Double Espresso

I was working in London and wanting a coffee so headed out to one of my usual haunts, Coco di Mama on New Square.

I ordered a double espresso and took a seat, always like it when they bring the coffee to you rather than hanging around by the counter until they’ve made it.

The coffee arrived in a real china cup with a square of delicious dark chocolate on the side.

Double Espresso

This was an excellent double espresso and I enjoyed the chocolate too.

Great tasting coffee and friendly staff.

Breakfast at the Fox and Goose

I was in London and staying at the Fox and Goose close to Hangar Lane. This is a Fullers Hotel and is part of the same chain at Drayton Court, which I have stayed at for a few times now. When I was staying at the Drayton Court Hotel I had an excellent breakfast.

The breakfast plate was beautifully presented. The three rashers of bacon were cooked to my liking, not overdone, full of flavour. I enjoyed the sausage and the black pudding. The poached eggs were perfectly cooked, and had runny yolks. The field mushroom was delicious, though I would have liked my tomato a little more cooked. The beans and hash brown were nothing to write home about, but did help complete the breakfast plate. I really enjoyed the breakfast and is one of the best breakfasts I have had at a hotel. 

I did make one criticism of this otherwise excellent breakfast, which was about the coffee.

However one criticism, was the quality of the coffee, which was standard filter coffee, and not very good. 

I would have appreciated better coffee to go with such an excellent breakfast.

So when staying at the Fox and Goose, part of the same Fuller’s chain, I knew (and hoped) I would have a similar excellent breakfast.

Upon arriving in the breakfast room, I was given a warm welcome and shown to my table. I ordered the full English breakfast and they also cooked the toast, so no need to mess about with the breakfast room toaster that I normally have to contend with.

Coffee was from a machine, but was so much better than the filter coffee that was on offer at Drayton. I could have my morning double espresso.

I also had a nice pot of Greek yoghurt before the main event, and dressed with some honey, delicious.

The breakfast arrived and it consisted of pork sausage, Mrs Owton’s bacon, Hampshire black pudding, grilled tomato & field mushroom, hash brown, Heinz baked beans, and two poached eggs. 

Well as with Drayton Court, it was excellent. It was a great start to the day.

Breakfast Time in Wimbledon

I was staying in Wimbledon at the Hotel du Vin and staying overnight I had breakfast a couple of times.

Unlike a lot of hotel chains, there wasn’t a full buffet breakfast. You helped yourself to toast, croissant, fruit, and so on. However for hot food though you ordered off the menu. It was a similar story with hot drinks.

I did like the fact that I could order a “proper” coffee of my choice with my breakfast, so I went with a double espresso. This was much nicer than the filtered coffee you usually have at hotel breakfasts.

There was a fair few choices on the menu, Eggs Benedict, Avocado on Toast, Grilled Kipper. In the end though I went with the Classic Full Cooked Breakfast. This was Cumberland sausage, sweet cured bacon, black pudding, grilled tomato, mushroom and eggs (cooked to your liking). I went with poached eggs.

Having taken my order the breakfast was cooked to order. The kitchen was in the Orangery at the hotel, so I could (if I was closer) see my breakfast being cooked. My breakfast then arrived on the table.

Classic Full Cooked Breakfast

I have to say I was a little disappointed. The bacon didn’t look that appetising. However it was nice and fresh, and did taste delicious. I enjoyed the tomato and mushroom, the sausage and black pudding were good, and the eggs were cooked well.

On the second day I was there, I went with the same classic breakfast and this was much better.

Classic Full Cooked Breakfast

The bacon this time looked a lot nicer, but otherwise it was much the same as the day before (consistency is a good thing).

Overall, despite my initial (minor) disappointment, this was a nice breakfast. The continental selection was good, nice choice of jams  and butter. Excellent coffee as well.

Espresso amongst the plants

We were at Banwell Garden Centre looking at plants, and decided to stop for a tea.

Well I actually had an espresso with a glass of water. This was a decent espresso and I enjoyed it sitting in the sun.

Service was excellent, we ordered our drinks and they bought it to us at our table.

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 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 orecchiette pasta with nduja, pancetta & cime di rapa.

orecchiette 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.

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.

Hey EasyJet do you know what an espresso is?

Hey EasyJet do you know what an espresso is?

Flying with EasyJet I knew that when I asked for an espresso that was highly unlikely to be a proper espresso. The kind that is made with high pressure nearly boiling water through coffee grounds. That kind wouldn’t be done on a plane, there are probably safety issues. This kind was made from a packet, an instant espresso, well one with fine coffee grounds in it.

Having said that I was a little perplexed and surprised when I was asked if I wanted milk with my espresso.

Ah, I think not.

This happened both on the outward and the return flights.

Faculty – Artisan Coffee

Faculty

Visiting Birmingham recently I took the opportunity to visit Faculty, an artisan coffee and tea shop in the heart of Birmingham. This is in the Piccadilly Arcade close to New Street Station. A typical hipster coffee place, with a mix of wooden furniture and bare floors.

I went with the espresso, which really tests the skills of the barista and the quality of the coffee.

espresso

Service was excellent, once they knew I was drinking in, they asked me to take a seat and they would bring me the coffee. I really do like that, allows you to get on with stuff at a table, rather than just standing around waiting whilst they make your coffee. You usually get this in the chains, so I always appreciate it when you visit an independent coffee place.

The coffee was, well the best way to describe it for me, it was different. There was a flavour to the coffee that I found not really to my taste. It was smooth and had an excellent crema.

I did like the environment and the food menu looked really interesting, I might go again, maybe go with a different kind of coffee.

It was supposed to be a macchiato…

espresso macchiato

So what do you think that was?

That is a small espresso cup by the way.

It was supposed to be an espresso macchiato.

From my understanding, an espresso macchiato, is simply a shot of espresso with some foamed milk. This was a single shot of espresso with a dollup of hot milk!

I have had a decent espresso macchiato from the Pumpkin Cafe chain at railway stations before, so was unimpressed with this effort. I was going to complain, but ran out of time as I was heading for a train.

Now checking the wikipedia, I can see that globally there is a fair amount of varation in how people interpret the macchiato, in some cases it appears to be more like a flat white than a small espresso based coffee.

Next time, I will be more explicit about what I want when I order.