Archive for the ‘Winchester’ Category

Afternoon in Winchester

July 12, 2017

Coolish in the morning then turned warm.

Alighted from the bus and walked down Magdalene Hill into Winchester.

A Chinese girl on the bus with luggage. I assumed she had like me, alighted from the London train. I found her waiting at a bus stop. I asked where she was going. I was surprised when she said Heathrow to catch a flight to China.

I asked where she had come from, when she was on the bus. She said she lived in Alton. I explained she was going a very long way around. She should have from Alton Station, caught the train to Woking, then bus to Heathrow. Maybe she will do this when she returns.

Pasta off Bedda was not good. Two Sicilian guys have been there since beginning of May. Their pasta usually excellent, tagliatelle with creamy mushroom sauce excellent. Today tomato sauce, like spaghetti Bolognese minus the meatballs. Not good

Why do people do this? Start off excellent, then rapidly deteriorate.

I eat my not-so-good pasta in the Cathedral Grounds and pick up a new found friend, a dog joins me.

Flat Whites packed up early. No. I had not even said what I wanted. I do not want a coffee, a cake. The answer was again no. I asked why were they leaving early. An ignorant man, who I have never seen before, argued, said they always leave at this time, and he should know because it was his van. And no, they do not usually leave early

Odd, it belongs to lady who usually runs the van, and when not there, helpful young lads. Has she sold the business since opening a coffee shop in Southampton? Or if staff, not doing her reputation any good at all.

Too late for a cappuccino at Coffee Lab machine shut down. A chat with Dhan. Which then made me too late for a coffee in Coffee Lab Academy.

A cappuccino at The Dispensary Kitchen, which unfortunately spoilt by the addition of chocolate. Nothing wrong with it, but when using a quality blend from The Roasting party, not getting the best out of it.

A walk along the river and around the back streets and through the Cathedral Grounds.

Luckily on arrival I had noticed the bus station being demolished, as had to catch the bus in the street.

Ice cream van in the car park at Alton Station, blocking access through the car park, engine left illegally running belching out toxic fumes.

Popped in Waitrose. Compared with Sainsbury’s or Asda, only about half the coffee on sale rubbish brand coffee, the other half at least an attempt at quality coffee. Only that from Union Hand-Roasted Coffee appeared to have a roast date, and then only just inside the optimum as roasted a month ago. Makes the point that the furore about Sainsbury’s pulling out of the FairTrade scam is meaningless.

One of the counter arguments against Sainsbury’s ditching FairTrade, is can buy FairTrade in Waitrose. I did not notice any of the coffee to be FairTrade.

Union is direct trade. Union pay farmers a better price than FairTrade, they want quality coffee not commodity coffee.

If you want quality coffee, why buy from a supermarket? Buy from indie coffee shops or coffee roasters where not only will get fresh quality coffee, but the farmers are getting a higher price for producing quality, not FairTrade commodity coffee.

For example in Winchester can buy coffee from Coffee Lab or Coffee Lab Academy, which is their specified blend from The Roasting Party.

Excellent chilli con carne at The Station Cafe. Apart from too spicy. But far better than the disgusting meal when I last passed through.

I would have sat outside as a pleasant evening. But not possible because of the pollution from the ice cream van.

I do not know who owns the car park, but South West Trains or Alton Town Council need to deal with this problem.

Afternoon in Winchester

June 14, 2017

A hot day. First hot day since May.

Alighted before bus station and walked down the hill into Winchester.

Pleased to find the Sicilian guys had pasta. At first I thought not as they were not there.

I looked in The Dispensery Kitchen, but no time for a coffee. Maybe later.

From Academy Lab an affagato. I had to explain how, but at least this time they had ice cream, Jude’s ice cream which is excellent ice cream.

Comments from several people, a coffee culture in Winchester,  Coffee Lab, Coffee Lab Academy, Flat Whites, The Dispensary Kitchen.

Just had time to walk alongside the River Itchen, a little way into the countryside, then around the back streets, through the Cathedral grounds, back into the High Street and to the bus station.

Very disappointed with the food bikers night at Alton Station Cafe. Doubly disappointed. I had hoped for moussaka. Not only no moussaka, not even there wonderful freshly prepared food. Scampi and chips or fish and chips, which can get anywhere.

A very warm evening.

Next time, I will try and set off much earlier, then maybe stop off at Arsleford, maybe even get a steam train to Arelsford. Or maybe get off bus and have a wander over St Catherine’s Hill.

The Dispensary Kitchen

June 3, 2017

Although I was earlier than usual in Winchester, I was too late to have a coffee at Coffee Lab due to time spent at the street food market.

This though proved to be a mixed blessing, as I found The Dispensary Kitchen.

Earlier I had been recommended to try by the bank manger in Santander. Coffee Lab also recommended I try.

Banks managers used to flog dodgy financial products, for which a few years down the line the bank would be hit with multi-million pound fines. Now they play safe and recommend coffee shops.

A Victorian building, which has been sympathetically restored, stark modern furniture which provides a pleasant contrast.

A long chat with the owner, who also made me a cappuccino.

He actually apologised, was not the barista, but no reason to apologise, it was an excellent coffee.

Beans a blend, Elixir 22, sourced from The Roasting Party, the same roastery that supplies Einstein and Heisenberg blends to Coffee Lab.

Named 22, as use 22 grams of coffee, the norm is 18.

A light roast, though not as light as the single origin roasts by Makusihi, which I am starting to think may be too light.

A fresh bag was opened for me. Not much of a aroma.

I kept the bag for reference. Journey home, wonderful aroma of the coffee wafting by.

Currently 1 kg bags. They may have smaller for retail sale.

Later in the evening The Dispensary Kitchen  turns into a restaurant.

A good idea, as makes better use of resources.

I have never understood the coffee shops in Guildford that close at five o’clock, turning away customers.

It is always a pleasure to visit a new coffee shop and be served excellent coffee.

Very new, had only opened the week before.

Winchester needs more quality businesses like this that take a pride in the quality of service and what they serve. Local businesses that recycle money within the local economy, not chains that serve rubbish and drain the local economy.

Winchester is starting to develop its own coffee culture: Flat Whites, Coffee Lab, Coffee Lab Academy, and now The Dispensary Kitchen. It was only a year ago that Coffee Lab opened.

Afternoon in Winchester

June 3, 2017

A coolish start to the day, sun came out and turned quite warm in the afternoon.

Earlier than usual in Winchester, alighted from the bus and walked down the hill into Winchester.

Wednesday is street food market day in Winchester.

I thought I would not be eating off the falafel stall, I would try the pasta stall Bedda.  But no falafel stall. No pasta either. I was earlier, but not early enough.  All that was left was spaghetti. I am no great fan of spaghetti. It was spaghetti or nothing.

Although I was early, by the time I got to Coffee Lab and Coffee Lab Academy, too late for a coffee.  I had hoped to try their affogato.

I tried a new coffee shop, The Dispensary Kitchen. Strange thing was, I was recommended by bank manager in Santander and by Coffee lab.

A long chat with the owner of The Dispensary Kitchen.

Excellent cappuccino, made for me by the owner. He apologised, said he was not a barista, and would have been even better if brewed by his barista.

Coffee a blend, Elixir 22, from The Roasting Party,  who also supply Coffee Lab.  Named 22 because they use 22 grams of coffee, not 18 as is common.

I learnt something very interesting. One sees on sale in a coffee shop ‘home made cakes’, it is from a company of that name.

Something I had noticed on the market, a stall selling identical cakes to a stall in Guildford.  I queried this, to be told they buy from the same supplier. Everyone in Guildford has been led to believe the stall is selling their own cakes.

No time to walk along the river or the back streets.

Alighted early from the bus and walked through Alton.

Sorry to be able to confirm, O’Connor’s Secret Garden has indeed closed. The place gutted, nothing left.

I inquired opposite. Apart from being able to tell me had closed about six weeks ago, they knew nothing more.

Wednesday night bikers night at the Staion Cafe. I arrived in time to see the last portion of the night’s special being scooped onto a plate.

Cappuccino in Coffee Lab

May 3, 2017

Coffee Lab, if nothing else, I was glad of the warmth.

Did I wish to sit outside?

Normally yes, but not today, far too cold.

Can I please close the door?

Now a choice of two different blends, Einstein or Heisenberg.

I chose Einstein as I was familiar with it.

Excellent walnut cake, made by a local lady.

I sat in my second favourite place, by the window.

Lovely paper flowers.

Written on the mirror, courses they are running at Coffee Lab Academy in May.

I then popped around the corner to Coffee Lab Academy, for them to weigh me out a bag of Einstein beans.

As I was about to leave, in walked Dhan,

A  quick hi, sorry got to run, a bus to catch.

I just had time to suggest he checked out Standart, maybe stock it.

Bedda

May 3, 2017

Today, Wednesday, is street food market in Winchester.

Each visit, the market gets smaller. Though loss of many of the stalls is no loss.

Bedda is Sicilian for good.

Bedda is a Sicilian stall on the Winchester street food market.  Two Sicilian guys doing pasta. Today was their first day.

I tried their tagliatelle or was it tagliolini. Lovely creamy sauce, with added sliced oyster mushrooms (at least I think they were oyster mushrooms).

It was excellent, in fact worth a trip to Winchester for.

The only time I have had as good, was from El Maná in Puerto de la Cruz, and from an Italian chef in Bassano del Grappa, president of north Italy food association.

We had a long conversation. I was suggesting where they could have a stall.

Maybe Guildford farmers market first Tuesday of the month. I do not know if they would meet the criteria, though their food is clearly made locally and there is a stall with paella.

An absolute must for them would be Godalming Food Festival  and Staycation Live.

They should also check various events in Gostrey Meadow in Farnham, especially the Farnham Carnival.

 

Afternoon in Winchester

May 3, 2017

Mayday was wintry, winter had returned, yesterday was a pleasant warm day, today worse then Mayday.

Why was I travelling down to Winchester on such a cold, unpleasant day? On the way down rain.

Passing through Alton, I was shocked and saddened to see O’Connor’s Secret Garden had closed. This was an excellent restaurant.

On the way down, cowslips on the grass verges and on roundabouts.

The road leading down to Winchester, a meadow carpeted with cowslips.

I would normally alight, and walk down the hill into Winchester, but today, such a cold miserable day, I stayed on the bus until the bus station in the town centre.

Wednesday, Winchester has a street food market. Each time I visit it has become smaller.

Today many of the stalls had gone. Though many it is no loss.

But no fruit and vegetable stall, no fish stall (though I was told had packed up early), the bread stall and the excellent cheese stall still there.

But no falafel stall. What was I to do for lunch?

I walked up and down, eventually settled on a Sicilian  stall Bedda doing pasta.  A good choice, the tagalette was excellent. Worth a trip to Winchester for.

It was then to Coffee Lab for a cappuccino, and to get warm.

A brief chat with the lady running Flat Whites where I would have a coffee but for Coffee Lab. I did though buy one of her excellent cakes.

Excellent cappuccino from Coffee Lab.

I then popped to Coffee Lab Academy where they weighed out and bagged coffee beans, Einstein blend. Now a choice of Einstein blend or Heisenberg blend.

Just as I was leaving, Dhan popped in. I said hi, apologised, had to run, a bus to catch.

I would have walked through Alton to double check that O’Connor’s Secret Garden had indeed closed, but cold, drizzling of rain, alighted at Alton Station.

Bikers night at The Alton Station Cafe. Not many bikers. Too cold. I had hoped for moussaka. Excellent cottage pie.

I suggested they look into taking on O’Connor’s Secret Garden.

Cappuccino at Coffee Lab Academy

November 2, 2016
Coffee Lab Academy

Coffee Lab Academy

barista champion Dan

barista champion Dan

barista champion Dan

barista champion Dan

cappuccino

cappuccino

I would have had a cappuccino at Coffee Lab, but too cold on a cold November afternoon  in Winchester with door open, instead Coffee Lab Academy.

Served by Dan, UK barista champion several years running, as always, excellent cappuccino.

I also bought coffee beans, Einstein blend.

Afternoon in Winchester

November 2, 2016
Winchester

Winchester

Yesterday in Guildford for farmers market, cold and grey and misty.

Today in Winchester for street food market, sunny, but very cold.

On my way, looked in Alton Station Cafe. What was tonight for biker night special? Chicken casserole. Moussaka? OK.

St John the Baptist

St John the Baptist

Walked down the hill into Winchester, but then on a detour to St John’s Church. It would have been easier to have walked down to the church by going on a detour down the hill.

Inside, a very unusual church.

River Itchen

River Itchen

Instead of later, when it would have been cold and dark, a walk alongside the River Itchen, the boundary of the Roman city, around the backstreets, and into the High Street through the Cathedral grounds.

Popped into P & G Wells. They usually have a wonderful window display. Sadly not today. Even they admitted, would you wish to give or receive autobiographies of Nick Clegg or Ed balls for Christmas. And no, they have not sold.

I suggested put in the window And the Weak Suffer What They Must? and accompany it with The Global Minotaur.

Christmas Market and ice Rink opens on Friday 18 November 2016.

Around the back of the Cathedral, like walking into a deep freeze.

Falafel off Falafel stall. This time hot.

Then coffee at Coffee Lab. Coffee Lab too cold with door open, Coffee Lab Academy instead, where it was warm, but noisy. And I get a cappuccino by Dan. I asked him where had the training machines gone. He said they had been loaned out for an event, but would be coming back.

Longer in Winchester than I had intended. By now very cold.

Bus to Alton Station.

Moussaka at Alton Station Cafe, then train.

Cappuccino in Coffee Lab

October 26, 2016
cappuccino in Coffee Lab

cappuccino in Coffee Lab

Last week I had a cappuccino in coffee Lab Academy served by Dan, champion barista.

Whilst I liked the cappuccino, I did not much like the ambience, too noisy.

This afternoon in Winchester, after a wander around, it was Coffee Lab.

I was was pleased that no sooner had I walked in, than in walked my Spanish friend Emilio, then a few minutes later in walked Dan.

I asked Dan, would he please make me a cappuccino.

Two weeks running, the privilege of a champion barista making me a coffee. This time I did not observe him.

My cappuccino was better than last week. Why, I do not know.  To date, the best cappuccino I have had at Coffee Lab.

Coffee Lab is the gold standard by which others are judged.

It is a mystery why anyone drinks the disgusting coffee from Costa or tax-dodging Starbucks, when such excellent coffee is avaible in Winchester. On the other hand at least I get served.