Waiting for a plane

Starbucks

So there I was at Dublin Airport and I had a long wait, over five hours! So it was time for a coffee, there were a few choices.

The main reason I went to Starbucks was that there were power sockets. This meant I could drink coffee and charge up my phone and laptop.

I ordered a flat white and took a seat, plugged everything in and then drank the coffee.

I am not a great fan of Starbucks coffee, but needs must and in the end I thought it was alright. I certainly made it last though, so I could maximise the charge on my devices.

Coffee and a pistachio swirl

I decided to drive to work. Well there was a train strike, so the train was out of the question. I drove down the M5 and headed into Bristol on the A369. As I approached the junction with Bridge Road, I could see that Rownham Hill wasn’t moving due to loads of traffic, so I headed down Bridge Road to cut down Burwalls Road, with no luck. So, I turned around and headed back to Bridge Road and crossed the Suspension Bridge. There were lots of police and fire crews. There were signs saying the bridge was closed, but it was open when I crossed it. I headed down Sion Hill and then hit more traffic. 

Later I found out that there had been an issue, the police were concerned about the welfare of a man, so had closed the Portway and other roads around the Cumberland Basin, which was causing all the issues I was having.

Having given up at this point, I parked and headed into Clifton Village to get some coffee. I went to Spicer & Cole and at the counter ordered a flat white. They had some nice looking pastries so I added a pistachio swirl to my order.

I had my pastry, took a seat and waited for my coffee. I did seem to be waiting for a fair while, so much so, I went back to the counter to check. They had been prioritising takeaway orders over my coffee.

The coffee was actually rather good and I enjoyed it. The pistachio swirl was quite nice, I did feel that it was slightly dry, and there was an excessive amount of icing sugar, but there was a nice taste of pistachio. 

Overall it was nice place for a coffee break, a little more pricey than other places I frequent, reminded me of London prices. If I am back in Clifton Village I would certainly visit again.

Time for Valerie’s Welsh Rarebit

We were up at Cribbs Causeway doing some shopping and we stopped at Patisserie Valerie for a coffee and a snack. There are quite a few places you can have a coffee at Cribbs, but what I like about Patisserie Valerie is that it is table service. So we sat at our table and looked over the menu. The place was busy, but the service was excellent, and we didn’t have to wait long to order.

Whilst my son went with the traditional breakfast, my first choice was an apricot danish, however they had run out. So I went with my second choice, which wasn’t a pastry, but Valerie’s Welsh Rarebit. Our food arrived promptly, which was nice, especially as the place was quite full of diners. Valerie’s Welsh Rarebit was toasted bloomer bread topped with a poached egg, tomato chutney, cheddar, mustard & served with a side salad.

I don’t think I have ever had Rarebit before, so I was interested to see what it was going to be like. This was a nice cheesy toast dish, the mustard was subtle and added warmth. The poached egg was perfectly cooked. I liked the tomato chutney, which was on the side, I did think it was a little too sweet for me. Overall it was a really nice light meal.

I think one of the reasons I hadn’t ordered or had this dish before, was that usually I am looking for cake, or a full meal. Valerie’s Welsh Rarebit for me is more of a snack, or a light meal.

Alongside I had a flat white, not the best flat white in the world, but it was a good coffee.

Made without care or love

flat white

Travelling home on the M4 I stopped at Membury Service for a coffee. I went to the Starbucks and ordered a flat white. I was drinking “in” but it still came in a paper cup and they also charged me 5p for the “privilege”.

I find that quite frustrating, I wanted my coffee in a china cup, but they didn’t do that, so I had to have a paper cup, and then I get charged for it. I guess I should remember this, and bring my own cup in the future. Hmmm, it was a motorway service station, not a regular haunt for coffee.

I watched the coffee being made, it was more of mechanical automated process for making the coffee and then there was a lackadaisical carefree approach to the heating and frothing of the milk, which was then added to the coffee without any care or love.

It’s not as though I had much of a choice of where I could go for coffee, and I thought for £3.40 I was getting ripped off. It did feel that it was not much better than the (instant) coffees you got years ago from cafes across the country, before the rapid growth of coffee chains like Starbucks and Costa filled our high streets.

Maybe I need to find some independent coffee places just off the motorway instead of stopping at the services. Having said that, the coffee at the Gloucester Services on the M5 was quite good, but that is on the M5, so not on the M4 or the M6, or the M25.

Great coffee

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

I ordered a flat white 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 proper china cup with a little chocolate on the side.

The coffee was smooth and delicious, with a real coffee kick.

It’s one of my favourite places for coffee and they delivered an outstanding coffee again.

Ditto

When I am in a new city or town, though familiarity normally means visiting a place like Caffe Nero for a coffee, if I do get the chance I do like to try somewhere new, such as Kiss the Hippo in London.

Up in Manchester, close to our office, I liked the look of Ditto Coffee so popped in for a coffee.

The place has a lot of wood and looked inviting. I ordered a flat white and they said take a seat and they would bring it over. One feature of many independent places I visit, is this level of service. Something I never see from the major high street chains. There of course you order a coffee and then wait until it is made.

Taking a seat I could look at my email as I waited for my coffee.

The flat white arrived after a while and looked great.

It was a delicious cup of coffee and I really enjoyed it.

Nice to be back

The Coffee Dispensary

I was in Cheltenham and had some time for a coffee. Wondering where to go I saw The Coffee Dispensary. I had been there in August 2019 and had a great macchiato back then (but didn’t blog about it). There is a nice calm environment, and they have seating inside and outside. As well as coffee they have a range of cakes and do sandwiches at lunchtime. I was a given a warm friendly welcome I ordered a flat white and took a seat. My flat white was brought over promptly. 

flat white

It was well made and a good coffee. Nice to be back.

Nice Flat White

I was at an event in East London. I had caught the Central Line to Mile End.

Having left myself plenty of time I stopped for coffee at the Costa opposite the station. I had a flat white.

There was plenty of room and I went upstairs and enjoyed my coffee whilst checking e-mail and doing some work.

Excellent Eggs

Up in Manchester I joined a colleague for breakfast at the Federal Cafe Bar.

I really liked the atmosphere. We found a table and I went to the counter to order a coffee. Having had some toast at my hotel I only wanted the coffee.

My colleague with the Turkish Eggs. Two free range poached eggs on whipped garlic yoghurt with hot chilli butter and za’atar and served with sourdough toast.

Excellent Eggs

It looked amazing and my colleague said the eggs were excellent.

I had a great flat white.

Later I decided to go back there for a coffee, only to find the place full and no free seats. Well maybe next time I am in Manchester I will return for a coffee or even breakfast.

Well I enjoyed that coffee

flat white

Popped into Caffe Nero for a flat white. They had a special offer of a coffee and a brownie for £4.50, so I had a flat white and a chocolate brownie.

It was just what I needed after going through my inbox.

The brownie was chocolatey and gooey, but wasn’t over rich, light enough to be enjoyed.

The coffee was excellent, there is something about the consistency of experience I find with Caffe Nero, virtually every time I have a flat white at Caffe Nero is I get the same kind of experience, which is nice.