Archive for the ‘Winchester’ Category

Coffee #1

August 14, 2019

Alresford has two coffee shops, Carocoli and Coffee #1.

Carocoli never knew what they were, a coffee shop, a deli, the coffee was not good and they went bust. Now under new owners.

Coffee #1 new, only open a few weeks in Alresford.

I decided to alight from the bus passing through to Winchester, a quick look around, try a coffee at Coffee #1, then carry on down to Winchester.

It is easy to tell when a coffee shop not good, a row of syrups and asked what size cup for a cappuccino.

A row of syrups on the back wall, I was asked what size cappuccino.

If asked what size, I always ask to see the cups. Regular and large.

There is only one size, the correct size, no other size will suffice.

Feeling hungry having not eaten since late breakfast I also asked for a bap with bacon.

A long wait to be served, though there was an apology, an even longer wait to be brought my bacon bap, longer still before my cappuccino arrived.

The bap was brought with no serviette. I had to go in search of. It was ok, not great.

The cappuccino when it finally arrived appeared to have been carpet bombed with chocolate. I sent it back. The next to arrive looked disgusting, tasted disgusting scalding hot, deep layer of froth and foam, of which I scooped out a large glop with my teaspoon.

Bags of coffee on display. I picked up an espresso blend and a Costa Rican.

Nothing to say where the espresso blend sourced, the Costa Rican commodity coffee, no mention of farm.

No roast date, only a meaningless best be date. Actually worse then useless. Old stale coffee, no aroma.

Ambience pleasant.

Service took so long I missed the next bus and had to wait a further half an hour.

Young girl making the coffee treated very badly by young man who seemed to be in charge. Shouted at her in a very unpleasant manner Come Here. Further shouting at her. Then the shouting became worse, she walked away, clearly distressed and upset, walked into a room marked Private, and did not emerge until some time later as I was leaving.

Had I not been about to leave I would have spoken to her as a very bad example of bullying in the workplace. A report was filed to Coffee #1. They lacked the courtesy to respond, which shows the importance they attach to workplace bullying.

Note: Workplace bullying is a breach of employment legislation.

Coffee +#1 is a a large chain of around 100 coffee shops owned by Caffe Nero and it shows.

Harris + Hoole is also owned by Caffe Nero, and since bought by Caffe Nero has experienced death by a thousand cuts, but they at least attempt to make decent coffee. Coffee #1 do not even go through the motions.

The only good thing I could find to say, bags of coffee grounds to take away for the garden, though from the number of bags piled on the floor the take up appeared to be low.

It was then pick up the bus, head into Winchester, to have a decent coffee at The Square.

The Vegan Hot Dog Man

June 26, 2019

I have never understood why anyone who wishes to eat vegan or vegetarian food wishes to eat fake meat.

Winchester street food markets gets smaller each time I visit Winchester, what is on offer worse.

The Sicilian guys guys with their excellent pasta have gone, the guy doing pizzas from a horse box has gone.

The only stalls worth knowing about, cheese stall which is exceptional, French stall which is only once a month, and the bread stall which is ok.

I was too late to eat at The Square.

Signs of desperation a vegan hot dog off The Vegan Hot Dog Man. I would not wish to eat a real hot dog and there I was ordering a fake hot dog. Excellent Lincoln sausages yes, hot dogs no.

To say the vegan hot dog was disgusting would be an understatement. It was unbelievably disgusting. I hate to think what processed crap went into the vegan hot dog.

I asked the guy why serve vegan hot dogs?

That’s what people expect on a market.

Not true, a good street food market has excellent food.

Why not have quality vegetarian food, not fake meat? If this was meant to showcase vegan food then an abysmal failure.

But is is not only this vegan hot dog stall that has completely lost the plot, at Lincoln Vegan Festival disgusting looking hot dogs served with equally disgusting looking French-fries that would expects to find on a best avoided roadside kebab stall. It goes without saying I did not try.

Years ago in Covent Garden I used to enjoy bean burgers made from different beans not processed crap, not trying to emulate crap from McDonald’s.

Vegan food can be a delicious mix of fruit, nuts, grains, cereals and vegetables, added oils, ideally olive oil not highly processed so-called vegetable oils.

The push for fake-meat is coming from Big Business.

Always support local.

On Guildford farmers market, delicious dosa off the the India stall Ollo Foods.

Afternoon in Winchester

June 26, 2019

Morning coolish, sky milky white, but later sun broke through and turned very warm.

Passing through Alton, a circus with big top, though the big top looked quite small.

I was surprised to see rail bridge had gone. I think it was a brick bridge.

Bus to Winchester took a detour, direct onto the A31. This ought to be the normal route.

Same at Alresford, straight to Winchester not around the houses.

Alighted off the bus and walked down Magdalen Hill into Winchester. Always a pleasant walk.

The street food market gets smaller and worse each time I visit. The stalls are peddling crap.

The only stalls worth knowing about, cheese stall which is exceptional, French stall which is only once a month, and the bread stall which is ok.

I was too late to eat anything at City Square and so back to the market.

Signs of desperation vegan hot dog off The Vegan Hot Dog Man. To say it was disgusting would be an understatement. It was unbelievably disgusting. I hate to think what processed crap went into the vegan hot dog.

I asked the guy why serve vegan hot dogs? That’s what people expect on a market. Not true, a good street food market has excellent food. Why not have quality vegetarian food, not fake meat? If this was meant to showcase vegan food then an abysmal failure.

The guy with the horsebox and wood-fired pizzas has gone.

I though of going the Flat Whites.

No longer there, I learnt from the cheese stall.

Depressing news, it has gone, driven out of businesses by landlord. Another excellent local business destroyed by a greedy grasping landlord.

He suggested I try The Winchester Orangery and let him know what I thought of their coffee.

I found The Winchester Orangery, coffee roasted by River Coffee Roaster, a local roastery I had not heard of.

My cappuccino was excellent.

I quick look in Coffee Lab Academy. Dhan Tamang now roasts the coffee, coffee roastery which includes coffee shop and training school branded as DT. I have yet to try the coffee, too late for a coffee at City Square as now closes at six.

I will try next time, visit Dan at his roastery.

As a pleasant evening, walk along the river and around Winchester Cathedral.

Too late to  eat at Alton Station Cafe, all the food gone.

— to be continued —

V60 at Flat Whites

December 13, 2018

Flat Whites since it opened a little over a year ago has very rapidly acquired a reputation both for serving excellent coffee and for acting as a coffee curator with their guest coffee.

Flat Whites was already familiar to many as a little van, strictly speaking a pod, in the High Street in Winchester. It took over the spot once occupied by Jimmy Bean.

It was to Flat Whites I headed on a cold wintry December afternoon. As much to get warm as for a coffee.

I was too late for a coffee. I stayed and had a chat in the warm whilst closing.

Then someone calls in and has a V60. I too get a V60.

Guest coffee this month Assembly.

Assembly won coffee roasting championship this year in the UK. I have tried their excellent coffee before at Kiosk in York.

The elite in the coffee world is a small world.

At The Speciality Coffee Shop I found Gardelli as guest. Last year they won the world coffee roasting.

In October, The Underdog, winners of Greek coffee roasting championship.

In October I met at Manor House No 2 world latte art champion  Michalis Karagiannis who kindly served me a cappuccino.

The barista who served me at Flat Whites knew Michalis Karagiannis. He told me when Michalis was in London on holiday, he kindly stepped in and judged a latte art competition.

Flat Whites is located in a courtyard in Parchment Street. Easy to find, walk up Winchester High Street, past the Flat Whites van, turn right at the corner where located WHSmith.

If in Winchester on a Wednesday, a street food market in the High Street, and close by the Flat Whites kiosk an excellent cheeses stall.

Afternoon in Winchester

November 14, 2018

Sunny all the way down to Winchester. Downside sun in my eyes most of the journey.

I alighted off the bus to walk down into Winchester, but instead of walking down the main road down Magdalen Hill, I followed the route of the Pilgrims Way, which passes by St John’s Church.

A plaque notes the route of the Pilgrims Way. On the plaque a scallop shell. I thought that was the symbol for El Camino de SantiagoEl Camino de Santiago. Maybe for all the routes taken by pilgrims.

The church has an unusual layout.

On the wall only noticed as leaving the church when eyes have adjusted to the light, medieval wall paintings, c 1280.

The Sicilian guys who last year had excellent pasta appear to have left the market. They were not there last Thursday, nor today. I asked another stall, and yes, they have left the market. No surprise. They had excellent pasta, then started doing junk food. Everyone told them huge mistake, but sadly they did not listen.

I thought the Cathedral Christmas Market would be up and running. No, it opens on Friday.

I looked in The Square. They are now doing lunch until three o’cocck, so I stayed and had a mushrooms on toast.

I said I would come back and have a cappuccino.

I looked in Flat Whites but they were closing early today, as short staffed.

Cappuccino in The Square. I was curious, coffee from The Roasting Party.In CUP by Reading Town Hall, cappuccino not good. At the Square, as always, well at least usual, excellent cappuccino.

Guest coffee in The Square Ethiopia Hunkute from Bailies in Northern Ireland. It had only come in yesterday, fresh, only roasted last week.

Coffee Lab once again ripping customers off on the price charged for guest coffee is not acceptable. Ethiopia Hunkute direct from Bailies £7 plus £1 shipping. In The Square £11.

I had intended to catch an earlier bus. I caught a later bus. Catch 1750.

Around 20 minutes wait at Alton Station for a train.

I pop in Waitrose. Bananas rotting on the shelves.

Train late.

Cappuccino at Flat White

November 8, 2018

With Coffee Lab closed, Coffee Lab Academy and The Square going down hill being destroyed by the greed of Vulture Capitalists, at least Winchester has Flat White.

It was to Flat White I went for a cappuccino.

There is always excellent guest coffee at Flat Whites. Today Steam Punk, coffee from Ethiopia and Colombia.

Steam Punk a strange name, unless associated with speampunks.

Steam Punk clueless on use of social media. Pictures post to tower via Instagram, which means a series of links, no pictures. Why is the coffee industry so clueless on the use of social media?

Afternoon in Winchester

November 8, 2018

A dull dreary afternoon.

Bus from Alton Station to Winchester, bus driver drives like a maniac. Slamming on brakes each time hits a speed restriction as travelling too fast.

I walk down Magdalen Hill into Winchester.

I arrive earlier than usual though would have wished to have arrived earlier, Coffee Lab shuts at three.

A rather tacky market. The only worthwhile stall, a girl with clothes and jewellery, a stall down a side street.

Sicilian guys used to excel with their pasta, then to the dismay of everyone stopped pasta and produced junk food. Come Thursday, they would say, Thursday we do pasta. Today Thursday. I walk up and down the market. I find they are not there.

I look in Coffee Lab Academy. I am surprised at the coffee on display. I ask, no longer The Roasting Party? Yes, Coffee Lab has closed.

I go round and take a look, even though they ssk I do not.

I am shocked and appalled that Coffee Lab has closed. It opened a little over two years ago. It was a lovely litte coffee shop that set a high standard. Next year Coffee Lab Academy, then this summer The Square, plus a number of coffee shops in other towns.

Closure of the original Coffee Lab is indicative of everything that is going wrong with Coffee Lab. Vulture Capitalists have been brought in to expand the chain, Vulture Capitalists motivated by one thing and one thing only, greed. They have managed to alienate staff alienate the customers.

Coffee Lab has grown rapidly and just as rapidly gone down hill. Coffee Lab closing at three, and now closed. The Square, dirty tables, poor service, poor quality coffee, kids who do not have a clue. Coffee Lab Academy closing on the dot, tables and chairs stacked around remaining customers. No atmosphere in ether.

And just when it cannot get worst, landlord of the little wholefood shop has been bought out by the greediest of the Vulture Capitalists, a fool who is a style-styled entrepreneur, putting at risk this lovely little shop when the lease runs out.

I did not have a coffee, I went to the little pizza stall, where had an excellent pizza.

Only the eating of was spoilt by a moron blowing smoke in my face whilst telling me he knew what was good coffee as he frequented Starbucks.

I had called on the way in Holland and Barrett to inquire when their penny sale ended. Buy one get one at a penny, only applies to a very limited range. Ends on Tuesday,

Near the entrance loose nuts, dried fruits, scoop up with a shovel into a bag, weigh, then pay. Cheaper than the prepacked stuff? No, a lot dearer.

It was then to Flat Whites where I had an excellent cappuccino served by one of the baristas who has left Coffee Lab. I thought he seemed vaguely familiar. He said he knew me from Coffee Lab Academy.

Guest coffee from Steam Punks, A strange name for coffee unless there is a Steam Punk connection.

1720 bus to Alton. For once, in time to catch a train but I decided to pop in Waitrose.

— to be continued —

The Other Sam

August 17, 2018

I came across these three kids playing in the High Street during a recent trip to Winchester.

They were amazingly good. A sense of music few posses.

A must for Staycation Live, which this year was dire.

Let us hope someone grants them free studio recording time as they deserve it.

V60 at Coffee Lab

August 16, 2018

After a not very good lunch at The Square by Coffee Lab it  was then head to Coffee Lab.

This was the first, the original Coffee Lab, that opened a couple of years ago in Winchester, now known as little Coffee Lab, the other two being Coffee Lab Academy (though the Academy was short lived and no more) and The Square by Coffee Lab.

It is unfortunate Coffee Lab now closes at three, as the only one that has V60 and cold brew, the only one that has guest coffee and coffee beans on sale.

A different guest coffee from Hundred House Coffee to last week, this time from Colombia.

I learnt why ripping people off, charging £10 for a bag of coffee that retails for less. If not, would have to charge more for coffee brewed with the guest coffee. The logic is perverse. No other coffee shop applies this perverse logic. Need to have a rethink.

V60 with the guest coffee which I sat outside with and enjoyed. The street very quiet.

Pour with swan-necked kettle with water just off boiling to clean the filter.

Pour for around 30 seconds, leave for around 30 seconds to allow the coffee to bloom.  This enables the release of CO2.

Continue to pour.

The swirling motion I have not seen before.

Afternoon in Winchester

August 15, 2018

A pleasant warm afternoon.

First to dentist, then hop on a bus to catch a train.

I missed the train I would have liked to have caught, but still early. I would still arrive Winchester lunchtime, earlier than I usually arrive, in time for lunch at The Square.

A steam train at Alton Station.

I inquired at Alton Station Cafe, what was the dinner tonight. Nothing, we are not cooking. Had I got the wrong day? No, it was Wednesday, Bikers Night.

Passing through Alton I see a new coffee shop that I had not noticed before about to open. Claimed to be an artisan coffee shop, claim is one thing, reality another, and artisan is meaningless. We will see.

I was very tempted to alight from the bus at Arlesford, then continue on to Winchester, but if I did, I would not make lunch or Coffee Lab before three.

Arlesford was busy but then so was Winchester. Maybe because lunchtime.

I made The Square, but lunch, mushrooms on sourdough bread was not very good, not as good as when I last had.

The Square busy and noisy. Not an environment in which to  relax and I was pleased to leave.

It was then head to Coffee Lab. A different guest coffee from Hundred House Coffee, this time from Colombia.

I learnt why ripping people off, charging £10 for a  bag of coffee that retails for less. If not, would have to charge more for coffee brewed with the guest coffee. The logic is perverse. No other coffee shop applies this perverse logic. Need to have a rethink.

V60 with the guest coffee which I sat outside with and enjoyed. The street very quiet.

Back in the High Street, three kids playing. They were amazingly good. A sense of music few posses.

To the cheese stall. Whilst sat outside Coffee Lab, an e-mail inviting me to a coffee and cheese event at Purfrock Coffee.  It was due to have taken place several weeks ago, but cancelled at very short notice.

Looked in Flat Whites coffee shop. Their new guest coffee not yet in. Maybe next week.

Cappuccino and peanut butter brownie at The Square.

1820 bus to Alton.

Fish n chip shop near the station appears to have closed, as second time I have passed by and seen it closed.

Chicken curry at Alton Station cafe, but as last week, nothing left.