Saturday, 11 December 2010

Roast, London, UK

The majestic Roast sits above Borough Market and is a fine restaurant. Quite clearly full of city types rather than the normal borough mix up of the city, market, creatives and journos it is still a great place to eat even if a little steep. If you want to sample it then Roast To Go down on the market floor is (try devil's on horse back and the roast pork sarnie) well worth it.

We both went for the roast rib of Welsh Black sheep, Roast's awesome roast potatoes, sprouts with stuffing and lardons and a lovely bottle of merlot. The food was excellent and so to finish off we thought we should, for the sake of the blog order a coffee.

The organic Columbian Roast special blend had to be sampled as a filter. Although a little weak it had a fantastic full earthy flavour. This Columbian was one of the freshest tasting coffee's I've ever consumed, you could taste the raw beans. Unfortunately the aftertaste suffered from a little fuzzy muddiness but it was not too bitter so far from a bad experience.
(This photo was been borrowed from the Roast website. Sorry for lack of permission. Will replace asap)


  • Black Filter (french press)
  • weak to medium
  • Great taste but with some fuzz
  • Pressed
  • Cafetiere for two
  • £3.00 a head


A good coffee no doubt. Incredible taste but not enough strength and for the price the overall package this joe did not transcend time and space.

Roast
Map

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Grace's Place, Brighton, UK

They boast the best fresh coffee on Brighton beach front and they probably do have it. Although confusingly they have the word "filter" written after Americano this is only to help punters who don't understand what an Americano is, that is, it is a coffee. Situated right on the beach next to Peter Pan's playground Grace's could easily be a lazy tourist trap but they seem to make a genuine effort with what is on.


It was terribly cold and the coffee hit the spot nicely. Apart from a bizarre overly bubbly crema the coffee had a good taste and aroma. There were no nasty after taste surprises and it had a good strength. This coffee didn't lack anything specifically and certainly was not bad in any way but overall the taste itself did not reach the very top tier  of coffee out there.

  • Black Americano
  • Strong
  • Smooth with a generally good taste
  • A huge amount of very bubbly crema
  • Regular size
  • £1.40
A surprise hit right by the sea. good taste, good strength but not quite top tier. Well worth a taste and certainly nothing better right on the front.

Map - could not find a perfect address so this will have to do.

Sunday, 21 November 2010

moksha caffe, Brighton, UK

Moksha is a relatively new establishment near the London road in Brighton. It has the feel of a chain with a highly polished but slightly sterile interior. So although large, roomy, nicely decorated and boasting some original artwork hung well, the synthetic nature of it took something away. The original review was lost to over enthusiastic paper recycling which is good for Moksha as it was not terribly positive, this time things were better.

Surprisingly smooth and with a good strength this coffee elevated itself over the standard station swill. There was the hint of something not quite right, possibly the beans were not as fresh as they could have been which resulted in an odd taste. At first there was no poor after taste, it went down well but suddenly I was caught with a tacky bitter taste in my mouth, thoroughly unpleasant. On top of the frankly crap cup that leaked everywhere this final assault on my person by my own beverage meant that the strengths were outweighed by the negatives.


  • Black Americano
  • Medium strength
  • Flavour slightly poor but smooth
  • A little crema
  • Large 
  • £2.10 (corrected from comments.)

Brewing with the high quality of Union beans I would expect more from what was a distinctly average cup. In a word, mediocre.
*correction - Need to check but I misreported and it is a locally roasted own blend served here.

Amsterdam, The Netherlands: Weekend break

A slight hiatus in posting is over.

This break has been punctuated with a trip to Amsterdam, a city of many facets. A full and rigorous set of reviews of every cafe and coffee shop was planned for the visit. This action plan fell apart in around 5 minutes of meeting the rest of the party in a coffee shop; apathy set in and the reviews were suspended for the weekend.

Like much of the continent the general quality of coffee is several steps ahead of the UK. It seems even the most terrible dive can rustle up a half decent, well balanced cup of joe to lubricate the body and mind.

The trip consistent of all almost constant coffee consumption so the fact that the standard is that much higher was a blessing.

A couple of places I can pull out from the haze:

Cafe La Grotte where we had a super breakfast, strong coffee and friendly service but quite bizarre cave style decorations.

't BlaueTheehuis (Blue Tea House) in Vondel Park was a great place, I was taken there by my old pal Alf who lives out in dam now. Good coffee and a nice place to take someone on a date as the dark park is romantically lit by the night lighting.





Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Farm, Brighton, UK

The cafe Farm who this review features has recently opened a small farmers market in the lanes. This kind of venture must be applauded along with their ethos of good locally produced food. The inside of the cafe has a rustic quality and it seems like the kind of establishment where the coffee will be first rate, especially as they serve Monmouth beans (my favourite). It never opens before 9 which seems a little crazy for picking up on the way to work foot traffic and luckily for this blog I was late one day and managed to pop in and grab some joe.

The coffee was rushed and made with very little care; seeing this I thought it would be a disaster and was prepared for a teeth clenching muddy ashtray infusion. Being first in I benefited from very freshly ground coffee which helped with the taste. I was a little surprised to see the barista knocking out some coffee before tamping it down without refilling meaning the actual amount that went in was more like a shot than a double. This left the coffee a little weak for my tastes for the sake of something like 5p. However having said all that it was not that bad, a bit nondescript but certainly not unpleasant. If care was taken and more actual coffee applied there could be a great coffee here. 


After totally failing to take a photo I stole their logo. I hope they don't mind me reproducing without permission. I have a photo in mind so intend to replace as soon as I can.

  • Black Americano
  • Medium strength
  • Slightly bitter aftertaste
  • No crema
  • Medium to large 
  • £1.80

Not a well made coffee but somehow it dragged itself out of being not very good to being roughly around alright. 




Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Blue Bird Cafe, Ferring (Worthing), UK

Cycling in a storm with my brother, each with a child lashed to our bicycles was a challenge. Our goal was to work our way along the seafront to a popular cafe. This dog friendly establishment was rammed with Sunday morning breakfasters, a slight steam in the air  from the condensations of wet bodies meeting warm air. There was a buzz of conversation and a fast service of hot food being brought from the kitchen.

The food was great, reasonably priced, locally sourced and they served chips that were not chips but incredible fluffy roast potatoes. The coffee on the other hand was poor. A cartridge based machine (I didn't catch the brand) which produced poor tasting, lifeless coffee. No aroma, that bizarre air driven crema and a taste closer to the last cup in a cafeteria and not the first of the jug.



  • Black Americano
  • Medium strength
  • Pretty tasteless but not offensive
  • Fake crema
  • Medium size
  • £1.80


Not very good coffee but go for the location, the food and the dogs.

http://www.ferringvillage.co.uk/business-directory/bluebird-cafe.htm
Map

Monday, 4 October 2010

Mange Tout, Brighton, UK

This cafĂ© restaurant opens later than my normal walk to work so it is rare for me to get a chance to have a coffee there. I was the first person into the attractive modern airy establishment this morning, unfortunately there will still a strong smell of cleaning products in the air. 


The staff were smiling, calm and laid back; when the order came they leapt into action, swiftly with making the coffee. As this was their first coffee of the day I got beans as freshly ground as they can be, these beans where from the Small Batch coffee company.



It came overly large and this weakened the taste a little but overall it was strong enough and quite smooth. The Joe had a good oily sheen and the only real negatives were that I forgot to drink it right away and a slight overly bitter tang at the back of the palette.



  • Black Americano
  • Medium strength
  • Nice and smooth
  • Medium crema
  • Medium to large
  • £1.80

Not at all bad and certainly the best from this place so far. It even came with a tiny meringue. If I had requested it to be a little shorter this would have been a contender so worth another try for certain.


Map




Tuesday, 21 September 2010

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Monday, 20 September 2010

Grills & Greens, Godalming, UK

Lovely Godalming is a picture postcard village in Surrey. Having lived in Guildford I always saw Godalming  as a nicer place to go when you got a bit older. Recently I went to Grills & Greens for a solid dinner before hitting the local pubs and wine bars. The food for pretty standard fayre, not incredible but by no means bad. We had the Malbec which was excellent and I went for the steak which complimented each other nicely. The service was friendly but very sleepy.

As much as I liked the place I did not the like the coffee. Although my friend rated the espresso I do not trust his sense of taste. Overly bitter right at the front of the palette it seemed stale and badly put together. I couldn't actually finish it but this was partly to being so full at the time as opposed to it being the worst ever.

I was a little worse for wear and did not take a photo. This photo pinched without permission from this lovely walking site. I will replace with one of my own soon.


  • Black Americano
  • Medium strength
  • Nice and smooth
  • Processed crema
  • Medium mug
  • £2.15


Really not very good coffee after an effort of good standing with the food.

http://www.grillsandgreens.co.uk/
Map

Bills, Brighton, UK

Bills is an institution in Brighton (and the other locations it resides in). The food is excellent, waiting 30 minutes to get a table for breakfast is well worth it. The milkshakes are far too good for my health and the eggs Benedict rocks my world. Having drunk coffee there before I knew it was well made but it had not had a proper review, this time I tried a take away.

It was quite a large mug that I was handed with but it smelt pleasant so I reserved judgement. By the time I reached work it had cooled sufficiently to be drunk fast. It was still strong despite the size but immediately I new it was good as it was so smooth. The taste was not revolutionary and it could have been shorter and therefore stronger but there were no real complaints to be had about this cup of Joe.


  • Black Americano
  • Strong
  • Nice and smooth
  • Low Crema
  • Large mug
  • £1.50 

A little on the big side but a good solid coffee without a doubt.

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Cocoa, Brighton, UK

Cocoa is a French patisserie in Brighton run by Jana Solfronk & Julien Plumart. The cakes and the meringues especially all look incredible. You need strength to visit a coffee shop like this. The coffee came a bit big but had a good strength. Sadly the taste just was not there, overly bitter and muddied it had been badly put together to create a truly middle of the road coffee experience.


  • Black Americano
  • Strong
  • A little muddy and bitter
  • Medium Crema
  • Large mug
  • £1.40 

Disappointing considering the quality of the baking. Go for the little cakes and not the Joe.


http://www.cocoabrighton.co.uk/
Map

Friday, 17 September 2010

Buona Sera Restaurant, Clapham, London, UK

This espresso (and a beer too) was free as they processed our bill before giving us the drinks. This by no means will interfere with the review. This unassuming Italian seemed empty and a cheap and cheerful place to get a bite to eat before a night out. It certainly was cheap and cheerful but it had also much more to offer. By the end of the meal Bouna Sera was buzzing with people and conversation, the waitresses were pretty and polite, the chefs were doing tricks with the pizza dough and the pizza itself was fantastic. A great restaurant.

The espresso came in the daintiest of mugs. It was very dark and the crema was nearly black under the restaurant lights. It was strong and smooth but perhaps could have had a cleaner taste overall. The taste was still above average and maximum marks given for this Joe being the perfect size. It was tiny and by just giving me the oil and no excess water it gave the purity and strength that an espresso should have.

The thick crema could not be left and had to be spooned out by little finger; it felt like a gently bitter dessert at that point.



  • Espresso
  • Very strong
  • The taste was a little muddled but good
  • Crema like whipped cream
  • Tiny mug 
  • £2.00 (or free)

A very solid espresso with ridiculous amounts of crema. 

Cafe Rouge, Brighton, UK

Damn Fine Joe does not just seek out the coffee boutiques and station stalls it gives restaurants and hotels equal time to be raised up or cast down.

Cafe Rouge always supplies a fine feed and on visiting recently I also treated myself to their black Americano. It was a modest to poor effort firmly placing it in the drinkable but indifferent category of coffee. It certainly had strength but had been over espressed possibly with stale beans providing a far too bitter fore and after taste to the proceedings.


  • Black Americano
  • Very strong
  • Drinkable but far too bitter
  • No Crema
  • Overly large mug
  • £1.95




Not very good but by no means terrible. 


Cafe Rouge, Brighton, UK

Damn Fine Joe does not just seek out the coffee boutiques and station stalls it gives restaurants and hotels equal time to be raised up or cast down.

Cafe Rouge always supplies a fine feed and on visiting recently I also treated myself to their black Americano. It was a modest to poor effort firmly placing it in the drinkable but indifferent category of coffee. It certainly had strength but had been over espressed possibly with stale beans providing a far too bitter fore and after taste to the proceedings.


  • Black Americano
  • Very strong
  • Drinkable but far too bitter
  • No Crema
  • Overly large mug
  • £1.95




Not very good but by no means terrible. 


Monday, 13 September 2010

Ground, Brighton, UK

One of the closest Joe houses near me it took an age to write up a review. Nicely done up inside the store takes the coffee seriously and they were using Union beans.




I had a single but followed it up with a double as the single didn't touch the sides. It smelt strong and looked the business. See above, the thick Crema and the oily gleam are always a sign of quality. It was made with not too much water, not over espressed, fresh beans, not burnt and all resulting in a strong, smooth and sweet infusion of bean and water. It was excellent and I have to thank the bartista.


The single negative was that  it made for an expensive breakfast so if you are hungry and thirsty so watch even though every product is of the highest quality.


They even made a lovely Babychino for us.




  • Black Americano
  • Strong
  • Smooth tasting and hitting all the right notes
  • Good Crema
  • Small cup
  • £>?

Very good in all aspects, go try this coffee. 


Map
http://groundcoffeehouses.com/



Redwood Coffee House, Brighton, UK

Another new coffee shop in Brighton opened on Trafalgar street. This new shop looked very nice inside but was deserted, this may have been because it was new or perhaps because of the entirely inappropriate early morning music. The coffee came fast but in a very large cup. Size is always an issue however I can say straight out that even with this size it was surprisingly well balanced. The coffee smelt good and was not beset with bitterness or ashtray after taste. The strength has been slightly diminished by the water but it was not burnt and still shone through with a touch of sweetness at the end. 

Without a doubt it had been well made with good technique and good beans. I could not clearly see where the beans where from but some notices implied they were roasting their own but certainly it seemed to be from a small batch set up.



  • Black Americano
  • Medium Strength
  • Good aroma with a smooth taste
  • Too large but not overly watery
  • No Crema
  • Large cup
  • £1.80

With the size of the cup I had concerns but this was a more than average coffee. Worth visiting again but will ask for it short.

http://www.redwoodcoffeehouse.com/home/?page_id=2 (was under construction at time of posting)


Map