Archive for the ‘reading’ Category

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 there 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.

Afternoon in Reading

November 13, 2018

A pleasant sunny afternoon in Reading.

I was half an hour earlier than last week.

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 Workhouse Coffee 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.

I half walk back to the town centre then hop on a bus.

I wander down an alley. It could be called mobile phone alley, nearly every shop a mobile phone shop.

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 they 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.

It is then to 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 exellent cappuccino with the coffee they are using.

It is then to CUP behind Reading Minster.

Walking down an alley, I pop in Anonymous Coffee Co which I had passed last week. I thought maybe a chain but no. A wine shop and coffee shop. To be strictly correct, two separate businesses in the same premises.

Coffee roasted by Union. Good coffee, but Union will supply anyone.

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.

I had wished to catch a train around 4-30, to miss the rush hour and before it turns cold and dark. I am an hour later than last week, catch a train at 1804. As last week the train is packed. They need four coach trains on the Reading-Guildford-Gatwick route.

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.

Broad Street Bar and Kitchen

November 5, 2018

On my last visit, Artigiano, now Broad Street Bar and Kitchen. I suspected this would happen, Vulture Capitalists create a chain with lots of hype then sell.

Internal changes, not for the better, a large widescreen TV on the wall at the back. Coffee now served Assembly, last year was Origin.

It screams corporate, I only saw one member of staff bouncing between the two bars, dirty coffee cups piled on tables everywhere.

I do not know where Kitchen comes from, as last year no freshly prepared food.

Last year, the excuse was, cannot get the staff. Cannot get or do not pay?

I did not stay, or return.

If the intention has been to attempt to replicate the specialty coffee shops and bars on Athens, then a dismal failure.

Cappuccino at Tamp kiosk

November 5, 2018

In front of Reading Minster, Tamp kiosk. I was not going to have a coffee, as last time it was not good and I poured down the drain. As I am chatting to them, I think only polite to have a coffee.

My cappuccino is little better than last visit, weak and insipid. I half drink then pour down the drain.

Coffee was roasted in Staffordshire, now roasted in Wales.

Afternoon in Reading

November 5, 2018

A pleasantly mild afternoon.

Workhouse has two coffee shops in Reading. I look in one, but do not visit the other.

I do not gave a coffee, as have tried before and found to be overrated. Too many beans to have quality, left in open boxes to oxidise, no aroma.

I head to CUP. They now have a second coffee shop.

CUP is hidden behind Reading Minster which is approached via an alley off Broad Street.

In front of Reading Minster, Tamp kiosk. I was not going to have a coffee, as last time it was not good and I poured down the drain. As I am chatting to them, I think only polite to have a coffee.

My cappuccino is little better than last visit, weak and insipid. I half drink then pour down the drain.

I look in CUP, ask where their other coffee shop is.

I walk through a ghastly shopping centre and find my way back in Broad Street at the far end.

On my last visit, Artigiano, now Broad Street Bar and Kitchen. I suspected this would happen, Vulture Capitalists create a chain then sell.

Internal changes, not for the better, a large widescreen TV on the wall at the back. Coffee now served Assembly, last year was Origin.

It screams corporate, I only see one member of staff dirty coffee cups piled on tables everywhere.

I do not stay, or return.

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.

I then look for second CUP. I was given complicated directions. Had I been told outside Reading Town Hall it would have been easy to find.

I visited CUP, the original CUP behind Reading Minster a couple of times last years and found very friendly and welcoming, This one cold and sterile, a cafe where order and leave. The guy serving unfriendly to the point of being rude. My cappuccino not good, I leave half drunk.

This is what happens when open a second coffee shop, standards fall,

The two coffee shops need different names to avoid confusion, CUP Reading Minster, CUP Reading Town Hall.

No Caffeine in either.

Only a few minutes walk to Reading Station to catch my train.


%d bloggers like this: