Posts Tagged ‘cakes’

Pino

December 27, 2019

A greasy spoon cafe with pleasant decor.

Location is wrong for two reasons.

  • On a corner of a busy junction, no outside seating, if there was too polluted.
  • Within spitting distance of two greasy spoon cafes, two corporate chains serving disgusting undrinkable coffee.

Bread sourced from Iceland.

Coffee sourced from LavAzza. .

Layout poor, too much space devoted to their serving counter reducing the seating area.

Ambience not pleasant, mainly due to poor layout and hard surfaces, very noisy, impossible to relax.

LavAzza therefore my expectations were low, and they were not exceeded. Cappuccino with chocolate dumped on top sent back, second coffee undrinkable. All the classic mistakes, including coffee scalding hot.

Why oh why does no one know do not put chocolate on top of a cappuccino? Not unless trying to disguise that is crap coffee. At the very least ask. And a good coffee shop would not dream of asking as would not wish to insult their clientele.

No water brought to the table, nor could I see water on display to help oneself to.

The norm in Athens, as soon as sit down, ice cold water brought to the table. It is called service.

Ibriks on display. For show? To my surprise they served Turkish coffee. Though the bed of sand not large enough. I did not try.

Poor use of social media. Facebook, a message box pops up even though may have no wish to post a message. If do, lack the courtesy to reply.

Maybe would have got away with opening a greasy spoon cafe serving undrinkable coffee ten years ago, not now, the world has moved on, and if wish to drink undrinkable coffee have the corporate chains, two of which Caffe Nero and Costa are located nearby.

The market is saturated. If opening these days have to serve quality coffee, quality food, otherwise on a hiding to nothing. Source coffee from local roasteries Stokes or Seven Districts but God forbid not from Lincoln Tea and Coffee, cakes and bread from a local bakery.

Bricked-up windows opened up have improved a red-brick Victorian building, but why the grief and hassle by the local council, three months delay for a resolution? If going to give grief give for the garish entrance out of character with the building not the windows. The same council with not a clue what constitutes good town centre design, the town centre trashed, ugly buildings, binge drinking bars.

Love Brownies Guildford revisited

November 22, 2019

Last week I passed Love Brownies Guildford in Tunsgate, splashed across the window, Now Open, only they were not open.

An example of Guildford surrealism, Alice down the rabbit hole.

Tuesday Love Brownies Guildford were rumoured to be open.

Were they? Er yes and no.

A handful of people there in the afternoon, but not open. Open at five, but only to the media.

If tried to attend the media event, ordered out by ignorant Yorkshire man. How to alienate the locals, a classic example of how not to a launch event.

The success of their exclusive media event not a mention in the media.

Friday try again.

Yes, were open, only one customer, three staff.

Find a clean table. One table dirty, another piled with dirty dishes.

I settled for a stool by a shelf in an alcove. Furthest away from the door. The tables were conveniently arranged by the door, a blast of cold air every time the door opened. The tables were jammed far too close together, difficult for staff and customers to pass once it started to fill up.

I asked of the brownies. No one knew what was the difference, chocolate, double chocolate or triple chocolate. But a moot point, as only had double chocolate.

Cappuccino ordered. What size? There is only one size, the correct size.

A very long wait before order delivered, and this is an empty cafe, though it was slowly filling.

I moved away from the dirty table where I had first sat, and sat by a shelf. Banged my hand on the overhang. I banged my head again when I stood up.

Eventually a cappuccino arrived, all froth and foam with chocolate dumped on top. A brownie the size of a postage stamp.

I take the cappuccino back, say no chocolate, query the size of the brownie. It was a fraction of those on show.

I was told these were vegan, and yet I had pointed to one when ordered.

Tiny samples of a vegan brownies were on display, smaller than a sugar cube. These were ok. Unusual as vegan cakes are usually dire.

I could not say the same of what was brought to my little alcove. Very cloying. Nowhere the quality I have had at Coffee Lab when they were supplied by an independent bakery.

I questioned the cappuccino. All froth and foam, too hot, all the mistakes one could make.

It looked disgusting and was not good.

No surprise, cheap catering supply coffee from Caffe Society, clueless on coffee those making the the coffee. Not to be confused with Society Café a coffee shop serving excellent coffee.

When I queried the coffee, the usual defence for all ills, we have been trained.

An SCA qualified trainer? I doubt.

Ambience pleasant, bright and airy.

Two guys serving were pleasant.

For how long will they be giving away free brownies for birthday? Or will these free brownies be the sugar cube size samples?

Once again makes the point, cannot train baristas. Not that I would call them baristas, as to do so would be to insult baristas.

I asked of the cost of the espresso machine. Refused to say. I guessed less than £5,000. I hit the ballpark.

A good machine will be in excess of £10,000.

The size of a postage stamp brownie, anywhere else would be a sample, was in a little cardboard box.

At a time when we are trying to cut waste, reduce packaging, Love Brownies Guildford serving postage size brownies in a little cardboard box. And we thought we had a problem with supermarkets.

The brownies are shipped from Yorkshire.

Today I talked to someone who bakes quality cakes, including brownies. They said not economical to ship from Yorkshire, not unless using low quality cheap ingredients.

Though on the other hand if serving postage stamp size portions at at least pushes up the margins.

Award winning brownies?

The award, Great Taste award, a meaningless award that gets slapped on anything and everything, for which pay to obtain. No guarantee of quality.

To charge £5-50 for cheap low quality undrinkable catering supply coffee and a mediocre postage stamp size brownie is blatant rip off.

On display a glossy Surrey magazine. Not worth reading. Not sure if display or for sale.

Nothing of quality for example Cereal, Ambrosia, Drift, as find in quality coffee shops.

In a addition to mediocre brownies and poor quality coffee, what could only be described as overpriced gifts, make the whole operation look like a poundland or poor man’s version of Caracoli.

This type of tourist tat may sell to gullible American tourists in a tea shop in Ilkley,  I cannot see it selling to locals in Guildford.

If wish to buy honey, local produce, try the farmers market in the High Street or the excellent cheese shop Partisan  in Chapel Street.

Only half a dozen tables, which is not viable.

In Athens ice cold water brought to the table. It is called service.

In Love Brownies Guildford had to ask.

What beggars belief is fools and their money easily parted have paid £50,000 for a franchise, for what is in essence a cafe serving poor quality coffee with a very limited choice of cakes.

I am reminded of the Monty Python sketch, spam, spam or spam.

In Love Brownies Guildford, a choice of brownies or brownies or brownies.

They could have simply opened a cafe serving mediocre coffee and sourced cakes locally for a fraction of the price.

Or save on the franchise, invested in decent equipment, hired a skilled head barista, sourced quality coffee, and still had change to spare.

These days on a hiding to nothing opening a coffee shop serving poor quality coffee, as have the tax dodging corporate chains serving bad coffee. And in a town saturated with coffee shops, does nothing to add to the coffee scene.

In Guildford, if love coffee, there is Krema, ironically only a few doors away from Love Brownies Guildford. Quality coffee, a choice of cakes not restricted to brownies, and the brownies if you want brownies are at least a decent size, not a postage stamp size.

After my visit, the coffee left untouched apart from a sip, a decent coffee in Krema.

Love Brownies Guildford located in Tunsgate opposite Tunsgate Quarter zombie shopping centre.

Love Brownies Guildford

November 19, 2019

Friday last week across the window of Love Brownies Guildford in big letters Now Open. Only they were not open.

Welcome to Guildford surrealism.

Rumour was open Tuesday.

Late into Guildford, nevertheless stopped and had an excellent cappuccino off FCB kiosk followed by excellent late lunch at Bamboo Shoots in Jeffries Passage.

Passed by Love Brownies Guildford late afternoon, my only reason for visiting Guildford. They appeared to be open, maybe.

No, not open, open for media at five.

Now a little odd, open only for invited guests, not a good way to get your coffee shop known.

At the very least would have thought would have offered a coffee, but no.

Five actually quite late considering the weather, most people want to be home.

I suggested if wished media coverage put out a well written press release to Surrey Advertiser and lazy scribblers will regurgitate.

Yorkshire man: I will talk to our marketing department.

Marketing department. WTF, it’s a coffee shop. He also fed me bullshit about branding.

Once people start talking about marketing and branding, they have completely lost the plot.

Nothing about the coffee, single origin, where sourced from.

Clueless too on use of social media, no mention new coffee shop opening in Guildford.

Cappuccino in Krema, gone five, maybe just time to pop in Love Brownies Guildford before the shops close.

I walked in, lady by the door, she says says yes, please come in, your are very welcome. Explains to me she did their design, and that the businesses started selling gifts on-line and expanded from there.

Good design is all well and good, but at the end of the day, it is all about the coffee.

I ask of the coffee, I am pointed to the coffee counter and told ask there.

I ask of their coffee.

Caffe Society who I have never heard of. I check later, a supplier of cheap catering supply coffee, thus no interest in quality coffee.

These days no excuse whatsoever to source poor quality coffee. In Yorkshire I am aware of Dark Woods, North Star, The Blending Room, to name but three.

Local to Guildford, in Hampshire, Surrey, Sussex, London, there are many excellent coffee roasteries, far too many to name.

I learn Love Brownies a chain of nine coffee shops based in Yorkshire, by the end of the year 19, or maybe that was the target for a year.

The franchise scam. Minimum investment of £50,000, £25,000 up front. Fools and their money easily parted.

The woman I was talking to knew nothing of Brew & Brownie Bake Shop in York. Very odd when a very popular coffee shop in York with emphasis on brownies, especially when Love Brownies based in Yorkshire and ship their brownies down to Guildford every day from Yorkshire.

The set up is like a watered down version of Caracoli, coffee shop cum deli with overpriced gifts, nether one nor the other. One reason Carocoli went bust.

The woman I talked had no idea of Caracoli.

Surely you do your homework?

I ordered a cappuccino. Asked what size, Er, wrong question, the correct size. I wandered around to find it was waiting for me.

It then turned very unpleasant. The woman who I had been talking to said I could not have it just as the young guy who had made it handed it to me. All very embarrassing for the young guy who was trying to hand it to me.

I felt sorry for the guy. Allegedly trained and once again made the point cannot train baristas. It was all froth and foam, half an inch above the cup carpet bombed with chocolate. The only time I have seen a cappuccino this bad was at a dreadful coffee shop in Lincoln, The Old Mouse House Cheese Shop & Coffee Bar at the top of Steep hill.

No, no, no, this is not how you make and serve a cappuccino.

If this young guy wishes to learn how to brew coffee, then please go and work in a decent coffee shop.

I never did get to try the coffee, but from appearance, it was undrinkable, as at that point Yorkshire man ordered me out, reiterating it was a private function and my presence was not welcome.

Welcome to Yorkshire hospitality. How to win friends and influence people.

Yorkshire man not doing the fools and their money easily parted for the franchise any favours by almost frogmarching out a potential customer.

Any new coffee shop would welcome people to their launch event, as word of mouth these days essential.

Contrast with the launch of Blue Bear Bookshop in Farnham on Saturday. Everyone very welcoming, did their best to answer questions. But then they were not a franchise scam, it was a lady passionate about books, who always wanted to own a bookshop, and serving excellent coffee and local cakes.

I never did get to try the coffee, but from what I saw I would hazard a guess undrinkable coffee. And the rows of syrups indicated undrinkable coffee.

In which case what is the point? If want disgusting undrinkable coffee we have the tax-dodging corporate coffee chains.

Today if opening a coffee shop, have to be passionate about coffee, know about coffee, and serve quality coffee.

And for those who appreciate quality coffee, we already have in Tunsgate, Krema. And I cannot see any of their clientele drinking bad coffee.

Love Brownies Guildford located in Tunsgate opposite the Tunsgate Quarter zombie shopping centre.

Ohh Boy revisited

November 18, 2019

Pretentious cake shop serving mediocre coffee, not doing Taf any favours.

What a difference a few days make.

I stumbled upon Ohh Boy a couple of days previous when lost coming down from Lycabettas Hill in the dark. No time for a coffee, I said I would revisit.

Then friendly, today no, rude barista who could not make coffee.

Giving Taf a bad name. Very pretentious.

I asked at the bar, told go and find a seat to be served.

All tables occupied.

I sat on a stool by an open window. Told no, cannot sit there. But OK to sit there and blow smoke in through the open window onto coffee and food.

I joined a lady at a table drinking white wine.

A long wait before served, I asked at the counter, and was told to find a seat and the waiter would take my order. No water brought to the table until coffee brought. Previous visit water brought as I sat down.

Coffee served in a dainty china tea cup. Served with sugar, which is insulting. Maybe a commentary on the not very good coffee.

I had found a seat with a lady at a table. As she was leaving, I said she had made a wise choice with wine as the coffee not good. She agreed, not for coffee, and knew many of the good coffee shops in Athens. I had been advised Ohh Boy good for cakes but not for coffee.

Not recommended. There are better places for Taf coffee. For example Little Tree, Duo Goulies & Duo Mpoukies and of course Taf.

Ohh Boy

November 14, 2019

A fleeting visit, Wednesday evening three weeks ago in Athens, I stumbled across Ohh Boy by accident.

Coming down off Lycabettas Hill in the dark, I was lost, disorientated, not n a clue where I was, and for all I knew, heading off away from where I wished to be.

Eventually I encountered Ohh Boy, and asked may I use their wifi.

I find I am nowhere near where I thought I was.

I had a glass of water. Did I wish for a coffee? No, I was already late, noted Taf coffee served which was a good sign and said I would return another day.

I try to avoid main roads. I thought I was heading to Syntagma. I must have gone way way out of my way, as only when passed by Olympic Stadium of the First Modern Olympics did I realise I was heading the opposite way to the Olympian Temple of Zeus. I then knew where I was, took a slightly longer route but on quieter streets. I had gone way out of my way.

Yogurt followed by a cappuccino at Lazaris Bakery

November 4, 2019

A yogurt followed by a cappuccino at Lazaris Bakery.

Yogurt excellent, cappuccino in a league of it own for disgusting undrinkable coffee.

I have had a coffee before and knew it not to be good, but I do not recall it being this bad.

I left untouched after one sip.

Every mistake made, served scalding hot, cheap low quality coffee.

That it was served with two packets of sugar in the saucer sasy all you need to know. Sugar served as a warning sign. Our coffee is so bad you will need this sugar to mask the vile taste.

The rude guy who made the cappuccino, it would be an insult to baristas to call him a barista, was showing a girl how to make coffee. What was it, a demonstration of how to make bad coffee. Not helped by using cheap crap coffee beans.

I did not watch, but, but no attempt at precision, the beans at a guess over roasted.

Why oh why drinking outside from takeaway cups.

To sit outside pleasant but for the smoking and traffic fumes.

Needs to be No Smoking and the area pedestrianised and traffic free.

Lazaris is a sympathetic restoration of a old building. It would make an excellent coffee shop if only they served drinkable coffee.

A good place to eat, but not for coffee.

It was then on to Paul’s Coffee Roasters where at least guaranteed decent coffee.

The Depot Eatery

September 3, 2019

The Depot Eatery in Kelham Island, a bus ride or tram ride away from Sheffield city centre.

No idea where catch a bus.

I eventually found the correct bus, long wait, 20 minutes for next bus, I wandered off to Winter Garden, only then to learn a different bus due.

I head back, catch No 7, I was earlier waiting for No 8 or 8A.

I asked bus driver, he tells me he does not know where he is going. He then tells me there is a diversion.

I follow the route on Google maps, alight at correct bus stop.

Kelham Island a desolate area. Red brick abandoned foundries and warehouses, but I see has potential if the buildings are renovated not demolished.

I find where I need to be, but first look in a cheese dairy, Sheffield Cheese Masters the only cheese maker in Sheffield.

I do not stop, head next door to The Depot Eatery.

Do they serve food food? Yes. Kitchen is now closed. I ask when does it close. Three. It is on the dot of three. This is Sheffield service.

Contrast with (from The North and North Wales Independent Coffee Guide):

Owner Jon’s Kiwi heritage shines through in the emphasis on quality food and drink, along with nothing-is-too-much-trouble friendly service.

That The Depot Eatery is featured in The North and North Wales Independent Coffee Guide is no surprise. It is little more than a scam masquerading as an independent guide to coffee shops, the coffee shops pay to be listed and write their own entries, hence the overblown bullshit.

I settle for a sandwich. Roast vegetables adulated with some vile tasting gloop. The bread was interesting.

I asked of the bread. I was told brioche bap. It was not.

Next door a bakery. But open warehouse, not ideal for a bakery, or food preparation, as impossible to keep clean.

Coffee is Ozone and Has Been. Ozone a big mistake.

Tamper (the same owner) used to use Ozone and Dark Woods coffee. Big mistake ditching Dark Woods and replacing with Has Bean. It should have been the other way around, ditch Ozone and replace with Has Bean.

I order a cappuccino. It is served with chocolate.

Why oh why does no one know how to serve a cappuccino? It is not served with chocolate.

Cappuccino ok, better than I expect for Ozone.

Something I have not seen before, Ozone produce what appears to be an annual magazine.

Not busy all the time I am there. But hardly surprising, middle of nowhere, and not somewhere would go out of the way for.

On walking in I was superficially reminded of The Barn. I say superficially, The Barn quality.

Refinery

May 11, 2019

High End Coffee

A few minutes walk along the River Spree from Brandenburg Gate.

Several different guest coffees.

An espresso blend from Bonanza, beans from Brazil and Colombia.

Wonderful aroma from the Bonanza espresso blend. Sufficiently impressed I bought a bag.

Not often a coffee shop excellent food and excellent coffee. Refinery one of those rare exceptions.

My lunch excellent, as was my cookie and cappuccino.

Good selection of magazines on offer, including BRYGG, which I had not seen before.

Interesting conversation with the owner and staff.

Lovely designed coffee shop.

I was recommended visit Ben Rahim, a short ride away on the metro.

Five Elephant Mitte

May 10, 2019

A lovely little coffee shop, coffee and cakes, light steaming in through the rear window.

Excellent cappuccino.

A good range of single origin coffee on sale, all the more surprising therefore no pour over on offer to try the coffee.

Located Mitte, a few minutes walk from Rosa Luxemburg Platz.

Vine’s Bakery

April 6, 2019

Vine’s Bakery opened on Friday at the foot of Steep Hill.

Although they only opened on Friday, and selection currently poor, it was as though Lincoln had never seen a bread shop before, maybe have not, as a steady stream of people passing through the door into the shop.

I thought with them being open on a Sunday, they were open seven days a week, but no, closed Monday and Tuesday.

The location is not good, bottom of Steep Hill. Either have to walk up the High Street and The Strait or down Steep Hill.

Ideal location would have been Bailgate where they wished to open, but were blocked by shortsighted businesses in the Bail.

High minimum order for wholesale, too high. No one is going to take a chance on an unknown entity, unknown quality, unknown quality. There should be no minimum. This gives the opportunity to slowly grow the business.

I wished for a wholemeal loaf. No wholemeal. I settled for a seeded brown. OK but not great.

I have also tried a white loaf. It was not good.

Serving coffee is not a good idea. Who wants a bad coffee when there is excellent coffee to be had from Coffee Aroma and Madame Waffle? Focus on bread and cakes. Begs the question planning consent for a cafe?

Ludicrous reporting by hack on the local rag, they had a tour of the bread shop. Tour? A counter and shelves with bread.