on the first floor, learn food at weekends, occasional evenings, plus wine tasting sessions which have to be booked on advance.

Entire shelf of wine books. I suggest also have books on coffee. I recommend Real Fresh Coffee and The Wold Atlas of Coffee, and subscribe to or buy Standart and Drift. If wish to add excellent reading on food then also add Ambrosia and Om Nom.

Only a couple of customers.

I am told, look in again when owner is there, as the coffee will be better.

But if that be the case, owner should be there serving the coffee.

Anonymous Coffee occupies the corner of a wine shop. Quite a good idea as pulls more people in, and help shares the rent and bills.

Interesting mural on the wall.

What I did not like was the free wifi was being used to pass personal data to a third party. This is abuse of personal data and not acceptable.

Afternoon in Reading

November 19, 2018

This morning rain. Weather forecast for today did not say rain.

Check weather forecast again. Dry all day, heavy rain all day Tuesday.

Very cold in Reading, cold wind.

Chicken noodle soup in Mum Mum Vietnamese restaurant. Unlike Pho, where food is lukewarm to cold, soup is piping hot. Unlike last week, at least contains chicken. Problem is owner cutting corners, tells staff to cut the amount of chicken.

Cappuccino in Anonymous Coffee. Coffee is sourced from Union. Not very good, weak and insipid, with an unpleasant taste. Problem is Union will supply anyone.

I found a large lounge on the first floor, learn food at weekend, occasional evenings, plus wine tasting sessions which have to be booked on advance.

Entire shelf of wine books. I suggest also have books on coffee. I recommend Real Fresh Coffee and The Wold Atlas of Coffee, and subscribe to or buy Standart and Drift. If wish to add excellent reading on food then also Ambrosia and Om Nom.

Only a couple of customers.

Phone alley off Broad Street to visit one of the phone shops. Man quite helpful, as he was last week.

It is then to CUP, hidden behind Reading Minster.

Always a pleasant atmosphere.

Owner suggests I have a cappuccino, as her barista recently came seventh in the UK latte art championship. I would have had V60, as already had had a cappuccino, but only polite not to refuse, also I wished to try a cappuccino as I have been told The Roasting Party has gone downhill, and what I had two weeks ago from CUP opposite Reading Town Hall was not geet.

No, not as good as The Roasting Party used to be, though what I had from The City was better, though Coffee Lab have their own blend.

I was going to catch a train around 4-30, as getting cold and to miss the rush hour crush.

Every location, far longer than intended. I will not make 4-30. Not even 6-30. I go for 1902 to find cancelled. Then the nightmare begins, no trains no announcements, no explanation, no apology.

Next train for Gatwick, showing twenty minutes late.

Next train an hour later, comes into wrong platform.

As by now frozen decide to catch this train, even if later, as appears to be on time, as at least I can sit on a warm train out of the cold.

During this time no announcements.

Train does not leave on time. Train does not leave, told to catch earlier train. It does not leave either. After a long delay, it pulls out of the station, to stop 100 m from the station, where its sits.

Arrive North Camp Station at 2125. If trains running normally, approximately 30 minutes from Reading depending upon fast or slow train.

On leaving CUP it was raining. I did not expect rain, but then I did nit check for evening.

I go on a detour to a fish and chip show as hungry.

—- to be continued —-

V60 CUP Reading Minster

November 13, 2018

Last week I looked in CUP behind Reading Minster to inquire of their second coffee shop.

Far better atmosphere in the original CUP, than CUP opposite Reading Town Hall, which functions to serve takeaway coffee to commuters.

I order a V60. I let as I always do the barista choose. He chooses coffee from Kenya. Other barista says drink, it will be getting cool. I explain it improves as it cools, but not good when cold.

Talking to the Italian barista, an Italian who can make coffee, rare indeed, he tells me of the Greek who won the World Championships in Brazil (actually No 2 for latte art). I ask the name. Michalis Karagiannis. I say I know him, the barista at Manor House in Athens, I was with him a couple of weeks ago and he made me a cappuccino.

Cappuccino at Broad Street Bar and Kitchen

November 13, 2018

I had visited Broad Street Bar and Kitchen last week and was not impressed. A chain, one coffee shop sold on, name change, revamped and all the worst for it. But the coffee Assembly.

Broad Street Bar and Kitchen. It used to be Artigiano. Coffee is Assembly. At least someone knows about coffee.

Today two people. Downstairs dead, upstairs half a dozen people working on laptops, again dirty coffee cups on tables.

On a bar a couple of rolls wrapped in paper, at least that is what I assume to be. Not possible to see what they are.

I ask of the non-existent kitchen. Closed. I do not inquire why but last year I was told could not get the staff. Could nor get, or not prepared to pay?

My cappuccino reasonable, far better than Workhouse, but a tad too hot. A skilled barista would have made an excellent cappuccino with the coffee they are using.

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.

Workhouse Coffee Oxford Road

November 13, 2018

Workhouse Coffee has two coffee shops in Reading. I have never been impressed by Workhouse Coffee in the town centre, it is very overrated, the beans in open boxes, the coffee of poor quality.

I decided therefore to check out their other coffee shop on Oxford Road, which closes at 1-30.

Google maps tells me twenty two minutes walk from Reading Station. Maybe true if power walk. Thirty minutes walk.

Not difficult to find, head from Reading Station into Broad Street, walk to the end, then along Oxford Road.

A rough area of town, but then that is true of most of Reading.

The coffee shop grim. I have encountered better greasy spoon cafes. Art on the walls would be an improvement, especially if strip out the tacky plastic world map on the rear wall.

I ordered a cappuccino. Only one other customer.

If I was hoping for something better than the coffee shop in town, I was to be disappointed. It was not good, more or less undrinkable.

I ask of V60. The girl calls it paper filter coffee. I explain to her, V60 or pour over.

Swan neck kettle. No, she pours out of a normal kettle. Weigh water and coffee, time? No.

I learn why the coffee shop closes at 1-30. She opens at 7-30 and six hours is the maximum she is prepared to work. She runs it all on her own. It closes at 2-30 on a Saturday, she opens one hour later.

Most of the custom is takeaway, Reading West Station is a few minutes walk down the road. There are no chains nearby.

I am there as the coffee shop is closed. Does she clean the machine? No, only once a week. Same as town she tells me. Beans emptied out of the hopper? No. We do things different she tells me.

Takeaway coffee cups compostable. No. Why should we care about the environment, compostable cups cost more, she tells me.

At least she is honest.

I learn she is an artist.

I suggest she puts her art on the walls. Not her coffee shop. But at least she will think about it. It would at least be an improvement.