Posts Tagged ‘Afternoon in Guildford’

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.

Afternoon in Guildford

June 22, 2018

Strange weather, starts cool, turns hot.

As I walk up North Street by the market, arrogant idiot parks in No Parking to do his shopping on the market. When it is pointed out No Parking, he ask where am I to park when shopping? Maybe car park as everyone else.

Lunch at Bamboo Shoots, honey crunch chicken with brown rice, then back to market, but too late, strawberries gone. From another stall, two boxes of strawberries, two pineapples, £3-00.

Work on Tunsgate progressing backwards, now digging up that previously laid.

In Krema, excellent cold brew coffee. I resist the temptation to have another.

I give one box of strawberries, one pineapple, to Krema.

Walking down to The Keep, I see the work on Tunsgate is extending half way down the road.

In The Keep, Hidden Curiosities Gin have set up a gin pop up shop and free tasting.

I am no fan of gin, cannot stand the smell let alone the taste, but was curious, this was craft gin.

For some perverse reason, gin has become the in drink.

Did I wish to try?

The aroma was quite pleasant, not at all like that normally associated with gin. To drink, like drinking firewater, lacking the maturity of a good brandy. I could see why it is usually drunk diluted. It also has potential for cocktails with cold brew coffee.

Afternoon in Guildford

June 18, 2018

Strange weather. One day cold, next day hot. Weekend was cold, especially Sunday, this morning at eleven it was cool, by midday warm, afternoon hot.

FCB coffee kiosk open, a coffee and a chat.

Lunch at Pho, Vietnamese street food restaurant. Last day half price.

What a difference a few days make, no queue, upstairs empty. Different staff to last Friday, I would not say rude, but curt and not very friendly. As I walk in, I notice a couple of tables people querying their bill. I think no more of it, until I receive my bill. They have sneaked on the bill 10% service charge, 10% of full price. This is not acceptable. No mention of this when I walked in, it was not added Friday. The price on the menu should be the price paid. It leaves a nasty taste in the mouth and undermines any goodwill they have generated with 50% off opening offer.

Coffee at Krema. I start with cappuccino, then cold brew. A mistake, I should have stuck to cold brew.

Krema should have view of Guildford Castle, instead roadworks.

How long is it going to take to finish Tunsgate? The workman knocked off before four. The very least the traders in Tunsgate should get Business Rate relief for the duration of the work.

The completed work is being dug up to add drains.

No response from local council. The jobsworth forget at their peril they are paid for and accountable to local people

Afternoon in Guildford

June 15, 2018

A pleasant warm and sunny afternoon in Guildford, warmer than expected.

You must try Pho in Tunsgate I was told as I passed through the market in North Street on my way for lunch at Bamboo Shoots in Jeffries Passage. Pho? A new Vietnamese restaurant in Tunsgate, today food half price, try it and report back.

I checked it out. Not half price, free, but they had problems, please come back at five o’clock, we will reopen half price.

As always excellent lunch at Bamboo Shoots in Jeffries Passage.

Surrey Hills Coffee has closed. No surprise, it was only a matter of time. They have not though closed down, they are reopening in Jeffries Passage. I cannot though see being any more successful as the coffee not good and there are better places for coffee in Guildford.

It was then to Krema where I spent the rest of the afternoon. Excellent cold brew coffee. I was surprised when shown how brewed, in essence a central metal filter in a jug where course ground coffee is left for 24 hours in cold water

Krema has only been open a few weeks and already very popular.

Between Bamboo Shoots and Krema, Tourist Information Office to obtain contact for farmers market, long overdue is a coffee stall.

On leaving Krema, I decided to try Pho, surprisingly only a short queue. Not long to wait.

Looking at the menu, and having looked earlier, nothing I really fancied, but found something.

A bottle of cold water brought to the table.

I have no idea what Vietnamese food is like, this is not a Vietnamese restaurant, it is a chain. Maybe in the kitchen.

Credit where credit due, and I hate to praise a chain, the food was good. And what I saw brought to adjacent tables also looked good. They must have good chefs.

No long queue formed outside. Maybe few knew half price, though these days of social media, usually spreads rapidly.

Contrast with free pizza in Winchester on Wednesday, a queue down the street.

Free or half price is an excellent idea. Better than any advertising, puts new staff through their paces, if people like, they will come again, tell their friends write good reviews.

On leaving, I wandered through Tunsgate Quarter. The only good thing I can say about it, useful short cut. Mainly empty units, those occupied are occupied by chains. Very unusual these days for a developer to build without guaranteed tenants, guaranteed rents, as the units will remain empty.

What we now need to see is the independent businesses on Tungate compensated for loss of business during road works. The least the Council can do is give a business rates holiday and once the work finished hold an event in Tungsgate. For example during the summer, turn one of the farmers markets into a street food market and let the stalls flow into Tunsgate.

And why oh why do Experience Guildford and the Tourist Information Office keep tweeting promoting chains? They are not there to give them free PR. So far I have had two tweets for Cozy Club alone, a crap chain.

Chains destroy a locality, destroy the sense of place, drain money out of a local economy. It is independent businesses that give character, a sense of place, recycle money within the local economy.

Contrast North Laine in Brighton with Tunsgate Quarter, one full of people, the other fake and empty.

Two tweets for Cozy Club, not single tweet for Krema, an excellent indie coffee shop that has opened in Tunsgate, something Guildford should be proud of, worth a trip to Guildford for.

Then when these chains go bust, which is now happening with regular monotony, or some one at head office decides not making enough, the stores close, leaving gaping holes in our High Streets never to be filled.

Afternoon in Guildford

December 18, 2017

A cold day, pockets of frost in the grass. Pleasant in the sun, cold and damp in the shade.

Stopped and had a cappuccino off FCB kisok, the excellent Colombian guest coffee from Dark Woods Coffee.

A couple of guitarists playing bottom of the High Street. They were good. No idea who they were. I picked up a couple of their CDs. I passed by later and had a chat. They said invest in high quality sound equipment. Pays itself back in a couple of weeks. I picked up two sets of their CDs. Christmas presents sorted. I recomended they released on bandcamp. I had never seen them before, though they said they have played in Guildford.

A friend had lost her bank card, or maybe been stolen. £150 was also missing. We went to the bank. The card had been used, thus stolen, or lost and found.

If the exact time of transaction is known, and the shop, One Stop in Aldershot, and the shop has CCTV, then should be possible to identify who used her card.

Phyllis Tuckwell in Farnham had sold out of their Christmas cards. In Quarry Street they still had. I wish they would get rid if their rude pig-ignorant shop manager. Always miserable and unpleasant. Always unpleasant loud music blaring out. I rarely visit the shop.

In nearby Oxfam shop, ugly Christmas cards, could not do worse if they tried. No surprise not sold.

I looked at The Village. Most of the units appear to have closed. Reality has finally set in.

Late lunch at Bamboo Shoots. Honey crunch chicken. As always, excellent.

On leaving Bamboo Shoots, it had turned very cold.

I head fo the station.