Time for a great coffee

One of the hidden treasures of the coffee scene in Bristol is Hart’s Bakery. Even finding the place is a bit of a challenge, as to say it’s off the beaten track doesn’t really do justice to the actual location. I find the best way to describe it’s location, is to say it’s underneath Bristol Temple Meads Railway Station. You can access it from the turning into Bristol Temple Meads from Temple Way. If you come out of the main entrance of Temple Meads and turn left, there is a metal staircase down and you can find Hart’s Bakery there.

They do some great food, but on my most recent visit, before I had to catch a train, I went with a Flat White. There was a warm welcome and after placing my order for the coffee, I sat down and my coffee was brought over to me once it was made.

Flat White

It was an intense coffee experience, smooth with great flavours.I really enjoyed the coffee and would certainly go again.

Time for some delicious pasta

Paesan restaurant close to the Exmouth Market

I seem to be spending more time in London these days, and generally I am only up there for the day. Last month I was there for most of the week so stayed overnight. I was staying in a hotel that I actually wasn’t expecting to stay in, so I hadn’t had the time to do much research about places to eat nearby and I really didn’t want to end up at the hotel restaurant, as they can be terrible food and over-priced.

I really liked the look of Paesan close to the Exmouth Market as I walked past on my way to the hotel, and decided that this was certainly a possibility. I also liked the look of the menu at Paesan, simple yet sounding really tasty, as well as authentically Italian.

Inside the plain brick walls, wooden floors and simple furniture gave the place a rustic warm atmosphere. You can see into the kitchen and see what the chefs are doing.

The staff were friendly and welcoming and I was shown to my table and I looked over the menu.

I was tempted by lots of the small plates, particularly the carpaccio or the calamari alla griglia. To be honest I think I could have quite easily ordered all of them, however I wasn’t hugely hungry and I was on a budget.

There was a wide range of pasta on the menu, in the end I ordered the a large portion of the orechiette pasta with nduja, pancetta & cime di rapa.

orechiette pasta with nduja, pancetta & cime di rapa

I could see into the kitchen and it was interesting to watch the chef cook my food.

Paesan restaurant close to the Exmouth Market

The food arrived in good time and looked great. I did expect it to be slightly larger than it was, but glad I didn’t go for the smaller “primi” size (which would be ideal for smaller appetites or lunch).

To be honest this was the best pasta I have had from any restaurant. The fresh pasta was cooked to perfection, al dente, the sauce was just about right.

I finished my meal off with a very Italian espresso, more like a ristretto.

Ristretto coffee

The menu changes quite frequently so I am tempted to go back and try something new.

Proper Italian like…

flat white

One of my new favourite places for coffee in London is Coco di Mama. Mainly as it’s a skip and jump from our London office.

Mainly catering for the lunch takeaway crowd, they do have some seating and stool and benches.

They do a very nice flat white, which is strong and intense. It’s a very different experience to the high street chains. Feels more authentic as well.

When ordering to drink in, sometimes you can sit down and they will bring it over, other times you wait at the counter for it. Nice little touch is the square of dark chocolate on the side.

It’s kind of what I expected…

Usually when I stop at the services on a long car journey, I venture in, see a high street chain, look at the prices and then walk out.

Well at least I managed to stretch my legs. Sometimes though I am known to order a coffee.

On my most recent visit to Membury Services, I decided I would buy a coffee, and went to Starbucks. I am actually not a great fan of the flavour of Starbucks coffee, but with no choice, I ordered a flat white.

flat white

I had quite low expectations, so in the end I quite enjoyed the coffee. It was kind of what I expected.

Though I have visited the Membury Services many times it was only last year that I realised it was next to an airfield, when I heard and then saw an airplane coming into land.

Though checking Wikipedia I realise that it was only more recently that aircraft have started flying from the airfield, as the airfield was closed in the 1960s with the construction of the M4. The services are located on the original site of the RAF Membury. The base was opened in 1942 and was used by the RAF and the USAAF.

That was a nice coffee

coffee

On my way to our office in London I was walking down Gray Inns Road. Before it meets High Holborn, and up the road on the corner with Baldwin’s Gardens, is a great little cafe called Catalyst.

I have been here before and really enjoyed the coffee I had. So having some time before my first meeting of the day, and it been a really long time since I had coffee, I decided to stop and have a flat white.

The food looks really interesting, but also seems a little pricey compared to the coffee. So not feeling hungry I had the coffee,

They certainly take care when making the coffee, and they will bring it to your table, so I took a seat and waited. They did initially confuse me with another order, but then my flat white arrived it looked perfect.

Now I am not sure if I left it too long, but I was distracted by my laptop, so it wasn’t that hot. Now I think it might have been me, rather than them. Even so it was a really nice coffee.

Nice coffee

Working in London, I popped into Fernandez & Wells on Denmark Street for a quick coffee. Though I like working in our offices, sometimes working in another place, with decent coffee, is a nice alternative. I was walking to our offices, when I decided that I wanted a coffee and though I passed a few places, I didn’t fancy going to a chain like Costa or Caffe Nero and London is full of independent and small chain coffee places.

I did at first walk pass Fernandez & Wells, but then did a double take and walked back, looked in and decided, though I didn’t want any food, but did want coffee.

Fernandez & Wells has a few branches across London. This branch is described as a trendy hangout, okay so they let me in. The wooden floors and furniture create a nice warm ambience and environment. There was a warm welcome and I quickly placed my order for a flat white. What I did like was that I didn’t need to wait at the counter for my coffee, I could take a seat, get the laptop out and get on with some work.

The coffee arrived speedily and looked great. It also tasted great.

Flat White

This is a lovely café and the food menu looks interesting too.

Nice coffee

Wanting a coffee and somewhere to sit to do some work, I wanted to try something other than the usual high street chains such as Costa and Caffe Nero. The 58 High Street branch of Taylors in Oxford, looked nice and inviting, and the sign said they had seating inside. Great I thought, time for coffee.

I asked for a flat white and a croissant, which was part of a morning offer. Alas it was only after I ordered that I realised that the so called seating was in fact some stools at the back of the shop. The coffee was going to come in a paper cup, rather than china, and the croissant in a paper bag! Not quite what I wanted or was expecting. I had to ask if they had butter for the croissant, they gave me margarine… that isn’t butter.

The service was excellent, very friendly, warm and welcoming. Not over the top, nor in your face. You were made to feel welcome and important to them as a customer and then they ensured you knew what was happening and when. This is important if you are unsure of the process of ordering, receiving and other stuff with coffee.

So I got out the laptop and got working, the coffee was actually rather good, and the croissant was fresh.

I think this is an ideal place for takeaway, but isn’t a place to sit and do stuff whilst drinking coffee.

Good flat white

I had some time to kill before a meeting in London, needing coffee and a place to catch up with some work. A few of the places I had see in the Clerkenwell area were busy, so pleased to see there was some room in a branch of Benugo. It was early afternoon, so there was no queue and I ordered a flat white. The flat white looked and tasted great. The seating wasn’t very comfortable, but even so it was adequate for catching up with stuff.

Nice coffee, but the service is a bit of a yolk

On my way into work decided to try somewhere new for coffee. I quite liked the look of Yolk, it felt stylish but not too hipster. The breakfast menu looked very interesting and tasty, but I wasn’t hungry, I just wanted coffee.

I was quickly served, which was nice, and my order of a flat white along with my name was taken.

The process then was to wait for ages for the coffee, they had three people taking orders, but only one person making the coffee, so of course the orders were backing up.

I did get my coffee in the end, but there were loads of coffees in front of me. I’m glad I didn’t order a latte as there were plenty of those, and many had no names. The slowness and randomness of the serving of the coffee did put me off slightly, but I might go again, mainly as the breakfast menu was tempting.

Having said all that the coffee was rather nice, well made and tasty.

Another visit to Prezzo

It took five years from my first visit to Prezzo to visit it again. This time is was less than month since my previous visit to go there again.

Having had an enjoyable meal at their branch in Euston, this visit was a family celebration at the branch in Weston-super-Mare. This is quite a new branch, less than a year old. We arrived early evening on a Saturday, or you could have even described it as late afternoon. It’s a nice smart clean restaurant with a variety of seating options available. We were quite a large party so we just had some tables pushed together. We were given a warm welcome and we sat down perused the menu. Unlike a lot of places these days, their set menu is available all the time, seven days a week and it is quite a good set menu at that.

I started with the Caprese Salad, tomato and burrata cheese with basil pesto and balsamic glaze.

Caprese Salad

The tomato was ripe and the burrata cheese was fresh and tasty. A really nice starter.

I had the Fiorentina Pizza, a classic pizza with spinach, olives, mozzarella and an egg.

Fiorentina Pizza, a classic pizza with spinach, olives, mozzarella and an egg.

This was a very tasty pizza, I really liked the toppings and the base was cooked well.

I wasn’t going to go with a desert, but I did fancy a coffee, looking over the dessert menu, I went with the Affogato. Two scoops of vanilla ice cream served with a double shot of espresso and a lemon cannoli. Wasn’t too enamoured with the cannoli, but did enjoy the espresso over ice cream.

Overall a tasty meal. The service did leave a little bit to be desired, initially it started off well and our food arrived in a timely manner. However we did get asked three times if we wanted dessert, seemed they were desperate to provide us with dessert. They also provided us with the wrong bill. Ah well, it was a tasty meal.