Posts Tagged ‘Guildford’

Afternoon in Guildford

November 17, 2017

A very cold day, sunny but cold.

Waterstone’s has a reasonable, though not great, selection of coffee books.

O2 has the new One Plus Five. At £500 expensive. Though half the ludicrous £1000 for an iPhone X.

An ice ring at The Village.

Not as it may seem innovation, many towns are now doing this.

Something I did not learn until later, Guildford has an ice ring (I should have known this as I used to see people carrying ice skates), so why does it need one at The Village?

Not a single person on the ice ring.

The Village opened in the summer. It has never been a success. If not a success in the summer, it was unlikely to succeed once it turned cold and dark.

September, most of the businesses had pulled out.

A couple of weeks ago, more new businesses.

Looking today, I do not know whether these new businesses have already puled out, but few of the units were open.

But, what has now happened, sheds have been dumped on site selling junk food. What are they trying to do, turn Guildford into Aldershot? It is also unfair to the existing businesses who have stuck it out.

I walk by a stall on the market that sells coffee beans. I have yet to ever see anyone buy from this stall. The beans therefore must be old. I looked today. Anonymous plastic sacks, no information on the beans, no roast date. There are better places in Guildford from where to buy coffee beans.

Always buy coffee beans from a reputable indy coffee shop or from a reputable coffee roaster.

The stall also sells tea. This I did not check out, but if I wanted tea, I would buy from Bamboo Shoots in Jeffries Passage where the guy is an expert on tea.

It was Bamboo Shoots where I was headed for lunch.

No honey crunch chicken. I had prawns with brown rice. Excellent.

Top of High Street, Steamer Trading, up market expensive kitchen shop.

Did they have coffee making gear? Not that I could see, Nespresso machines, and surprising, domestic espresso machines. I would not recommend either

A lady asked could she help me. Yes we do have, She took me to a corner, where V60, aeropress, though not Chemex or Japanese syphon.

 

I may have just made a train, but decided cappuccino at Harris + Hoole. High staff turnover since being taken over by tax-dodging Caffe Nero. Death by a thousand cuts. Today, once again new faces I have not seen before. Caffe Nero has now managed to lose all their good staff.

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Afternoon in Guildford

November 10, 2017

A cold afternoon.

Lunch in Debenhams? Roast pork? Roast turkey, and not yet even December.

Does Waterstone’s have Coffee Art, London Coffee? Surprising yes Coffee Art, surprising no London Coffee.

Usually Waterstone’s has no books on coffee, today a reasonable selection.

But why promote Where To Drink Coffee which is rubbish?

Also promoting a book by Nick Clegg. Why would anyone wish to buy a book by Nick Clegg?

An example of all that is wrong with Waterstone’s.  I can wander around and be spoilt for choice and yet what they promote is crap.  Why? Because they are paid by publishers to promote the crap.

Pomegranates on the market at reasonable price, three for two pounds. There must be a glut.

As always, excellent lunch at Bamboo Shoots.

Earlier in the week shocked but not surprised to find Thai restaurant in Jeffries Passage closed.

It used to be an excellent restaurant one of the few places in Guildford worth eating, but of late gone down hill, destroyed by the staff.  The decline noticeable that Bamboo Shoots has seen no jump in business following the closure.

I let Tourist Information know it is closed.

Pop back to the market, another stall, four pomegranates for two pounds, even better. I buy two for a pound.

Quick coffee in Harris + Hoole.

Strange how no one  was aware of National Cappuccino Day.

Cold and much colder once sun going down.

Guildford farmers market

November 7, 2017

A cold wet miserable day.

A dosa. A mistake as I was having lunch later.

Half a loaf of bread and a couple of cakes off Celtic Bakers.

Tempted by tomatoes.

A couple of flapjacks off new stall selling flapjacks.

Honey from honey stall.

Apples off apple stall.

A few days ago an article claiming apples left rotting on the trees, lack of pickers, would be worst when we left EU.

It sounded like typical scaremongering from Leave campaign.

I asked were the apples rotting on the trees?

No.

A few trees yes but in general no.

Thus as I suspected the post a few days ago of apples rotting on the tress was garbage

What of the workers and impact of leaving EU?

A mix of migrant workers from Roumania, a few from Poland and the rest from UK.

The migrant workers move around, crops are seasonal.

Could not see any problems obtaining migrant workers once leave EU and saw it as scaremongering by Leave campaign.

Lunch at bamboo Shoots.

Coffee at Harris + Hoole. It was not very good and I did not enjoy. I did not enjoy last Friday either.

I asked, has the coffee changed since the summer or is it me?

No, the coffee has not changed.

It is me, I have been spoilt by being served coffee in Athens last couple of weeks by champion baristas.

Only one person serving and making the coffee. Death by a thousand cuts by tax-dodging Caffe Nero. Contrast with several people serving in Krema in Farnham.  The difference being Krema an indie coffee shop, not owned by a  greed-driven corporation.

Afternoon in Guildford

September 22, 2017

This morning clear blue sky from sunrise. Afternoon sunshine and clouds.

It has been several weeks since I have passed through The Village. It has now all but collapsed. Many of the businesses have pulled out. I was sorry to see the ice cream shop had gone, about the only success story. Those that remain and new businesses are a classic case of self-delusion.

If it was not a success in the summer then it is not going to be a success as the nights draw in and it gets cold and dark.

Sticking outdoor heaters is not the answer. There is no better example of crass stupidity than trying to heat outdoor air. If it is too cold to sit outside, do not sit outside. These heaters should be banned. Or does no one still get it over global warming? How many more destructive hurricanes do we have to see? it is also to throw more good money after bad. How much longer is the local council going to pour public money into this black hole?

There is to be a street food festival at The Village. Not the best location. The High Street would be a far better location. But I can see why The Village want it, in the hope it will pull in the punters.

Excellent lunch at Bamboo Shoots in Jeffries Passage, honey crunch chicken with brown rice. Very tasty, generous portion size. A new Chinese girl working in Bamboo Shoots. Very pleasant personality.

Bambook Shoots is one of the best places to eat in Guildford.

The Thai restaurant next door closed. It says closed for staff holidays. Rumour has it that it has closed.

I am not surprised. It is always empty. It used to be an excellent place to eat, but the staff have done their best when the boss not there to destroy its reputation.

In Food For Thought, the young guy I sometimes talk to about coffee, told me he had spent three years at Lincoln University.

A sign outside Wairose directing to Canopy Coffee for eats. Unlikely to wish to eat, on the other hand directing to a coffee shop for coffee would make sense. I wonder how long before either Waitrose or the local council effect its removal.

A cappuccino at Canopy Coffee. I have spent several weeks visiting top class coffee shops. How does Canopy Coffee compare? It does not. Not to say bad coffee, but not in the same league as the best coffee shops. I picked up a bag of Santa Lucia from Honduras roasted by Origin Coffee. Strange not shown on the Origin website.

It was then a cappuccino at Harris + Hoole. Which is always consistently good, and today was no exception.

Tunsgate

August 11, 2017

Looked in on Ben’s Records. Something I have not done since last year.

To reach Ben’s from the High Street, meant I had to walk through Tunsgate as Ben’s Records is at the end.

I was shocked by the state of Tunsgate. Work started then halted when it was discovered gas and water pipes too close to the surface. In the meantime small businesses in Tunsgate see a loss of trade. And did the street require work, er no.

Did no one conduct a survey before work commenced? Seemingly not.

The Tunsgate Shopping Centre is an eyesore, derelict now for years. It should be demolished.

Like all local councils, Guildford likes to indulge in vanity projects, whilst at the same time denying vital services money.

Resurfacing the High Street last year cost £1 million. Yes, the work was necessary, and the contractors carried out an excellent job, but why then allow traffic through after four o’clock, in what is a pedestrianised street?

The Village, at £1 million, plus a further £90,000 for summer relaunch, is an appalling waste of public money, badly managed, and that is only the costs we know about. The concept good, but ill-thought through, badly managed and the wrong location. It was known the location was wrong, as the farmers market collapsed when it was moved to this location last year when the High Street was dug up.

The Village is always deserted. Only the last couple of weeks has it been busy, and busy a relative term, with activities for kids during the school holidays

Dumping sand outside the Electric Theatre is another example of waste of money. And that is likely to empty The Village of kids.

Too many local councils have no idea of what constitutes good town centre planning or how local economies function. It was on that basis that In Business last night was a breath of fresh air, local communities rebuilding their local economies. Bottom up works, top down does not, and yet local councils are still in bed with big business and greedy developers who are destroying our town centres. One only has to look at Aldershot or Lincoln to see how bad town planning and greed is destroying once viable town centres.

In Lincoln they are to repave part of the High Street which has been recently pedestrianised at a cost of £800,000 which means it will probably cost £1 million. But it fails to address the problem of motorised vehicles allowed through a pedestrianised town centre before 10 am and after 4 pm and any times between time due too lack of of enforcement, or more accurately the lack of will to enforce.

A pedestrianised area should be just that, exclusive for pedestrians, emergency vehicles only. Deliveries via hand cart or trolley from lorry bays on the outskirts. The norm in Europe.

It does not get much worse than Aldershot. Decades of bad town centre planning, net result, empty boarded up shops. When even the pound shops pull out, you know the end is nigh.

Afternoon in Guildford

August 11, 2017

Another of those days when the weather does not seem able to make up its mind between cool and warm.

The Village again not busy, busy would be an exaggeration, but more people as school holidays. Though once the beach or whatever it is called opens next to the Electric Theatre, they will probably vanish.

On my way to Bamboo Shoots, shop at fruit and vegetable stall. The coffee stall as I pass by, no one. I have yet to ever see a customer. The cheese stall is more or less the same since an excellent cheese shop opened on Guildford in Chapel Street.

It is easy to see why I never see anyone at the coffee stall. No roast date, if ask questions, reluctance to answer. No roast date indicates only one thing, old beans, and with a wide variety of beans and low turnover, another indication of old beans.

If you want quality coffee, go to a speciality coffee shop that has fresh coffee, knows about the coffee, and can and is willing to answer questions.

The coffee stall also has tea. For tea, visit Bamboo Shoots, a wide variety of tea imported from India and China with a very knowledgeable proprietor.

Excellent lunch at Bamboo Shoots. Steamed bun, steamed dough stuffed with Chinese roast pork char siu, followed by crunchy honey chicken served with rice and stir fried vegetables, everything freshly prepared.

Looked in on Ben’s Records. Shocked by the state of Tunsgate. Work started then halted when it was discovered gas and water pipes too close to the surface. In the meantime small businesses in Tunsgate see a loss of trade. And did the street require work, er no.

Like all local councils, Guildford likes to indulge in vanity projects, whilst at the same time denying vital services money.

Resurfacing the High Street last year cost £1 million. Yes, the work was necessary, and the contractors carried out an excellent job, but why then allow traffic through after four o’clock, in what is a pedestrianised street?

The Village, at £1 million, plus a further £90,000 for summer relaunch, is an appalling waste of public money, badly managed, and that is only the costs we know about. The concept good, but ill-thought through, badly managed and the wrong location. It was known the location was wrong, as the farmers market collapsed when it was moved to this location last year when the High Street was dug up.

Dumping sand outside the Electric Theatre is another example of waste of money.

Too many local councils have no idea of what constitutes good town centre planning or how local economies function. It was on that basis that In Business last night was a breath of fresh air, local communities rebuilding their local economies. Bottom up works, top down does not, and yet local councils are still in bed with big business and greedy developers who are destroying our town centres. One only has to look at Aldershot or Lincoln to see how bad town planning and greed is destroying once viable town centres.

Cappuccino at Canopy Coffee. Was able to try their latest guest coffee, Rwanda from North Star Coffee Roasters.

Walked through The Village, late afternoon and deserted. The businesses are closing earlier and earlier, and who can blame them.

Afternoon in Guildford

August 4, 2017

Morning quite cool, afternoon pleasantly warm

Today busiest I have seen The Village. Some sort of activity for kids.

A couple of weeks ago, an area had been laid out for crazy golf. I assumed for the summer, or at the very least school holidays.  The following week it had gone. By the time word of mouth gets out, it has gone. Just one of many examples of mismanagement of this site, and why it needs a change of management.

Last week and I looked again today in Lakeland. It is a shop that sells kitchen ware. I somewhat foolishly assumed maybe they sell coffee making equipment, eg Chemex, V60, Japanese syphon, Kalita Wave, French press, coffee grinders, maybe even swan-necked kettle for pouring, digital scales. But no, instead shelves of Nespresso machines and clones thereof, ideal for making rubbish coffee. I would have asked, but was ignored by staff. A man looking, I advised do not waste your money. He thanked me and walked out.

I contrast with Coffee Island in Covent Garden.  An excellent range of coffee making equipment. And no, they do not insult their customers with Nespresso machines.

Lunch at Bamboo Shoots in Jeffries Passage. Excellent honey coated crunchy chicken as I had last week. I also decided to try steamed bun. I assumed a dumpling, but no. It is dough as a bun but steamed and much larger, maybe the size of a small stuffed apple. Very tasty. Not something I have come across before.

Food at Bamboo Shoots highly recommended.  Everything freshly prepared.

A cappuccino at Canopy Coffee. Followed by a filter coffee using Kalita Wave and one of their guest coffees, I always let them choice,  Sumava Lourdes from Costa Rica roasted by Square Mile. I have been spoilt.  Nothing now compares with Finca Immaculada Laurina  let alone Martin Hudak Signature Geisha, first from Colombia, second from Panama, both roasted by Union.

I walked through The Village. Now early evening. Back to the moronic music thudding out. Empty.

Guildford farmers market

August 1, 2017

First Tuesday of the month, Guildford farmers market in the High Street.

A pleasant warm and sunny afternoon.

Walking up and down the market, I notice the absent of regulars, who have been absent since the debacle last year when the farmers market was relocated to a  car park. The same location where The Village is an unmitigated diesaster indicating no lessons have been learnt.

Bread and a couple of sweet ad savoury pastries of Celtic Bakers.

The apple stall, new season Discovery.

I had a chat about coffee cupping at Taylor St Roasted, the different varieties from the same estate.  The man was able to point to the apples and tell me which trees they came from, differences most people would not even notice.

No dosa. Queues when I passed by earlier, when I returned later nothing left.

By now very hungry.

I set off for Canopy Coffee, but coffee shops are never good places to eat, or rarely so.

I passed by Bamboo Shoots in Jeffries Passage, a Singapore noodle joint. I decided to have honey coated crunchy chicken.

The man asked if I remembered the Chinese girl. Yes, I was about to ask about her. She had graduated and left the country.

When we met, she shared her tea with me. I in return took her for a coffee.

We had a brief conversation about tea. He imports tea from China and India, maybe around 50 different loose leaf teas.

He knew of Imperial Teas, halfway up Steep Hill in Lincoln.

He kindly gave me a small sample of Dragon Well, a Chinese tea, explained how to brew.

I say kindly gave, £20 per 50 grams, very expensive tea.

What I had was quite spicy, I needed to remove the taste as was going to try high quality coffee at Canopy.

I tried Purbeck stem ginger ice cream. Very poor quality ice cream. if not for the ginger, it would have been even worse. I suggested he try Dylan’s ice cream. Either from the van on the farmers market or from The Village.

And on to Canopy Coffee, a quick look in Food for Thought. A young guy working there who I had talked about coffee a few weeks ago thanked me for recommending to him Union coffee.

Cappuccino in Canopy, then try Geisha, brewed with a Kalita Wave, which I took along for them to try. It was excellent.

Canopy Coffee is a connoisseurs coffee shop, ever changing coffee to try.

Today North Star but will not be available until the weekend.

Sue who organises the farmers market, it was her last day, she retires. I would have said goodbye and wished her well, but she was too busy chatting with her cronies.

Anyway, all the best Sue.

Kalita Wave at Canopy Coffee

July 28, 2017

My third visit to Canopy Coffee aka Coffee House at 62 Haydon Place.

Tomorrow they will have been open a month

A new barista, ex of Harris + Hoole.

The lovely juicy Kayon Mountain batch brewed on Moccamaster – just brewed! So sweet..

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After a cappuccino, they asked would I like to sample their filter coffee, a Keyon Mountain, maybe brewed 45 minutes earlier.

I asked would they like to try Finca Immaculada Laurina, Union Hand-Roasted from Colombia, sadly now past its optimum, as roasted 21 June, but still excellent.

It was brewed using a Kalita Wave, which I have not seen before, let alone tried. I had seen before in the coffee shop, thought a cheap clone of a Chemex, in many ways a cross between a Chemex and V60.

I learned why it is called V60, the angle is 60 degrees.

Beans carefully weighed and ground, the filter cleansed with hot water, brew carefully timed.

Hot water is poured over the ground coffee to allow it to bloom, lets the CO2 escape, then pour in slow concentric circles, pause, repeat, for four minutes

I would have thought same beans, different filter method, nevertheless filter, Japanese syphon compared with Kalita Wave, would be the same. I was surprised to find a big difference in taste.

The resultant clear brew poured into small glasses, we all tried, including a couple of customers.

All agreed excellent filter coffee.

Afternoon in Guildford

July 28, 2017

Cool, an hour warm, then rain and cool.

Just when could not think The Village could not get any worse, today looking like a used-car lot.

Walking on site, moronic music blaring out of the in-site speakers. Sufficient to make one turn on ones heals and walk out.

It was having the desired effect, even fewer people than usual.

The guy selling burgers, who only opened a couple of weeks ago, full of enthusiasm,  has woken up to reality, and has already pulled out.

To put in context, Guildford town centre this afternoon packed.

No Greek food.

Last week a drama performance, nothing to say who or what it was, even the stalls had no idea.  I subsequently learnt it was a pre-performance of The Railway Children, now on at the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre.

I learnt that last Saturday The Village closed at 3-30 in the afternoon due to heavy rain.

Serious questions need to be asked of the management of this site.

Lunch at Thai restaurant not great. When the boss not there, never very good and these days the boss rarely there.

Third visit to 62 Haydon Place. They still do not accept the coffee has been bitter. Tomorrow they will have been open a month.

Today a new barista who used to be at Harris + Hoole. A much better cappuccino, though different coffee, today Resolution blend from Origin Coffee.

I was asked to try a filter coffee. I would have preferred freshly made, not made, then stored.

I asked would they like to try Finca Immaculada Laurina, Union Hand-Roasted from Colombia,  sadly now past its optimum., as roasted 21 June, but still excellent.

It was brewed using a  Kalita Wave, which I have not seen before, let alone tried. I had seen before in the coffee shop, thought a cheap clone of a Chemex, in many ways a cross between a Chemex and V60.

I learned why it is called V60, the angle is 60 degrees.

Beans carefully weighed and ground, the filter cleansed with hot water, brew carefully timed.

Hot water is poured over the ground coffee to allow it to bloom, lets the CO2 escape, then pour in slow concentric circles, pause, repeat, for four minutes

I would have thought same beans, different filter method, nevertheless filter, Japanese syphon compared with Kalita Wave, would be the same. I was surprised to find a big difference in taste.

We all tried, including a couple of customers.

As on previous visits, a continuous stream of customers. Word is getting out. What I also noticed, discerning customers, they ask questions, wanting to know more about the coffee they were drinking.

I took a takeaway to Dylan’s ice cream in The Village.