Posts Tagged ‘Afternoon in Guildford’

Afternoon in Guildford

November 30, 2018

Cold in the shade, pleasantly warm in the sun.

Adding insult to injury, former head of Network Fail awarded CBE, train companies try to justify a hike in rail fares in January.

What looks like a disgusting concoction on offer at Harris + Hoole, a Christmas filter coffee. Caffe Nero doing their best to destroy a once excellent coffee shop.

Organised crime, what appear to be Albanian beggars on the street, all with the same badly written card, please help me I am hungry. They are not the local homeless.

Lunch at Bamboo Shoots. Honey crunch chicken with brown rice. As always excellent. Today busy, but then I did arrive lunchtime, usually I am early afternoon.

I was tempted to try tea, but instead decide on coffee at Krema.

Guildford Rangers handing out a newsletters strictly speaking a news sheet, a single A4 page of zilch content. One in four kids have mental health problems, Experience Guildford encouraging taking of selfies. Car parks full to overflowing at Christmas, Experience Guildford offering free car parking. These are some of the many scams Experience Guildford dream up to waste public money.

Surrey Hills Coffee as always empty as I walk past. Literally no customers. I cannot see how they survive, always empty. Coffee not good, vegan cakes disgusting.

Caracoli surprisingly busy. I ask when are they closing? They look quite shocked when I say not time of day, when is the store closing? Appalling staff kept in the dark. Another member of staff, surprised I know, no one is supposed to know, admits they are closing some time in the New Year.

I am talking to a lady, and let her know closing sometime in the New Year. Whilst we are talking, what I assume to be a cappuccino passes us by on the way to a table. Cup size too large, looked disgusting, chocolate dumped on top.

That is one of their problems, poor quality coffee. Another is not knowing what they are. Are they a deli, a coffee shop? Exasperated by Vulture Capitalist wanting a return on their investment. It is not possible to creates a coffee chain, not unles aping Starbucks.

Sticking a large A-board outside obstructing the High Street falsely claiming serving best coffee in Guildford is asking for trouble, at the very least opening up to ridicule.

V60 at Krema.

Krema busy, I am hard pushed to find a table.

Each time I visit Krema, there are more people.

Instead of walking down the High Street or cutting through Tunsgate Quarter, I head off down Castle Street to the cheesemonger end of Chapel Street. They are gobsmacked when I tell then of a shop recently opened selling plastic wrapped cheese laced with ginger.

I query the seats outside. They tell me they now serve toasties.

Look in M&S. Olive oil spread healthy? Think again. Bulked out with palm oil, bad for planet, bad for health, high in saturated fats. Vegetables oils, including palm oil, highest content. Begs the question why not called palm oil spread or vegetable oil spread?

M&S not the only ones conning the public.

Bertolli olive oil spread, heavily promoted as healthy alternative, bulked out with palm oil.

Why are they allowed to advertise and yet Iceland Palm oil Christmas commercial banned?

To the Station.

FCB Coffee kiosk, guest coffee Costa Rica from Hundred House Coffee.

Empty Christmas boxes on FCB Coffee kiosk Guildford Station wrapped in red ribbon. Why not fill with bags of guest coffee, drop loyalty cards with e-mail address in a pot for a Christmas draw?

1730 Guildford to Ascot via Aldershot only running as far as Aldershot, where safety checks will be carried out on the train. The train then cancelled. No train until 1800. Yet another example of the failing rail network.

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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.

Afternoon in Guildford

November 9, 2018

Heavy rain during the morning, which luckily I missed. Afternoon grey, damp and cold. Luckily I left Guildford before the next wave of heavy rain arrived.

Cappuccino off FCB Coffee kiosk at Guildford Station. The house blend from Horsham Coffee Roasters.

Last week in Guildford I had guest coffee from Bean Press. It was weak and insipid, not suited to espresso, maybe ok for V60 pourover.

For once the guest coffee on sale. But ridiculously expensive, In tins, no roast date or weight shown, and the tin nowhere full. £18.

A woman, asked for her coffee from Costa to be hotted up.

I suggested, next time, pour the Costa coffee down the drain and buy a decent coffee from the FCB kiosk.

I thought the coffee stall had gone from the Guildford street market. No great loss as better places from where to buy coffee. Sadly not, today I noticed it had returned.

As always, excellent honey crunch chicken on brown rice from Bamboo Shoots.

As always Surrey Hills coffee empty. OK, one customer. The ‘barista’ as always looking bored stiff does not help. Neither does poor quality coffee and vegan cakes.

By contrast as always Krema busy. Why, because Krema has quality coffee and skilled baristas who know how to make coffee, and a willingness to invest in the equipment.

If opening a coffee shop, either got to be serious about coffee or do not bother. For people who do not care about what they drink, we have corporate coffee chains serving undrinkable coffee.

Afternoon in Guildford

November 2, 2018

Cold afternoon in Guildford.

I arrived in Guildford nearly an hour later than I wished, as missed a train as unable to cross the line with barriers down. Had I not bought a ticket, I could have crossed the line and caught the train.

A coffee off FCB kiosk. I tried the guest coffee from Bean Press Coffee (I have never heard of). To me weak and insipid. Spoilt by two weeks of excellent coffee in Athens.

I am pleased to see FCB kiosk now using compostable cups. But begs the question, what to do with the cup? Unless facilities to compost the cups, will go straight into the general waste stream.  As I was going to the market in North Street, I saved mine for the compost heap.

In the sun pleasant, very cold walking along the river in the shade.

Spitfire No 85 WHSmith.

No Hippie. Not on display, not in stock. Talking to a helpful guy he said he cannot recall ever seeing in the store let alone on display.

Waterstone’s across the street no better. Hippie not on display. I did eventually find, spine only, on the bottom shelf next to the floor with new books. A little direct action, now on display on table by the entrance.

Contrast with Athens, Hippie in window display of all major bookstores, one even had a display poster on the door.

Last time I passed through the street market some weeks ago I was shocked by how much smaller it was since my last visit.  Today, beginning of November, smaller still. The cheese stall and the coffee stall have gone.  Loss of the coffee stall no great loss, cheese can be obtained everyday from the excellent cheesemonger in Chapel Street.  Fruit and vegetable stall at the top, was two stalls, now only one stall.

It will be a shame to see this once excellent market collapse. But once the number of stalls goes down, and fewer visitors,  on a vicious downward spiral,

As always excellent lunch at Bamboo Shoots.

Interesting conversation with attractive young woman sat next to me.

Leaving Bamboo Shoots, the temperature had plumeted, now very cold.

As always, Surrey Hills Coffee empty. OK, two people, but as near as empty.  Last few times I have passed by it has been quite literally empty, not a single customer. But if serve poor quality coffee, disgusting vegan cakes, then no surprise always empty.

By contrast, Krema busy.

My cappuccino weak and insipid. Culture shock after the excellent coffee in Athens.

Afternoon in Guildford

August 17, 2018

A pleasant warm afternoon.

New compostable cups at FCB kiosk at Guildford Station, a step in the right direction, but in the absence of bins for compostable waste, what to do with the cups?

Lunch at Bamboo shoots. No brown rice today.

Walking past Surrey Hills Coffee empty. Literally empty, not a single customer. The lad who was there when they relocated not seen for a while, maybe moved on to somewhere better.

V60 at Krema, with guest coffee from Clifton Coffee, which I had picked up from Coffee Lab a couple of weeks ago.

Whilst sat outside Krema, a moron, a Deliveroo serf, illegally parked his scooter, illegally left engine running, keys left in the ignition, whilst collecting his delivery. No removal of crash helmet, which is also not acceptable. On return he was told he was illegally parked. He turned very nasty, his arrogant response, I am working and can park where I like.

Complaint lodged with manager of Pho. Not my problem, they work for Deliveroo. Wrong, they are picking up your deliveries.

Forty-five minutes later, a repeat performance, a different Deliveroo serf parks illegally, no removal of helmet, a delivery for Pho. At least he turned off his engine.

There should be a standing instruction to all Pho staff, any Deliveroo serf walking in wearing a crash helmet is asked to immediately leave and not allowed to return until crash helmet removed.

Tunsgate had been pedestrianised, now that the roadworks have finally been finished, people can sit and relax outside overlooking the Castle Grounds. They do not want this nuisance, especially pollution from an engine left running.

Afternoon in Guildford

July 27, 2018

Another very hot day. Though not as hot as yesterday when 35.1C.

Stopped at FCB kiosk cappuccino Origin guest coffee.

I learnt FCB are going to set up their own coffee roastery, to which I was invited to visit.

Lunch at Pho, fake Vietnamese restaurant, a pleasant day and can sit outside.

Service at Pho is not poor, it is non-existent. A very long wait, maybe half an hour before anyone came to take an order. They could at least have brought a drink. In the top coffee shops in Athens it is the norm to bring ice cold water as soon as take a seat.

Order taken, another long wait before food arrived. Drinks were not brought until food was delivered.

As eating, heavy thunder, then lightning, followed by heavy rain. To their credit, staff rushed out and helped carry things indoors. And replaced my drink.

Another long wait for bill to be brought. In the end it had to be asked for.

In gaps in the rain, dash across to Krema.

Did I want cold brew? No, I would have V60 Japanese iced filter coffee, and showed how to make it.

Afternoon in Guildford

July 21, 2018

A hot afternoon in Guildford.

Remind me again why I avoid town centres on a  weekend. Guildford was packed.

The only reason I was in Guildford, coffee tasting at Steamer Trading, a kitchenware shop.

Coffee beans were a choice of seriously over roasted, dark black and oily, a dark roast and a medium roast.

A cappuccino was made in an automated expensive domestic espresso machine. Pour the beans in the top, it will automatically tamp the ground beans, extract, even has a wand for steaming the milk.

The result looked disgusting, tasted disgusting, an unpleasant bitter coffee.

These machines are a complete waste of money. If you want an espresso, flat white or cappuccino, go to an indie coffee shop where they serve speciality coffee, have the gear in which to make it, and employ skilled baristas.

And do not part with money for a Nespresso machine,  expensive low poor coffee, the pods bad for the environment.

If wish to see how bad Nespresso, take a Nespresso off the stall in Tunsgate Quarter, I am assuming free, do not part with money, then visit Krema in Tunsgate and try a cappuccino.

I am not sure what was the purpose of the coffee tasting? Was it to showcase the coffee or the machine? It was a dismal failure either way.

Bamboo Shoots closed. Excellent lunch at Pho, though service very slow. I sat outside. Pleasant sat outside, but they should make no smoking. I would not sit inside. Dark and dingy with awful loud music.

Back to the market. Little left.

Cold brew at Krema.

I have never seen Tunsgate as busy as today. Maybe because a Saturday.

Afternoon in Guildford

July 13, 2018

Another hot day.

Cheese stall not on the market.

I actually saw someone buying beans off the coffee stall. For anyone who wants coffee beans, walk to Krema at the end of Tunsgate where coffee beans from Horsham Coffee on sale.

Fresh peas off the market. Last week no peas, they said not worth buying, I can see why, I had off a stall on the Godalmiong street food market the following day and they were not good

As always, excellent lunch at Bamboo Shoots.

It was then to Krema for a cold brew coffee.

I pass by Surrey Hills Coffee. Not as busy as a couple of weeks ago, but not empty either.

I look in the Tourist information Office, Their tweets promoting Cosy Club,a fake 1930s bar, a corporate chain, not acceptable. Contrast with Chichester Tourist Information Office who promote cultural events, historic locations, independent businesses, reasons to visit Chichester.

On may way to Krema, dark clouds rolling in, thunderstorm forecast.

The roadworks in Tunsgate finally finished.

Completion of the roadworks has made a big difference. Can now see the Castle Ground and for people walking up Castle Street they can see Krema.

I decide not to stay long, though stayws longer than I wished. As leaving, starting to rain.

Afternoon in Guildford

July 6, 2018

Another very hot afternoon in Guildford.

Why is the Greek shop Fresco serving everything in plastic?

Looked in Harris + Hoole, let them know their cups have been added to the compost heap. I suggested they put their coffee grounds outside for people to collect. They thought a good idea and will think about it.

Patisserie Valerie giving out mango smoothies. Very welcome on a hot day.

The wholefood shop in the street opposite the same but not so good, some strange chemical concoctions.

And were the cups compostable? Patisserie Valerie thought not, but did not actually know, so assume no. Wholefood shop said yes.

More cups to add for the compost trial.

Wholefood shop coffee shelf empty. I suggested they stock Chimney Fire Coffee, excellent coffee, roasted locally in the Surrey Hills.

As always, excellent lunch at Bamboo Shoots.

I also tried Russian Caravan tea. So named because brought across Russia from China by caravan.

It was then to Cosy Club, not a place I would normally be seen dead in, a fake 1930s bar, a corporate chain. But I was curious they are sourcing coffee from Clifton Coffee.

How to get in? From the High Street, into Tunsgate, then into Tunsgate Quarter.

Tunsgate Quarter, a new shopping centre, artificial and sterile, boarded-up units, a few corporate chains, devoid of people. The glass ceiling turns it into a greenhouse, hotter than the street outside. The only positive, provides a useful short cut.

Nothing on this level other than a Nespresso stall. Did I want a Nespresso? No, I like coffee.

Down a spiral staircase. Again nothing. I find myself walking back into the High Street to find Cosy Club. Only you enter and climb the stairs.

I am surprised how large. Did I wish to be taken to a table? No, I will have a look around.

I decide on a seat by an open door leading onto a balcony, fresh air.

Cosy Club far worse than I expected, so fake it is a parody of fake.

At the bar, beers from industrial chemical factories. Only one real ale on a hand pump. No craft beers.

Has nothing been learnt from Wetherspoon? Apparently not.

I order a cappuccino. It is covered in chocolate. I send it back. A long wait for a second cappuccino, too large a mug, scalding hot, and yes, undrinkable.

Do I wish to eat, do I wish to see the food menu? I decline.

It is then to Krema, where I have an excellent cold brew coffee.

Why is Guildford Tourist Information sending out tweets to promote Cosy Club? To date, I think nine, so many I am losing count. Yet another one today. Why did they tweet as a place for coffee? Is this an appropriate use of public money?

All the more ironic when on 4 July the launch of a month to celebrate independent businesses in Guildford.

Afternoon in Guildford

June 29, 2018

A hot day, though maybe not as hot as previous days.

Walking along the River Wey to the High Street, moronic rap music blasting out from Electric Theatre disturbing the peace and tranquillity of this walk.

Walking up North Street I noticed Harris + Hoole empty. Death by a thousand cuts by Caffe Nero.

Lunch at Bamboo Shoots.

Picked up a couple of biodegradable plastic straws from Bamboo Shoots for compost trial. Nothing on the box to say what made off.

Walking past Surrey Hills Coffee as empty as when they were in Chapel Street. Posting on facebook doing well at new site when anyone walking past sees not simply makes look foolish. Looking in it looked very tacky, as though knocked up  as a temporary location, cf Canopy Coffee or Krema. They say now doing food. Do they have A3 planning consent? It takes more than a change of location, maybe a case of grass looks greener on the other side, or cheaper rent. 5-30 is hardly extended opening hours, and worse to encourage grab it and go takeaway culture. Do they really think anyone is going to pay to rent an upstairs room when many places locally to meet for free? The one bag of coffee I looked at was at least freshly roasted, compared with their old coffee shop where it could be a couple of months old. What though will it be in a couple of months time? Why do they have A-boards blocking both the High Street and Jeffries Passage? Is it really necessary an A-board outside the coffee shop? The council needs to clamp down on A-boards as a hazard for pedestrians with poor sight. When there is Krema serving excellent coffee,  it is going to take more than a change of location, like maybe decent coffee, skilled baristas.

Roadworks still ongoing in Tunsgate. Krema barricaded off. Now panic stations to complete the work. Cowboy workers cutting stone, dust everywhere, no damping down, no face masks worn.

There is to be  street party in Tunsgate next week. But how is anyone to know as no information anywhere?

Cold brew coffee in Krema.

Walking back down North Street, Harris + Hoole empty. Are their takeaway coffee cups compostable? No. Their plastic cups yes. Nothing to say they are, or what made of. If used for hot drinks they melt. One taken away for compost trial. No cold brew coffee. The gimmick nitro brew was short lived.