Friday, 16 December 2011

Edinburgh teashops

What you might find at Clarinda's in Edinburgh
Edinburgh is one of those cities where sitting in a teashop, perhaps with time to kill before taking a train to anywhere, north, south or west (not east as you'd end up in the sea) is a very chilled out experience. A good book to read, a millionaire's shortbread to tuck into, what could be better?

Well, the Journal On-line has produced a guide to the Scottish capital's teashops. Click here for more.

Godstone farm shop opens a caff...

Flower Farm shop, Godstone – now there's a caff too!

I've been to this farm shop on the A25 in Godstone and it's fantastic. To make things even better, they've opened a teashop.

Rock star opens teashop...

Smashing Pumpkins front man Billy Corgan is opening a teashop in his native Illinois, USA. 

Billy Corgan

Monday, 7 November 2011

Confirmation of Lobster Pot opening times...

The opening hours of the Lobster Pot in Felpham are as follows, says owner Tom Barnes:

"We open daily at 8am until 6pm as a café and then we run an evening service from 6pm until 11pm Tuesday to Saturday (last orders at 9pm)."

Thanks for that, Tom.

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Sandwiches - a significant market in the UK, says NPD Group

London: 19th October 2011 – The future looks challenging for traditional sandwich makers, as retailers, coffee shops, supermarkets and petrol stations expand their ranges to offer variety and value, backed by the convenience of availability at all points of the day. That is the key finding of latest research from foodservices specialists, The NPD Group. 

Research from NPD shows that consumers seeking value and convenience are the big winners at the moment. Growth in the take-away sandwich category has predominantly been in retail, supermarket, and petrol stations, where value and convenience are key features. At the same time, supermarkets and other retailers are increasing their number of outlets, putting them in direct competition with fast food players on the high street for sales at core meal times, including lunch and dinner.

The sandwich market is a significant one in the UK and in the 12 months ending June 2011, the number of sandwiches bought to eat out of the home grew by 87.6 million (from 1.9 billion to 2.0 billion) – an increase of 4.5% over the same period to June 2010. Outlets gaining the most from the increased sales were pubs (where sandwich sales increased by 31.5 million sandwiches), coffee shops (up by 27.4 million sandwiches) and retail/supermarkets, selling 19.9 million more sandwiches to eat on the go. In the same period, quick service sandwich specialists achieved minor growth of 1% for the year ending June 2011, selling an extra 6.7 million sandwiches, although their quick service bakery counterparts posted 4% growth for the same period; an increase of just over 7 million sandwich servings.

Commenting on the change to the competitive landscape for traditional sandwich brands, Guy Fielding, NPD’s Director of Foodservice says: “Non-sandwich specialists are offering the convenience of longer opening hours, a good choice of fillings at a wide range of price points and revolving menus that ensure variety. They are also packaging sandwiches and drinks into ‘meal deals’ for value and adding innovations such as smaller portions, half sandwiches, or ‘skinny’ offerings. Basically, they are making it possible to pick up a fresh, good value sandwich-based meal when and where we want, without going out of our way to buy it. It is a real step-change for this sector of the food market. ”

Article from NPD. For further information, log on to

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Coolberry Cafe rejuvenates frozen yoghurt
The fortunes of frozen yoghurt look set to be rejuvenated by Coolberry Cafe, a brand developed by former BB’s Coffee and Muffins executive Michelle Young.
Coolberry Cafe - expect big things.
Young is planning a two-pronged approach to marketing her new product. One is to offer coffee shop and cafe proprietors what she calls a good add-on product – complete with brand support material for in-store sales; and two is the development of a mobile concept aimed primarily at event catering.
According to Young, frozen yoghurt has re-emerged as a lifestyle product with a strong healthy eating agenda.
“People are much more aware of the health benefits,” she said, adding that the product is made in Italy and offers a refreshing, light taste similar in style to a sorbet.
Coolberry Cafe is targeting coffee shops, high street bakeries and sandwich outlets, offering branded or unbranded refrigeration equipment and point-of-sale. Young, who has also penetrated the education sector, claims that her product is not seasonal and that sales figures prove its popularity throughout the year.
The mobile Coolberry Cafe idea, while in its infancy, has already proved successful for Young and she plans to expand it next year, possibly looking at franchising.
“It’s a good format and there are so many events next year,” she said.
Coolberry Cafe frozen yoghurt is dispensed through a soft serve ice cream machine and resembles a Mr Whippy in terms of appearance.
Young argues that while some people, particularly the older generation, fail to understand frozen yoghurt as a concept, most people who try it walk away with a smile on their faces.
Select Service Partner buoyant, claims Keating
Tony Keating, the CEO of Select Service Partner (SSP), claims that the company is ‘doing well in difficult times’.
Caffe Ritazza - a leading SSP brand.
The international travel catering business operates 25 different foodservice brands in 30 countries and, according to Keating, is operating in growth markets – predominantly air and rail.
“Throughout the world, passenger numbers are recovering,” said Keating, reaffirming SSP’s long-term commitment to the sector ‘today and tomorrow’.
Keating highlighted an understandable sales dip for SSP in Egypt, but added that, despite the troubles there, sales had started to recover.
Keating said that SSP’s Uppercrust brand has been ‘amazingly successful’ as it is genuinely an ‘on the move’ product offering. The brand is 100 per cent company-owned and operates 60 units in the UK.  Growth plans are focused around airports.
SSP’s Millie’s Cookies will grow through franchising and has a presence in most of the UK’s best shopping centres. The brand makes a five per cent contribution to SSP’s £600 million UK turnover and is a ‘strong revenue generator’, according to Keating.
As a Burger King franchisee, SSP has outlets in most of its UK locations and would consider airports for future development, should client demand arise. Keating said that SSP clients tend to avoid operating Burger King and McDonald’s on the same site.
SSP is a Soho Coffee Co franchisee and has plans to expand the brand, which is food-led. There are currently two units at Manchester Airport and one at Birmingham Airport’s Terminal Two.
SSP owns and runs 45 Caffe Ritazza units in the UK and 140 globally. The Ritazza brand works well for SSP, according to Keating, as it is licensed and provides a flexible day-part offering for travellers.
The priority for Caffe Ritazza, said Keating, was driving like-for-like sales in existing stores and rolling out the brand’s new format as and when opportunities arise.
SSP plans to remain focused on the travel sector. With a presence at over 250 airports globally, the company hopes to win more business in the USA and expand its operations in Asia.
I Made it For You - opens in Hoxton
A ‘greasy spoon’ cafe, formerly known as The Teapot, has re-opened as I Made it For You, a tea and home-made cakes operation based in Hoxton, London.
The concept is the brainchild of Karen Byrne and Tom Hopkinson and is very much based upon selling traditional tea and cakes baked on the premises.
I Made it For You opened in September and has been a labour of love for Byrne and Hopkinson who are self-confessed foodies.
 “The whole idea is about being in somebody’s kitchen. All the baking  is done on shop floor and a big inspiration has been Tom’s mum’s kitchen in Shropshire,” Byrne explained, adding that the menu is limited because of the size of the kitchen.
“We’re hoping to offer hot stews daily and have applied for an alcohol licence. The plan is to open in the evening and sell a selection of Irish cheeses, ham hock terrine and pork pies. It’s all about using free range meats and high quality produce – the sort of thing you eat at home,” Byrne said.
During the day, I Made if For You is ‘a nice cafe’, according to Byrne, where the main focus will be on serving tea and cake.
Tea, supplied by London-based Postcard Teas, is served in pot. There are 10 different varieties on offer including five black teas and two oolongs as well as chai and Pu-ehr, a Chinese tea.
According to Byrne, the plan is to develop a local audience and focus on weekday trade initially.
“We’re hands on and do all the cooking,” Byrne said, explaining how her day starts at 6am with baking Welsh cakes, which are similar to scones.
“Tom does the coffee and we might swap over, but customers can ask us what we’re doing; the idea is that you’re in our kitchen and you’re eating hot food straight from our ovens,” Byrne added.
Indie operator in Stratford’s Westfield
David Dickinson, a Putney-based independent coffee shop operator, has opened a store in the new Westfield shopping centre in Stratford, East London.
Independent coffee shop Grind can be found in Stratford's Westfield.
The former musician was approached by a regular customer who was also a director of Westfield -  and a big fan of Dickinson’s South West London coffee shop.
Over the past two years, Dickinson’s Grind coffee shop in Putney has received a great deal of positive publicity based purely on the quality of the coffee, the service and the store’s general vibe.
The Westfield director approached Dickinson with a view to Grind opening inside the shopping mall, but Dickinson was initially reluctant to proceed.
 “I didn’t really know if it was the route to take. I had no finance, but to cut a long story short, they [Westfield] said that they would back me,” he said.
Grind’s Stratford Westfield unit is located in the Great Eastern Market section of the mall and opened to the public on September 13. It opens seven days a week and serves an antipodean style of coffee and a range of products baked on-site such as ANZAC biscuits as well as sandwiches, brownies and cakes.
Dickinson describes Grind’s Westfield store as a local cafe in a mainstream market.
“It’s very busy, but relaxed and homely,” he said.

Thursday, 28 July 2011

The Egg Café, Liverpool

The Egg Café entrance – purple and bohemian. It's funny how, out of 'mauve'
and 'purple', the latter sounds just a little bit more alive.
Well, with a name like The Egg Café, it wasn't going to be long before it came to the attention of this blog. Founded in 1984 by Janine Pinion, it's located in the heart of Liverpool (just off of Bold Street, near Central Station) and it's a little bit trendy – in good way. There's an independent art gallery on site (Eggspace) and it claimed to have a relaxed and bohemian atmosphere. Brilliant! For more, click here.

The only downside is that it's a vegetarian caff – no sausages or black pudding – but if you need a rest from high-fat cuisine, it's worth a try.

Personally, I love the bohemian, ground floor entranceway.

Friday, 17 June 2011

Six of the best places for a decent cuppa

Yahoo has put together a list of the best places to enjoy a cup of tea. Click here for details.

Pay by phone, not by cash

Almost one quarter (23 per cent) of people are interested in using their mobile phone ito pay for purchases, according to a survey by YouGov and take-up of what is being called “wave and pay” technology is expected to be rapid.

Forget cash, use your mobile instead

However, while five per cent of those surveyed claimed that they would get the technology as soon as it's available, 48 per cent said they won't be rushing out to swap their real wallet for a mobile phone-based alternative. 

When it comes to awareness levels, more than a third (36 per cent) of respondents admitted they didn't know if their existing phone was enabled to make cashless payments with a technology known as Near Field Communications (NFC). 

Russell Feldman, a YouGov Consultant behind the research said that many consumers were attracted to the idea of paying via their mobile phone and that retailers, mobile operators and handset manufacturers have a real opportunity to educate consumers about the advantages of paying for goods and services in this way. 

"We believe that once people have seen it in practice they will be quick to adopt it," said Feldman.

The top perceived benefits of a mobile phone-based payment system are convenience to pay (87 per cent); the speed of paying (67 per cent); easier than carrying cash and cards (67 per cent); better for the environment (37 per cent); less chance of losing personal information than with paper receipts (35 per cent); and being able to keep track of spending more easily (29 per cent). 

The main reason for respondents not planning to use mobile payment in the future is that they are happy with the way they pay now (67 per cent). There are also concerns about security and fraud (56 per cent), and some respondents say they either don't need a mobile payment system or aren't interested (both at 45 per cent). 

However, 44 per cent are concerned about viruses or 'malware' and even those already planning to adopt the new technology have concerns over security and fraud (79 per cent). Viruses and malware are also top worries for this group (66 per cent). 

According to Feldman, there will always be consumer concerns about adopting any new technology, He argued that consumers need to be certain that these genuine worries have been addressed before they fully embrace the idea.

"Our research suggests that consumers see using NFC technology as inevitable, and they are expecting supermarkets, mobile phone and consumer electronics retailers to be the first to offer contactless payments.”

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Ten things you didn't know about coffee shops...

Starbucks – the first unit opened on Pike Street Market, Seattle, WA.

Yahoo Lifestyle has an interesting feature on coffee retailing. Click here for more.

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

If ever you're in Connecticut... looks as if a visit to the Savvy Tea Gourmet is definitely not to be missed.

Click here for more details.

Gary Parda and Julie Guard of the Savvy Tea Gourmet. Photo
courtesy of World Tea News (.com)

The Lobster Pot in Felpham: fancy waiting an hour for a sausage sandwich?

A rather nice illustration of Felpham's Lobster Pot restaurant.

Look, I'm going to be honest from the start: in my opinion Felpham's Lobster Pot restaurant on the West Sussex coast near Bognor Regis, has lost something – and I think it's the larger-than-life lady that used to run the place (who has since left and now runs a B&B). Back in the day (and we're not talking years ago either) she was in charge and the customers knew where they stood. They knew that they wouldn't have to wait 30 minutes for their food, they knew that the tables would be regularly cleared and, well, they knew that when they came off the beach in search of a cup of tea or a sandwich or anything, that all would be well.

Avid readers of this blog will know that I, your humble narrator, have a lot of time for the Lobster Pot – and for good reason. As a child, my parents would bring my brother and sister and me to Felpham for our annual holidays. We used to rent a house on the beach on the Summerley Estate and we loved it – and still do.

The Lobster Pot, which used to be called Perdido's many years ago, was part of our holiday fun. We'd walk along the promenade in the sun (it never rained) and enjoy traditional caff favourites such as sausage, egg and chips, with lashings of HP Sauce, washed down with a fizzy drink, normally Coke or Pepsi, and then walk back along the beach. It was a good mile, if not longer, to the house called 'Merryweather', which is still there today, but has, I think, lost the name.

Anyway, the larger than life lady has gone, the place is now open at night as well as during the day, it has a slightly trendy air about it – and, of late, the service has been very poor.

Today (April 20th) the sun was shining brightly (at 23 deg C, London temperatures were on a par with Alice Springs)  and there were a lot of people taking in the sun on the beach.

Whenever I visit Felpham, the Lobster Pot is my first port of call and so it was today. But unlike in the good old days when the larger-than-life lady was in charge, there was a warning on the counter reading something like, "All food orders will take 30 minutes." I should have known better and ordered a slice of cake or a biscuit from the counter-top display, but I opted for the sausage sandwich – and waited over an hour for it!

Other customers were getting visibly annoyed as they too waited unnecessarily long periods for what amounted to very basic and easy-to-prepare food. My wife had arrived at the restaurant ahead of me – by about 15 minutes – and had ordered separately for herself (quiche and salad) and our daughter Serena (sausage, beans and chips) while I went in search of a cashpoint machine. Serena's sausages, by the way, were a cut above standard caff sausages.

I reached the restaurant at around a quarter past one, but the sausage sandwich I ordered didn't arrive until a quarter past two. Appalling! I made a point of nudging one of the 'waiters' and informing him that I'd been waiting for an hour for one sausage sandwich. In that time I could have made half a dozen, I almost informed him.

There were plenty of other customers getting steadily angry and developing peeved expressions as their food failed to materialise and all I can say is that, perhaps, the menu is not right for the day-time trade or the staff are too inexperienced to cope with such high demand. I began to wonder how they would perform on a hot July day.

The fact that there's a 30-minute wait for any food order means they must be doing something wrong. Surely, if a lot of the meals involve frozen chips, as they do, it's got to be fairly straightforward if you're in the catering business. And if sausages are involved, why don't they cook off a load of them and have them ready for service? Likewise, the fillings for sandwiches. Don't tell me everything is cooked to order – now that would be ridiculous for this sort of establishment, even if it does take on a different character at night. During the day, it's a traditional seaside caff!

I'm not a caterer, but I've written a fair bit about food and restaurants in my time (as editor of Pub Food and Hotel & Restaurant magazines). I've listened to chefs of all abilities discussing how they conduct themselves in the kitchen and, whichever way you look at it, the Lobster Pot is getting something seriously wrong – or it's certainly getting it wrong during the day as I've yet to experience the nocturnal offering. Either they're slacking and not putting everything into it, or they're simply not up to it. The average daytime customer, who invariably wants a sandwich or something with chips, shouldn't be expected to wait an hour for it! Although, the problem here, however, is that customers pay up front for their food and become, in a sense, a captive audience for incompetence. Either way, the Lobster Pot was cheesing off a lot of its customers, including yours truly.

Personally, I won't be going back in a hurry – and for me, that's saying something – and I know that others probably won't be returning either. Next time I visit Felpham, I'll go to the larger place at the sea end of Blake Road: it's just as good, I reckon, and, hopefully, I won't have to wait an hour for a sausage sandwich or a plate of chips. Why should anybody waste precious time waiting for a simple and easy-to-prepar snack item? In many ways, it would have been fine if my incredibly long wait had been an isolated case; but no, there were many irate customers on the verge of losing their rags.

Bring back the larger-than-life lady!

Monday, 4 April 2011

Who needs (and who cares) about a £45 hot dog?

I don't know about you, but I despise restaurants that sell excessively pricey food. I used to edit a magazine in the fine dining sector of the market and a lot of the time I used to quietly wonder why the food was so expensive – not because the quality was so poor but just because there are limits for everything and food simply doesn't have to be expensive. There's no point. A lot of the time, you're paying for the presentation, you're certainly not paying for the quantity and, of course, it's all down to the ingredients.

Give them a banana! The world's most expensive hot dog. Photo: Yahoo!
Anyway, there's a restaurant in New York charging £45 for a hot dog and, as you might expect, it's a hot dog that is not only long, but one that has duck foie gras liberally sprinkled on the top. I hate foie gras, mainly because when I edited the food magazine I alluded to earlier, it was something that was always on the menu and it's horrible and it's disgusting the way it's made. I can't remember exactly, but it's something to do with force-feeding and it's just not right (click here for more details).

And then, of course, I wonder who will pay £45 for a foie gras hot dog and the answer is poncy people who are out to impress, bragging to their friends that they were foolish enough to spend £45 on a hot dog in the hope that their friends will be impressed.

Check out the story for yourself by clicking here.

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

37 per cent pre-tax profit rise fuels global growth for sarnie chain

Pret a Manger.
Sandwich chain Pret a Manger, founded by Julian Metcalfe and Sinclair Beacham, has announced a rise in pre-tax profits of 37 per cent to £46.1 million. The company is now planning to expand globally with 30 new stores. Click here for more.

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Last night a tea lady saved my life

Tea ladies – you never know when you're going to need one.

A Portsmouth pensioner's life was saved by a hospital tea lady. Click here for more.

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Tea Zone and Camelia Lounge – Portland, Oregon

Portland's Tea Zone and Camelia Lounge. Photo: World Tea News.
We've had combined bike repair shops and caffs and now we've got a tearoom and bar combined, this time in Portland, Oregon's trendy Pearl District. Click here for more.

Friday, 18 March 2011

Schizoid café in Southsea

Lin's Thai Café in Southsea, run by a mother and daughter team, has a dual personality, according to a Portsmouth-based news website. Click here for more.

Lin's Thai Café in Southsea

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Caff in court for charity

Mold Crown Court in Wales
According to a report in the Flintshire Chronicle in Wales, a caff has been set up in Mold Crown Court to raise money for the Wales Air Ambulance. Click here for more.

Japanese tea growers are fine, but what about the retailers?

While Japan's tea growers are reported to be fine after the recent earthquake and tsunami, there are fears for the country's urban coastal regions. According to a report from the on-line World Tea News, reports suggest that many have been swept away. For more information, click here.

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Tea room guide highlights the plight of our high streets

Tea room aficionado Joe Ellis' English Tea Room Tour Part 2 has revealed a startling trend for what is regarded as an English institution.

Joe Ellis, founder of Joe Ellis' Tea Room Guide and, toured 16 tea rooms around England but was only able to review 11 as five had been forced to shut down. 

Joe said: "It is heartbreaking to see these tea rooms either boarded up or replaced by fast food take away outlets. Sadly, this often happens due to circumstances outside the tea room owners’ control. It is endemic. English tea rooms up and down the country are struggling to survive, and yet each tea room is unique in its own way. 

"The High Streets of England are fast becoming mirror images of each other, with the same shops, restaurants and bars. The tea room is one of the last bastions which can give a town, village or city something different."

Harriett's Café and Tea Room, Peterborough
Photo from Upland Wolf Photostream.

On Joe's tour, he reviewed and awarded a recommendation status to each tea room he visited, with Harriett's Cafe and Tea Room in Peterborough being 'highly recommended,' nine other team rooms being awarded 'recommended' status and one picking up the Not My Cup of Tea (formerly 'moderate') ranking. 

Joe established to help and profile English tea rooms and what they provide to the community. He has visited been visiting tea rooms since the 1970's and a book entitled Joe Ellis' Tea Room Guide: A Guide to English Tea Rooms is soon to be published. 

Joe adds: "While there is a serious side to the plight that our tea rooms face, the idea of the website and the guide is also supposed to be a fun experience. We have a musical slide show of the tea rooms I visited appear on the website alongside full reviews with photographs. The site also offers short film clips of recommended and highly recommended tea rooms, including our first break into the 'movies' with Miss Mollett's High Class Tea Room in Appledore, Kent."

Joe's aim in 2011 is to make as many film clips as possible of English tea rooms, which will appear on and posted on YouTube. Joe hopes he will assist in their survival.

The next issue of Time for Tea magazine, (ISSN 2043-7161) is in full colour and free. It will feature tea rooms from tours one and two, tea features and many more interesting articles. 

For a free copy of Time for Tea, visit


For more information, contact:
 Joe Ellis’ Tea Room Guide
, PO Box 262, 
Herne Bay, 
 CT6 9AW. 
Telephone: 01227 376180 or 

Tea - the great soother of nerves

Location of Tchai-Ovna or 'house of tea' in Glasgow

Writing in the Herald Scotland, Tom Bruce-Gardyne argues that tea helps bring calm in a noisy world, whether it's PG Tips or Oolong. Click here for more details.

Thursday, 10 March 2011

Trend towards combined bike and coffee shops

Rising oil prices mean that more and more people are getting on their bikes – and not necessarily to find a job! In the USA there has been a growing trend towards bike shops and caffs combined where cyclists can turn up, have their punctures fixed and enjoy a cup of coffee (or tea) while they wait. A lot of these kind of venues are springing up in bike-friendly US cities like Portland, Oregon; Seattle; and San Francisco.

Here's John Lehman fixing Diana Meyer's wheel in R & E Cycles
in Seattle. Photo courtesy of MSNBC.

For more information, click here.

Thursday, 3 March 2011

Nick Clegg visits Headingley caff

The Hawkersgreen Café in Headingley near Leeds, run by Irene Tse, had a special visitor recently when Nick Clegg, the deputy prime minister popped in for a chat.

The Cleggmeister – he likes an Americano

"After ordering an Americano, Nick Clegg was very courteous and sat chatting to members of the public, answering various questions, including concerns about the huge rise of university fees and the reforms of the NHS," said Irene.

Click here for more.

A cup of tea – still the UK's favourite brew

Nothing better than a teapot with a tea cosy!

While British pubs are closing, we are still drinking plenty of tea. In fact, we're consuming 165 million cups of the stuff every day – that's 60.2 billion per year. Click here for more details.

Thursday, 24 February 2011

A bit more mooching around...

First, a note on Gee's in Derby, a place I visited some months ago, but didn't post anything. I went back there in early December 2010, when the snow started (remember the snow?). Well, I was staying in the European Hotel up the road from Gee's and my colleague and I decided to eat breakfast out rather than opt for the hotel breakfast. We chose Gee's and it was excellent. The last time I sat there listening to postman discuss the hung parliament situation, so it must have been May 2010, and I had mushroom omelette and chips with a mug of tea; this time I had breakfast: scrambled egg on toast and tea and there were plenty of tabloids around to read and a bit of banter with the proprietor, a cheery chappy who was always ready and prepared to be engaged in chit chat.

Gee's in Derby, a good alternative to the hotel breakfast.

We sat there reading The Sun and the Daily Star, all very droll, but nevertheless enjoyable. Later that day, with the snow coming down I tried to head back to London and managed it, just about, getting to Croydon, the slow way and emerging late at night on to the streets where I waited for a cab (they were charging double fare) to get home. Still, I made it.

If ever you're in Derby, holed up in a hotel and in need of a cheerful breakfast, head on down to Gee's as the prices are very reasonable, the atmosphere is great and the food's okay too.

Bill's, Lewes, East Sussex

More precisely, it's Bill's Produce Store in Lewes, East Sussex, a gem of place. If you're in the area, make a point of having lunch or even afternoon tea. It's one of those places that sells all sorts of stuff as well as being a caff. Perhaps 'caff' is not right – making it borderline territory for this blog – but it's great, a kind of caff/deli/fresh produce shop, very busy, wooden tables and licensed too. This is, however, a place a few doors down that this blog should be looking at; it's called something like Le Magazin, but either way, very quaint and much smaller than Bill's.

Bill's in Lewes: it's good but in danger of getting too big for its boots, ie it's getting a bit pricey!

Bill's is one of those places, I feel, that could easily become a victim of its own success. It's not cheap for a start and you do get that feeling that, while it is good, it's obviously trading on its possible 'legendary' status and charging the earth, making some customers wonder, " was okay, but not THAT good...". A Bill's unit has been opened in London too, meaning it's suddenly become a chain operation and in danger of getting too big for its boots.

The Bakery, Lacock, Wiltshire

Now this really was a find! There's only one table on which to eat, so expect to share with strangers, but the table in question is large and made of wood, a farmhouse kitchen table, and the great thing is you can choose from many different baked items, such as sausage rolls, pies, pasties and so on. I would heartily recommend the steak and onion pasty. There's also a load of 'stuff' such as jams and chutneys and old fashion sweets in those big jars; think liquorice torpedos, rhubarb & custards, that sort of thing, and the women serving wear these bonnets, making them look kind of olde worlde – just like Lacock, which, incidentally, has been used extensively in the filming of the Harry Potter movies.

We were served by this very woman! I recommend the steak & onion pasty.

Friday, 18 February 2011

Good Life actor to open Black Isle café

Penelope Keith, of Good Life and To the Manor Born fame, has finally got the go-ahead to open a teashop in the village of Avoch on the Black Isle in the Scottish Highlands. Click here for more information.
Penelope Keith – opening a caff in Avoch.

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

India to be a top international market for Lavazza coffee

A recent report in the India Times states that Giuseppe Lavazza, the vice-president of Luigi Lavazza SPA, wants to focus on India as a top international market for the Lavazza coffee business. The company entered the Indian market in 2007 having acquired the Barista chain of coffee bars. Click here for more.

Monday, 24 January 2011

Brekkie updates from Portsmouth...

Check out this article from the Portsmouth News. The paper is linking up with Wave 105, a local radio station, and is encouraging readers and listeners to write or call in about their favourite breakfast haunts. Click here for full story.

Coffee shops in Northampton...

With the number of coffee shops in Northampton growing all the time, and a new drive-thru Starbucks planned for St James Retail Park, the Northampton Chronicle's Anna Brosnan decided to find out more about the current buzz surrounding all things caffeinated and explore what it is like behind the scenes of one of the country’s best known chains. Click here for full story. 

The different between teashops and coffee houses...

Check out an interesting article on about the differences between branded coffee
 houses and good old British tearooms. Should the latter be adapting to avoid extinction? Click here. 

Friday, 14 January 2011

Guardian readers' tips on where to find a big breakfast...

Photo credit: Alamy.
Let's make a new year's resolution and get out to more caffs in 2011. Check out this article based on recommendations from readers of the Guardian newspaper. Click here for caffs galore!

Trend towards art cafés in Birmingham

Photo credit: Graham Turner for The Guardian.
Temporary cafes are opening in empty shops in Birmingham with the aim of creating a social space where people can meet and enjoy art. Read more. 

Budget eats in Ludlow...courtesy of the Guardian...

If ever you find yourself looking for somewhere decent to eat that won't break the bank, The Guardian  published details recently of its top ten budget eats.

Ludlow's Castle Tea Rooms.
For more information, click here.