Posts Tagged ‘cakes’

The Little Cafe Co

August 5, 2017

I came across The Little Cafe Co at Staycation Live.  An improvement as last year some ghastly franchise coffee van serving overpriced undrinkable coffee. I was pleased to see an effort had been made to invite a quality coffee truck.

At first I thought it was The Hobo Co and was about to say hello, but as I drew nearer, I saw it was not.

A row of syrups lined up is like raising a flag, we serve shit coffee.

Home made cakes.

I decided to try a cappuccino. It was not great but reasonable, I have had far worse.

Catering supply beans.

With decent beans, a skilled barissta, it would be serving great coffee.

Based in Guildford they intend to move to Brighton.

They will be in for a rude awaking, as Brighton is coffee mecca, with many wide and varied choice of high quality coffee.

If they do relocate to Brighton, back to square one for a choice of quality coffee truck for next year at Staycation Live.  Of those I have suggested in the past, The Hobo Co is the only one that may be available, as one no longer seems to exist, and the other is not interested too far away.

Boulangerie Bon Matin

July 4, 2017

A coffee shop  cum fancy cake shop in Finsbury Park.

What does it say of nitro cold brew coffee when have to add syrup?

What does it say when it needs a whole page ad in Caffeine to promote the ghastly stuff?

Matter of personal taste, come and visit us.

A trek on an awful jammed-in-like sardines Tube journey from Covent Garden, when I could have relaxed in Monmouth Coffee where guaranteed a decent coffee.

A pleasant job done on the interior, but sadly not coffee to match.

Stripped back bare  brick walls out the back, at a  guess a covered in yard. In many ways though a pity as no outside seating out the back.

Interesting art by David Bage on the walls, though only interesting because copies of original works, and it is difficult to see how an unknown artist can justify prices in excess of £200 for copies of originals.  A bit like being stopped in Puerto de la Cruz by illegal immigrants and being asked for twenty euros for a  fake Rolex (which they insist is the real thing).

A cappuccino ordered. Cappuccino with coffee dumped on top, immediately sent back.

What then came not a lot better.

No cookies. I ordered a chocolate brownie. It was not good. I asked was it vegan, as that often explains why not good. No.

Food looked decorative, though nothing to say what it was, or the price.

I asked to see the coffee they used.

Italian coffee, catering supply.

When are coffee shops going to learn? If you want to serve good coffee, source quality beans, employ a skilled barista. There is no excuse for importing rubbish coffee from Italy, when there are excellent coffee roasters in London.

Try The Deli at 60, far better coffee and cakes.

 

Kings Cross Station Real Food Market

December 14, 2016

Every Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, a handful of food stalls outside Kings Cross Station selling overpriced cakes, a few pastries and very expensive cheese.

To be fair to the cheese stall, it was high quality cheese. But 19 month’s old Comte, is not two year’s old, as the stallholder claimed. It was though excellent cheese, but very expensive. My piece came to £7-50.

The market seems to have shrunk compared with a year ago, and it certainly was not busy.

A good idea, but needs more variety and not so expensive.

Gail’s Artisan Bakery

August 20, 2016
Gail's Artisan Bakery

Gail’s Artisan Bakery

I was told there was a new bakery in Castle Street, where you could also eat out the back.

I needed a loaf of bread, and therefore decided to check it out, then return to Downing Street for a coffee.

Very little choice, no wholemeal bread. Staff were apologetic, said it had been a busy day, and had sold out.

I saw they had soup. Anything to eat. Sorry,  kitchen closed at three.

They had sandwiches, but ludicrous price.  £5 to take out, £6 to eat in.

To put this price in context, I can have lunch in the Thai Restaurant in Jeffries  Passage for this price.

I decided on the soup. Small or large? I decided on small.

I had the soup at a table outside. I think it was tomato and red pepper. It was excellent and generous portion. Served with a small piece of bread. I asked for butter and salt. This was brought out to me, as was the soup and a roll. Salt rock salt, butter in a little dish.

The small roll, and it was small, with smoked salmon was good.

I was asked would I like a coffee?

I had intended to visit Krema in Downing Street where I knew I would get an excellent coffee and flapjack. But decided as I was there, and to save walking down to Downing Street, I would stay and at least try the coffee.

It was not good. Not disgusting as tax-dodging Starbucks or Costa, but not good.

The coffee should have been much better, as beans were from Union Hand Roasted, same roaster as used by Harris + Hoole and Taylor Street Baristas, but nowhere near their standard.

The cookie I enjoyed.

If I had wished to eat, I was too late, as kitchen was closed, it was a choice of breakfast or breakfast, which was served until three.  As with the sandwich, expensive, and there was nothing I fancied.

Why not serve breakfast until midday, lunch until three, then afternoon tea and cakes?

The ambience where the cakes were served was quite pleasant, but further in somewhat stark, more like a prison environment.

I sat at a table, but in reality a piece of wood sticking out from the wall, another for a seat, only enough room for one person, and elbow bashed the wall. I was sat in a corridor. I could have gone further in.

Completely lacking in ambience.

Water, help yourself.

This is now quite commonplace.

On the table were free postcards. This was a clever idea, cheap publicity. Also a little fold out chart, but differed from the reality of Farnham.

The staff were excellent, very pleasant and helpful.

Gail’s class themselves as a neighbourhood bakery. Not really. It is a purveyor of very expensive breads and cakes and sandwiches, a bread shop cum coffee shop cum cafe. It is a chain. The entire environment screamed corporate.

Gail's Artisan Bakery Cookbook

Gail’s Artisan Bakery Cookbook

On sale was their own cookbook, Gail’s Artisan Bakery Cookbook.

Loyalty card unusual, stamped if bought a loaf or a coffee. But had to collect nine stamps.

Gail’s open until seven in the evening. I cannot see any point opening beyond six as no one about.  Contrast with Guildford where the indie coffee shops shut at five, turning custom away.

I can recommend the soup. The bread I did not try, apart from my roll, which was good. The coffee not good. Try Krema in Downing Street or Barista Lounge.

I cannot see Loaf in Downing Street surviving, nor the Downing Street Deli, with competition from Gail’s.

Downing Street Deli

April 16, 2016
Downing Street Deli

Downing Street Deli

Last week, only a few days open, Downing Street Deli was more like a coffee shop cum tea shop in a parlour masquerading as a deli. Today more like a tea shop in a corner shop.

Guy on deli side, very knowledgeable on what he is serving. Coffee bloody awful.

It has taken them a long time to open, weeks if not months behind schedule.

Very much a labour of love. It is as though one has gone back in time to a vintage shop.

An old coffee machine, a very old meat slicer.

They make their own fresh pastas and sauces, buy in bread and cakes from a bakery.

The cappuccino, I am sorry to say was awful and undrinkable. Served scalding hot.

Young barista, very keen and enthusiastic, but cannot make coffee.

It proves once again, you cannot train a good barista. Training only takes so far. It is a  skill and an art. Only learnt by working alongside skilled baristas.

That is not to put the young guy down, far from it.

He would be well advised to go and work somewhere like Harris + Hoole or Surrey Hills Coffee in Guildford, then come back as an asset to the family business.

Barista only part of the problem, they need to buy in better quality beans. I sampled some of the beans bagged. No aroma. Try Horsham Coffee  or Surrey Hills Coffee. They can also then as a deli, sell the freshly roasted beans, with roast date. As Krema sell Horsham, to offer an alternative, go for Surrey Hills.

Outside tomatoes and other salads and fruit and vegetables. Not sure if for show or sale.

With the excellent greengrocer now closed, there is a market. Or take over his shop.

With three coffee shops one also a deli, selling coffee, tea, cakes and bread, I cannot see Loaf surviving.

Loaf serves very poor quality tea and coffee, overpriced  bread and they close early.

At the end of the day, if Downing Street Deli has cakes, bread, sauces or fresh pasta left, they ask customers if they would like it for free.

A nice gesture, food does not go to waste, and customers get to sample what they may not otherwise buy.

Loaf by contrast bins its unsold bread at the end of the day. Disgraceful behaviour.

Fresh pasta had gone when I looked in. I am looking forward to trying one day.

I did not see today, but a friendly cat is often to be found in the deli.

Excellent soup and cappuccino in Krema

April 9, 2016
cappuccino

cappuccino

Excellent tomato soup in Krema. To be precise, tomato and mascarpone cheese, with a hint of paprika.  No skimping on portion size, portion size generous.

I was going to ask for a glass of water. I did not have to, one was brought.

Excellent cappuccino.

I prefer cappuccino without chocolate and cocoa is better than chocolate, but I prefer to be asked.

Chocolate ruins a cappuccino, as does sugar, but in this case,  it did not.

I would have had a flapjack, I would have preferred a cookie, but decided on a walnut and coffee cake. I prefer cake with tea. The cake was excellent too.

As well as coffee from the espresso machine, Krema are experimenting with cold brew coffee.

Would I like to try?

I was brought  a small frosted glass, a cold brewed Kenyan coffee.

To say the least, very unusual, an acquired taste. Nothing like coffee. I expected something bitter. Not so, a fruity taste. Almost like an alcoholic drink without the alcohol.

On my  one and only visit, I was probably a bit hard on the barsita, a little bit miserable and needed to loosen up.

Maybe he had a hard day, maybe not the friendly type.

Not so today, went out of his way to be helpful, explain the coffee, the soup, the cake.

I would rather people were themselves than the plastic smile in a chain.

With excellent coffee available, someone knowledgeable on coffee, it begs the question of why anyone drinks the disgusting coffee in Caffe Nero, Costa or tax dodging Starbucks?

Though I would add, Krema is always packed, Starbucks near empty.

Maybe word is getting out.

Mama’s Baking

March 26, 2016
delicious cakes

delicious cakes

This is a lovely little coffee shop, not been open many weeks, home-baked cakes, two lovely Russian speaking girls, opposite Cafe-Cafe.

I tried the coffee, not bad not good.

They need to buy in much higher quality beans, and the girls improve their skill at coffee making.

But far superior to Cafe-Cafe, which is an excuse to part pretentious fools from their money.

I would suggest buy beans from La Bohème, a quality coffee roaster.

Ginger Two

August 27, 2014
Ginger Two

Ginger Two

Ginger Two is a little coffee bar down a side street off the High Street in Winchester.

I spotted it as I was looking for Eat Drink and Be. None too impressed by the lunchtime menu, I carried on with my search for Eat Drink and Be. I eventually found Eat Drink and Be, right at the top of the High Street. Lacking in atmosphere, I decided to walk back down to Ginger Two.

I was too late for lunch, kitchen closed, but they did offer to knock me up a sandwich.

Prawns, lots if them, served in quality brown bread, with a few leaves.

I was not though impressed be served a glass of warm water. They should at least of run the tap, and most places usually drop in a slice of lemon, often ice too.

Lots of delicious looking cakes on display, which I indulged in with a pot of Ceylon tea.

They warned me their breakfast tea was very strong. The Ceylon tea I found to be very weak.

I made the mistake of drinking with milk. I drink tea with no milk, but when out, usually with milk, as never quality tea.

The tea was in a tea bag. I would have preferred loose tea leaves as alwasy better tea. But at least not teapigs which is rubbish tea from Tetley, masquerading as high quality tea from an indie tea company.

Very posh stunningly attractive girls serving. And very friendly and helpful. Knew and took an interest and pride in what they were serving. A marked difference to Costa or tax-dodging Starbucks.

I noticed coffee was on sale, both what they were serving (which I did not try), but only in 1kg bags, which is why they also sold a different sourced coffee as available in smaller bags.

Ginger Two would be a good location for BookCrossing.

Wifi? I do not know, I did not ask, but I did not notice anyone using laptops or tablets.

lack of wifi could be seen as a plus, as people were actually sat talking to each other.

Walls would be better deployed exhibiting local artists.

Open until six o’clock, Thursday, Friday and Saturday until nine o’clock when morphs into a wine bar.

Begs the question why does anyone frequent Costa or Starbucks or Caffe Nero, overpriced disgusting coffee, factory cakes and awful corporate environment? But then why does anyone eat in McDonald’s.

Diagonally opposite Ginger Gelato, an ice cream parlour. Outside, quote of the day. Suggest each day, a quote from Adultery, Paulo Coelho’s latest book.

Afternoon tea at Glutton & Glee

July 11, 2014
afternoon tea

afternoon tea

I only just made it before they closed. They were busy. Luckily they agreed to serve me.

I sat in the little courtyard out the back with a pot of tea and a flapjack.

Closing at 5pm, may make sense in the winter, but not in the summer. People are used to visiting Europe, there are many European visitors in Guildford.

To close at 5pm in the summer is bizarre.

All it means is, they lose custom to Starbucks, Costa, and then, the customers do not go back.

I initially only started frequenting Harris + Hoole because Glutton & Glee was closed, discovered they have quality coffee, pleasant staff, nice atmosphere upstairs (downstairs too noisy) and then became a regular. It is only in the last few weeks I have returned to Glutton & Glee, because too nice to be indoors (but cannot sit out late afternoon as closed).

Talking to a couple outside, who were not locals, they said it was bizarre places closed so early when people are out. They said they often have Germans visiting, and they find odd, people about money in their pocket to spend, and everywhere closed.

If you have been in Guildford all afternoon, it is pleasant to be able to relax with a drink, before setting off back home. But unless you wish to visit a pub, very limited in choice by the end of the afternoon.

The counter argument is, but we would have no customers, thus not worth it. This is simply not true. Harris + Hoole, is busy this time of day, for the very reason, people like to find somewhere at the end of the day, and they do not wish to go somewhere ghastly like Costa or Starbucks and drink their equally ghastly coffee.

Glutton & Glee are participants in Guildford Independent’s Day.

BookStop Cafe

January 15, 2014
Norman House

Norman House

Bookstop Cafe located in the undercroft of Norman House

Bookstop Cafe located in the undercroft of Norman House

BookStop Cafe is conveniently located halfway up Steep Hill, ideal location, for a tea, a rest, then carry on up the hill to Castle Hill, Lincoln Castle, Lincoln Cathedral and Bailgate.

I looked in last week, or was it the week before, and found a very charming and helpful girl. I asked was it her business, she said no, she helped to run it.

I asked how long had it been there? I think she said since last May.

BookStop Cafe is literally located in the undercroft of a Norman House, and I was surprised how far it extends back. The ground floor is occupied by Imperial Teas, and it is their teas BookStop Cafe serve. Also served in Pimieno Tea Rooms, which are also worth a visit.

A bookshop cum cafe, clearly a labour of love.

The books are a mix of second hand, local authors and independent authors. They have authors talking about their books, book signing, and occasional live music.

I said time permitting, I would pop back. Today, I finally found the time to pop back.

Today I was in luck and found the owner.

I suggested invite Steve Lawson and Karl Svarc to play. I suggested a couple of writers who may be interested, including Steph Bradley for story telling. I also suggested act as a distribution hub for Transition Free Press. Room permitting, I also suggest act as a BookCrossing zone. Indeed, I would go so far as to suggest, any author on sale or who gives a talk, they donate at least one book for BookCrossing.

Looking out from BookStop Cafe a marvellous view, down Steep Hill, across the valley, to South Common.