Posts Tagged ‘lunch’

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.

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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.

Sirloin steak The Queen Hotel

June 12, 2018

Visits to The Queen Hotel are more and more infrequent, each rare occasion is worse than before.

The good staff from when it opened have long gone.  The food is terrible.

I was surprised to find The Little Beer Corporation on tap. Maybe they had surplus beer Wetherspoon picked up on the cheap.

My meal was not good, service terrible, the usual drunks blocking the bar.

Once again I remind myself why I avoid pubs, frequent instead coffee shops and restaurants.

Wetherspoon News (summer 2018) had two bullshit articles.  One from Tim Martin praising LavAzza as quality coffee, the other from head of Camra talking complete bullshit on why pubs are closing (no mention of pubcos).

There are only two places to eat in Aldershot, Caffe Macchiato and Indonesia street food restaurant.

There is nowhere in Aldershot for coffee.

Liquid Jade

May 5, 2018

Liquid Jade, hidden down an alley, Zebedee’s Yard off Whitefriargate.

Pleasant ambience.

The focus on tea and food. Yes, did have coffee, but would not tell me where from.

Perverse. I lacked the time to enjoy the food, and declined to try the coffee. Transparency is everything.

Owner very helpful, suggested places to visit and kindly marked my map.

Burr Coffee

April 20, 2018

Alighting at York Station the final stop, wandering through  the streets, over a bridge over the River Ouse and into the city centre.

Passed a couple of coffee shops, one of which was Brew and Brownie, but too hot to sit inside.  Ended at York Minster, back tracked to Lendal and found Burr Coffee.

Excellent brunch at Burr Coffee, the same cannot be said of the coffee. The cakes looked tempting, but I did not try.

Looking at the menu outside, brunch field mushrooms and halloumi cheese with pine nuts on toasted sourdough bread. Generous portion size and excellent.

North Star Coffee on sale, espresso blend and single origin, though no single origin served, no pour over.

I have had North Star before at Canopy Coffee, not good, therefore was curious.

Cappuccino ordered. It was terrible, chocolate dumped on top, scalding hot, undrinkable.

I kept taking a tentative sip whilst eating my lunch, but my opinion did not change, it was terrible coffee.

I had been tempted to buy a bag of North Star coffee was not sure which, though my decision had been made for me, as apart from The Docks an espresso blend, the single origin which I would have preferred, was all too old.  Having experienced an awful coffee, I decided not.

Further down the street, Spring Espresso Lendal serving Square Mile Coffee.  What a difference a few steps can make.

Sometimes I wonder, is my sense of taste awry. I then have a decent cup of coffee, and realise no, I have been served bad coffee.

Burr Coffee has on sale The North and North Wales Independent Coffee Guide in which they are listed.  The listing opens up a whole can of worms. If not serving quality coffee, why are they listed? How independent is this guide, what credibility, when coffee shops are paying £500 to be listed?

Burr Coffee, excellent for lunch, not somewhere for coffee.  A cafe serving coffee, not a coffee shop serving food.