Wednesday, 24 February 2010
Monday, 15 February 2010
Photographs from the top: my order of tea and a cappuccino slice; an exterior view of the Gallery Café and the ceiling, which is decorated with the pages of various magazines.
The Gallery Café in Chester is my idea of the perfect caff, although the term 'caff' probably demeans the place a little; it is, quite simply, a quaint place to stop by and enjoy the delights on offer – of which there are many.
For a start the place has a certain vibe, an ambience, which is conducive to just stepping off the roller coaster of life and enjoying a little serenity. Paperback books are sold here, there are works of art from local artists (painters and photographers) on show and also for sale, the ceiling is, well, interesting (go there and take a look for yourself or check out one of the above photographs) and the food is good too. Oh, and they also sell decorative bead necklaces.
The Gallery is owned by Jacob and Katie Potter, who have been ensconced at the café for four years (and two months) and seem intent on making it work. They will succeed because they have the passion for it, which is good to see.
This is a long café with an upfront seating area and more seats out back too. There are wooden floors and furniture and blackboards on the wall announcing various deals; for example, you can add a small bowl of soup to any sandwich order for just £1.50. Smoothies are £2.65 and so are milkshakes, the place sells pannini and ciabatta breads, conventional sandwiches and toasted sandwiches, there are jacket potatoes and 'light bites' and the cakes are to die for.
When I bowled in there, having spotted the place earlier that morning while out on the hunt for toothpaste, it was mid-afternoon and I hadn't eaten a thing all day. In short, I needed something to eat, but it wasn't really meal time so I opted for a pot of tea and an interesting variation on millionaire's shortbread (that's a caramel slice if you live south of Birmingham). This one wasn't caramel, it didn't have a milk chocolate top AND it was much bigger than your average product, almost twice the length, and a little bit wider too. It was called a cappuccino slice and it was amazing. I would have enjoyed a second one, but my inner nutritionist slapped my wrists at the very thought of it. I did order a second cup of tea.
One tea and the cappuccino slice set me back £3.45, excellent value considering the enjoyment I received from the slice (seriously, it was amazing).
What's more, the Gallery is licensed (it sells bottled beers and wine) and there's a take-out menu too. You really couldn't ask for more from a café and this one comes highly recommended by teashopandcaff. Had I more time I would have spent a lot more money in the Gallery, but I was on my way to Leeds via Scarborough and Manchester (by train). I contemplated buying another cappuccino slice for the journey (and wished I had once on the train) but there you have it, all good things must come to an end, as they say.
The Gallery is just the place to visit when you have a good book on the go and an hour to spare reading it, accompanied by a pot or two of tea and, of course, one of those cappuccino slices.
Saturday, 6 February 2010
From the top: man outside the caff shaving; my sausage sandwich; my brother Jon's Full English breakfast; Hunger's End, Merstham High Street. You can see my brother Jon (far right) and Andy Smith sitting down and, centre stage, the shaving man – note his radio on the table.
Now this really is a good caff and it doesn't have much in the way of competition either. Well, alright, there's the Quality Café down by the railway station but, to be quite honest, I wasn't happy with that word 'quality' as the caff looked a bit run-down to me.
Hunger's End has a bit of style. For a start, it's more than just pine wood tables and chairs; it has a couple of sofas, a few copies of The Sun scattered about and the staff are friendly too. You order your food at the counter and pay for it (I chose a sausage sandwich with a roll, not bread) and so did my pal Andy. My brother Jon went for one of the breakfasts, not the biggest one, but judging by the size of it (massive springs to mind) I daren't think what the largest looks like.
For a sausage bap and a mug of tea you're talking £3.55, the breakfast with a mug of tea was £4 on the nose. Not bad for a small caff only a stone's throw from the M25. The food is delivered to your table along with brown and tomato sauce, salt and pepper. The food was very, very tasty and we also had some strange bloke outside with us providing some light entertainment: he'd brought along a small radio, a mirror and an electric razor and spent the entire time we were there shaving. It takes all sorts.
Return visits will definitely be made as Hunger's End was the epitome of a great British caff, although the sausage sandwich might be a little over-the-top if consumed more than once or twice a year.
You can read more about Hunger's End on http://novisiblelycra.blogspot.com
Wednesday, 3 February 2010
Image courtesy of www.mydeco.com
I don't believe it, as Victor Meldrew might have said. A report on the Daily Express' on-line news service has just announced that researchers have found that milk jugs – yes, milk jugs, those little things made of porcelain or stainless steel or plastic depending on the sort of caff you're in – are unhealthy.
But hold on a minute...it was health experts in Spain (not here in the UK) who found that up to a third of milk and dairy products served in bars, restaurants and cafés breached EU health regulations and were unfit for human consumption.
Well, that's in Spain and we're in the UK. The next thing we'll know they'll be banning milk jugs! Ridiculous!
To read the full story, click here.
Remember that mildly embarassing scene in When Harry Met Sally where Meg Ryan pretends to have an orgasm while in a caff? Well, check this out, Monkey from the PG Tips ad with Johnny Vegas is doing it too!
To see the video, click here!