Tasty coffee in the hustle and bustle

In the midst of shopping decided to stop at Paterisse Valerie in Cribbs Causeway for a quick coffee. Actually we didn’t want a quick coffee, what we wanted to do was take a break from the crowds, sit down and have a coffee. We did consider going to Pret a Mange, but the queue was really long, and at least with Paterisse Valerie we could sit down and chat while we waited and while we waited for the coffee.

We ordered a few drinks, but I went with a flat white, whilst my eldest went with a latte.

For a French sounding place I feel I really should have had a cafe au lait, but the reality was that no such coffee was on the menu.

The flat white was strong and intense with the smoothness of the milk offering a nice contrast.

The place was busy, so service was slower than I might like, but we spent the time chatting, so it wasn’t an issue.

Time for a quick, nice espresso

quick, nice espresso

Arriving at Weston-super-Mare railway station for my train to Manchester I had some time for a quick coffee.

I usually catch my trains from Worle station, I am still astounded that for what is a relatively small town, Weston-super-Mare has three railway stations. The main station at Weston-super-Mare which is on a loop from the main line. This opened in 1841.

There is a halt further down that loop called Weston Milton. This station opened in 1933

Despite having two stations, a third station, Worle Station was opened in 1990.This was the fourth station to serve Worle, the previous station to serve Worle closed in 1964.

What is nice is that the mainline trains to London from the West start their route as commuter trains from Taunton or Weston to Bristol and stop at these smaller stations. In the olden days (okay a few years ago) when the London trains were HSTs, the trains were too long for Worle platform so only four coaches would be able to open their doors, the same happens today with the new nine coach Inter-City Express Trains (IETs).

Weston-super-Mare railway station

Anyhow I was at Weston-super-Mare as I was catching a CrossCountry service to Manchester and this train calls at Weston-super-Mare and then calls at Bristol Temple Meads, so it doesn’t call at Worle.

At Weston-super-Mare station there are two cafes. One which has been there for a while is a typical old school station cafe and I have never really been enamoured with the refreshments available from there, I have had the odd cup of tea, but usually I just avoid it. The other new cafe is much more my cup of tea… though I usually drink coffee. Actually to call it new, just shows I am getting old, as it had been there quite a few years now. I can’t quite remember when it opened, but I have had some nice coffee from there, and it’s also a nice place to sit and wait for the train. I think it has changed hands a few times as well between when it opened and now.

So this morning having about fifteen minutes before my train I decided to pop in and have a quick coffee. They have stools, sofas and chairs. The decor is rather quirky with old trunks serving as tables and lots of old wood. The walls (which I remember once they had artwork on the walls) are covered in coffee names and slogans.

I chose a simple single espresso. What is nice is that when drinking in, they serve their coffee in a proper china cup. This was great coffee, strong, intense and delicious. I could have had another one, but my train arrived.

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.