Posts Tagged ‘lunch’

Leadenham Teahouse

February 13, 2019

On the way to Grantham stopped off at Leadenham to visit award-winning Leadenham Teahouse.

What does award-winning actually mean? Not a lot as these days virtually anyone is up for an award and when given by Good Taste Lincolnshire or Good Taste Awards meaningless.

Last year Good Taste Lincolnshire awarded Coffee Bobbins the best tea and coffee shop in Lincolnshire which serving poor quality tea and coffee made the award a laughing stock, as not even the best in Lincoln.

This time around the turn of Leadenham Teahouse for this worthless accolade.

Leadenham is a village on the way Lincoln to Grantham, I say village, actually Leadenham Teahouse on the cross roads, though there is a village church and it does host to my surprise a polo club.

Leadenham Teahouse is a tea shop serving tea and snacks and cake and coffee, a Post Office, well actually a Post Office counter and a little shop selling tourist tat.

As tea shops goes quite pleasant though nothing special.

Custom was myself and a coupe of ladies. No one came in to use the service of the Post Office.

I had avocado on sourdough toast with a sprinkling of cottage cheese, and a little salad.

OK, but poor quality sourdough to what I have had elsewhere and poor offering compared with excellent avocado on sourdough toast at The Cheese Society in Lincoln, which also came with melted halloumi cheese.

In the centre a wood-burning stove emitting more pollution than a diesel lorry, but maybe ok in the middle of nowhere.

The tourist tat, but no tourists, and I could not see why there would be especially as the tea shop not open on a Sunday and closes half day on a Saturday.

Outside bench seats by traffic lights on a major road.

I had a cappuccino. It was not good, poor quality catering supply coffee and clueless on how to make coffee. Though in a all fairness a tea shop not a coffee shop and there was a wide choice of tea.

A few cakes from local bakery, but did not look at all appealing.

I was surprised no fresh bread on sale.

I was told try the farm shop down the road.

Lunch at The Cheese Society

February 1, 2019

New Year’s Eve, I could not find anywhere open for lunch.

Luckily I managed to squeeze on the sharing table at The Cheese Society.

The same today, early afternoon, I thought I may be lucky, and again just managed to squeeze onto the sharing table.

Excellent avocado on sourdough bread topped with grilled halloumi cheese.

My companion Boston sausages on toasted sourdough bread topped with melted Lincolnshire Poacher (Cheddar-like local cheese, not to be be confused with finest adulterated fake cheddar from Skegness).

Served with a small salad, generous portion size.

I have no idea Boston sausage, maybe a variant of Lincolnshire sausage.

Whilst waiting, I tried a brie from Scotland. I will have to pop back and buy.

I recommended Ambrosia to add to their reading material.

I fancied a coffee from Base Camp, but closed, closed for the foreseeable future, change of ownership. Nothing to say closed, or when it may reopen.

Excellent cappuccino at Madame Waffle.

Walking through the High Street, a van and a lorry in what is a pedestrianised street. Every day the same, no Enforcement.

Demolition in Sincil Street, started Monday, by Wednesday almost demolished. And no bulldozers as reported by Lincolnite. Part of the ongoing destruction of Sincil Street by Lincoln City Council in cahoots with the local Coop.

The demolition scant regard for safety of passers-by. There should have been scaffolding and netting to stop debris landing in the street.

Shanti

January 26, 2019

I tend to avoid any town on a Saturday.

The town was busy, it seemed even busier than when shoppers out Christmas shopping or the January Sales.

Everywhere was packed.

I had intended to eat at Shanti around one, arrived at two.

It too was busy, two spare seats at a table for four.

I was asked to come back in forty-five minutes.

I took a walk up The Strait, Steep Hill and into Bailgate.

I noticed yet another business on Steep Hill closing. No surprise, one of the junk shops that is rarely open,

On the way back down, a chat with Fools on the Hill, fools with a table urging people to support a Second Referendum, only they lack the integrity and honesty to call it a Second Referendum and call it a People’s Vote.  No surprise, entirely clueless the EU and having a hard time gaining any support.

No change at Shanti, but the couple on the table for four about to leave.

To my annoyance told we have to check our bookings.

It was then, ask a group of Indians on a table to move up to create space for me.

Begs the question, why not put me on table where there was room when I first walked in?

Half an hour before a couple of rostis served with a small portion of salad. I was asked vegetarian cheese or vegan cheese? In other words real cheese or fake cheese, fake cheese which actually cannot be called cheese.

A vegetarian cum vegan fake Indian restaurant.

I was looking forward to eating at Shanti, I was very disappointed.

I found it to be very cramped and claustrophobic.

The food was ok not great. Not sure what was dumped on top. It tasted like jam.

I have had a far better dosa off a stall at the Guildford farmers market, and far far better Indian food elsewhere. I have also eaten at far better vegetarian restaurants.

The irony was, I passed Curry Jacks by the river. I would but the fact a cold location, been better off trying their food.

Curry Jacks once a month an evening of their food at Coffee Aroma.

Sausage and mash County Restaurant

January 8, 2019

County Restaurant for many years was an excellent place to eat. It then went downhill, picked up, sadly seems to have gone rapidly downhill again.

Very poor choice today, bangers and mash or bangers and mash. There was a choice of sausage or fake vegan sausage.

And a choice of a flavoured chicken.

The bangers and mash were served with (at extra cost) unappetising looking mash potatoes, under-cooked beans and overcooked greens, served in a bowl formed by a Yorkshire pudding that required a saw to cut, plus gravy if desired.

The sausages cheapest disgusting sausages they could find, though not as bad as found in a Coop or M&S bangers and mash ready meal.  The sausages under-cooked.

The mash tasted better than looked.

Vegan sausages to pander to the vegan lobby. I do not know why anyone wishes to eat fake sausages or fake meat, anymore than from Greggs a fake sausage roll or even why eat from Greggs,  I would rather have an excellent vegetarian dish, though the vegan sausages could not have been worse than the half cooked real sausages.

Served in a Yorkshire pudding a gimmick.

They need to concentrate on quality not gimmicks.

They used to have two good chefs. No sign of them. Maybe they have left.

Water, plastic, not glass.

On sale, Quad Restaurant reusable coffee cups, ugly not barista friendly plastic reusable cups. No surprise low take up.

Appalling meal at Pho Guildford

November 16, 2018

Pho is a fake Vietnamese street food restaurant in Tunsgate.

I went twice when Pho Guildford first opened in the summer when half price, then returned a few weeks later.

Each time, the food had deteriorated from previous visit, never saw the same staff twice, poor service their trademark.

Today I met up with a friend. As Bamboo Shoots closed, we went to Pho.

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.

Loud music, lots of noise, does not make for a pleasant environment to relax and eat, but Pho clueless and do not understand this or care.

Menu came promptly, not the food we ordered. A long wait, a very long wait, easily half an hour or more. Most of the people had left before our food came. A man sitting next to us was served promptly, even though he arrived some time after us.

When the food finally came it was cold. It was fairly obvious, cooked, left, before delivered to the table. The bowls were stone cold.

Prawns on a bed of bean shoots and noodles. Some of the prawns lukewarm, others cold as though out of a fridge. Bean shoots warm. Noodles cold as though out of a fridge.

Disgusting that food can be served like this.

We requested something else.

Only I ate as it was getting late. It was not good either.

Char-grilled pork, only it bore no resemblance to what have had before either in Pho Guildford or Pho Reading last week. Previously thin slices of pork, these were chunks of pork. Previously crunchy white rice slightly aromatic. This was neither and had had something unpleasant poured over half the rice.

I left half eaten.

When we complained, a tall black guy came to the table. Whether manager or serving staff he did not say.

He apologised and offered something else and said we did not have to pay. I would not have paid anyway.

He then asked did we live in Guildford and said he would bring us something.

When he returned we assumed it was to give us a voucher to eat again another day.

No, it was a book of special offers, available in every participating venue.

Could we use to to pay the bill? No. Only for their Christmas dinner.

When something is this bad, and it was bad. The meal should have been free with an invite to return at their expense.

But Pho is a chain, they do not care, poor service is their trademark.

Although in Tunsgate, Pho is part of Tunsgate Quarter, the latest Guildford White Elephant. A sterile artificial shopping centre, boarded-up units, crap chains like Cosy Club a fake 1930s bar, so fake a parody of fake and devoid of people. The only use of Tunsgate Quarter to provide a useful short cut when raining.

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.

AM Ozone Restaurant

August 17, 2018

 

I would have eaten at Caffe Macchiato, but fancied a change. A big mistake.

Sort of greeted by a toad like man as walked in, actually not greeted at all.

One surly waiter cleared away dirty plates.

Virtually empty, and easy to see why.

Dull and dingy, though did then manage to turn on a few extra lights.

An oriental-style buffet, food from everywhere.

The food not fresh, lukewarm at best, only one dish replenished whilst I was there. Open from midday until 10 pm. Do the dishes sit there all day? The plates stone cold.

I was worried would I get food poisoning. The place was shut down and fined it was disgusting. I looked in vein for a  food rating, it got zero last year, could not find, then spotted on the door, 4*.

St Martins Coffee House

July 13, 2018

Chichester is an old Roman town, the pedestrianised centre still follows the Roman Street plan, a medieval buttercross Chichester Cross in the centre, medieval side streets, surrounded by the Roman wall.

All the more depressing that the pedestrianised centre has been ruined by a proliferation of corporate chains, independents driven out by the greed of the Church and other local landowners, interspersed with what are little more than greasy spoon cafes masquerading as tea rooms and coffee shops.

From the station I trekked South Street to the Chichester Cross and all points of the compass, north, south, east and west in the hope of finding a decent coffee shop and somewhere decent to eat. I trekked in vein. It was then the medieval streets, and there in the North East Quadrant between North Street and East Street I happened upon St Martins Coffee House.

St Martins Coffee House is a restored town house, an oasis in a desert of mediocrity.

The town house was derelict, restored over several years by the current owner and now a restaurant.

Inside ancient wooden furniture, no cheap crap. Near the entrance a piano, feel free to play. It was actually in tune. Upstairs games to play chess, Japanese Go or Scrabble.

Outside a wonderful little garden.

Simple fare, freshly prepared, ingredients wherever possible sourced locally, in season, organic. Nothing hotted up in a microwave, no use of aluminium utensils, storage glass not plastic.

I selected for my lunch Red Dragon Cake. It was a little like the bean burger I used to have in Neal’s Yard Bakery in Covent Garden. Sadly long gone, as too has Food for Thought in Neal Street. Served on a bed of salad.

Generous portion size and delicious.

This I sat and enjoyed in the delightful garden.

Cakes were vegan, which I did not try, as my experience with vegan cakes is that they have never been very pleasant. Though I admit I was tempted.

I did not though give in to temptation, as I was tempted by a fresh fruit juice and the two would not have gone well together.

I chose carrot apple orange ginger fresh juice. I asked how made and it was as I had designed for a coffee shop in Cyprus and a juice bar in Athens.

It was as I expected, excellent for a hot day.

The coffee was dark roasted Italian sourced from a large company. This I declined, as would not have been good.

I made recommendations of from where they could source their coffee, top quality local coffee roasters. The moot point, may not be certified organic, but if single origin direct trade, would have traceability and transparency back to the farm, and would be able to say what inputs if any had been used, and the likelihood is none. Also for this weather, consider cold brew. And add other coffee methods, for example V60 pour over.

I suggested visit Coffee Lab, where they would be able to try speciality coffee. I did not know until I visited, Coffee Lab now have guest coffee.

Whether historic, I do not know, although called a Coffee House, St Martins Coffee House is actually not, it is a restaurant. But would make a wonderful coffee house if sourced speciality coffee, employed a skilled barista, and this would compliment their excellent food and environment and bring people in during the afternoon when quiet.

I then myself went in search of Coffee Lab where I had an excellent cold brew and cappuccino. And as always interesting conversation.

Afternoon in Winchester

June 20, 2018

A pleasant afternoon in Winchester.

Missed a bus, missed a train.

Looked in Alton Station Cafe. Tonight for bikers night, chicken casserole.

Driver of 1415 No 64 bus Alton to Winchester running several minutes late, driving like a lunatic, exceeding speed limit, hit curb and smashed bus at Four Marks.

Alight and walk down Magdalen Hill into Winchester.

Sicilian guys still serving crap from their stall. It is tragic, they used to serve excellent pasta from their stall, worth a trip to Winchester for.

Flat Whites stall no food, all gone. Different guest coffee to last week.

I decide to check out the food at The Square. Spoilt for choice. Sourdough toast with grilled mushrooms.

The people sat outside, relaxing with a coffee, chatting with friends, I am very much reminded of Tailor Made in Athens.

Shocked to learn it is already five o’clock.

I head off to Flat Whites coffee shop. Too late, closed. I drop off a couple of copies of Caffeine. As last week, I recommend, do not subscribe to Caffeine, instead subscribe to Standart.

Back to The Square, but first check out Coffee Lab. I am shocked to find now closes at three. Coffee Lab Academy, as last week, chairs piled up, there were still people sitting there. It has gone rapidly down hill with no Laura in charge.

A cappuccino at The Square. Different barista and not as good as last week. Very large slice of walnut and coffee cake. Best I have ever had.

At Alton Station, same problem as last year, an ice cream van illegally parked in the car park, obstructing access, engine running, serving ice cream.

As last week, no special left at Alton Station Cafe.

As I board train, steam  train leaving.

Lunch at Italian coffee shop Bottega dei Sapori

June 16, 2018

Late lunch at Italian coffee shop Bottega dei Sapori where once I used to eat regularly.

The food was good, the service terrible.

A long wait, I went to the cake counter and ordered.

Soup and main course delivered together. Main course I sent back, with orders not to bring back but to cook fresh. No butter for the bread.

Baffled why each serviette stuck down.

Tea is tea pigs, another small business taken in by marketing.

Coffee has changed, now supplied by Winchester Coffee Roasters. I have had twice elsewhere, not good.

I ordered a cappuccino. Then went and told them not to dump chocolate on top, as I would only have sent it back. They would have otherwise served with chocolate and not asked.

Served too hot, not good. But then from previous experience with Winchester Coffee Roasters, I was not expecting anything better.

Bottega dei Sapori need to improve their tea, their coffee and their service.

The world has moved on, will no longer get away with poor quality tea and coffee, poor service.

Visit Winchester, see what indie coffee shops Coffee Lab and Flat Whites are serving as tea and coffee, look at their delicious mouth-watering cakes.

These little indie businesses need to get their act together, otherwise they will not exist. The day before, I had a Vietnamese dish in Pho in Guildford and it was excellent.