Monday, 31 October 2011

Bill & Broomsticks

Witches' Broomsticks on sale in Lewes plus Bill's Produce Store's Hallowe'en display at their nearby cafe

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Soup Howler

Sometimes caterers miss the mark by a mile.  Upon enquiring, the soup was courgette.  Have you ever eaten courgette soup?

A caterer who can neither spell nor produce a soup that might appeal.  Lordy.

Soup in Cafe Rule #1: Don't change it every day
Soup in Cafe Rule #2: Keep to the flavours that sell well - shelf space in the local supermarket is always a good guide

Saturday, 29 October 2011

The 75p Bacon Buttie

BHS wows them in at 75p for a bacon roll provided you buy a hot drink before 11.30am

Friday, 28 October 2011

Buy With Your Eyes Bill

View at Bill's front door in Cliffe/Lewes.

Bill's Produce Store may now be owned by a corporate but their display is ace.

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Hitting the Dizzy Heights

Great Cafes occasionally hits the restaurant scene especially if its my wedding anniversary.  Superb meal at The Hand & Flowers, Marlow with £50 Roast Hog for two the star turn.
Stuffed Trotter, Roast Hog with divine crackling, Pig's Head cubes plus apple sauce, gravy and to exceed expectations (and not mentioned on the menu) earthenware mugs of cider.

The whole meal was exceptional - bread, service and this potatoes baked in salt bread.  You ease off the rope, slice off the top and the potatoes are cooked inside.  The bread is too salty to eat.

Tom & Beth Kerridge - a definite two star Michelin turn.  Thank-you.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Fresh Fruit Display - Part 4

Simple fruit display - two types of locally grown apples - at Laporte's cafe in Lewes.

Fruit display by Restaurant Associates at Nomura's offices in the City

See previous blogs re fresh fruit display

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Kickarse Coffee & Life Changing Cake

Brighton has a superb range of cafes and, in my humble opinion, takes clear second place after London.

They have their own excellent Brighton & Hove Independent Cafe Guide (A.J. Evans & L.V.Price - Vespertine Press 2011) and many Brighton brands have made their way to London - Bill's Produce Store and Taylor St. Baristas to name two.

Marwood sets the tone and even the library has a local cafe operation - Temptation - amongst the books.  New places are opening all the time, recession or no, - watch out for the Small Batch Coffee Company in Jubilee Street and The Blackbird Tea Rooms in Ship Street.  Many more blog entries to come from this part of the world and I haven't checked out Hove as yet.

The whole street and shop scene is great.  Chilli lovers should check out Pete's

Monday, 24 October 2011

Going Strong Since 1941

The Pavilion Gardens Cafe is a park cafe in central Brighton and has been in family ownership since 1941.  They have even published a book 'Teatime Tales' about themselves.  Smartly dressed staff, good cakes and scones - they clearly intend to be around for their centenary.

Sunday, 23 October 2011


 The Cafe at Needlemakers in Lewes - fabulous sandwiches and cakes plus low-cost, quirky fit out.

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Burning Bright

Salty's Fish Restaurant & Bar in Yarmouth, Isle of Wight is a yachtie's favourite and the welcoming chandelier (supplied by granny) with lots of real lit candles sets the scene perfectly.

Check out owner Nicky Green's other passion - photography - at

Friday, 21 October 2011

WiFi - Get With It

Only 20 million Ipads are forecast to be sold in the next 12 weeks!  20 million.  WiFi is essential for these Steve Jobs specials and the smart cafes have switched on given their role as affordable out-of-home meeting spaces.  Hotels charging £5/hour for wifi and goodness knows what for a poncy cup of coffee are dinosaurs. Just make sure your external advertising features the information.
Latest group to get it - Starbucks have just announced free WiFi throughout the UK

Thursday, 20 October 2011

More Recipease Please

Recipease in Brighton is a Jamie Oliver production and very good too (save for the fact they don't have wi-fi).  The cafe has great pastries and sandwiches, beautifully presented.  Sad they only have two outlets - one in Brighton and one in London - and I can only presume they are not as profitable as the fast expanding Jamies Italian concept.

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Stately Cakes but no Marmalade

The cake table at Blenheim Palace's Garden Cafe by Sodexo looked good but the enticing Marmalade Flapjack had no trace of any taste of  marmalade.  The caterers Searcys take over soon and we wait to see their take on stately home catering.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

The Open Kitchen to Beat All Open Kitchens

Those fortunate City workers at Nomura have this splendid, huge open kitchen as part of their staff restaurant.  Why would anyone hide away their kitchen if you can create something as visually wonderful as this.  Great theatre and a demonstration of what is possible.

Monday, 17 October 2011

School's Out - Cafe's In

Have you been back to your secondary school recently?  These photos (taken at my daughters' school) would not look out of place on the high street or in a visitor attraction cafe - multi-deck chillers, panini, espresso machine, the lot.

Innovate deserve their byline of "transforming school catering" and are expanding fast - getting on for 70 schools to date.

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Best of Brighton

Thorne's Foods shop and upstairs cafe/restaurant has just opened in Brighton tucked away in North Laines.  Great breakfast, delicious pastries and quirky table setting and bill in a pot.

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Guinea Pig Night

Anthony's restaurant in Leeds' Corn Exchange has Guinea Pig Night every Monday where you get the chance to try out new dishes and future menus for the reward of a bargain meal.  Inspired.

Friday, 14 October 2011

Cake Time

We agree with the sentiments at Caffe Nero, Chessington Garden Centre's Sedum restaurant and on Cox Cookies & Cake's T-shirt.

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Caked in Devon

The Exploding Bakery guys from Exeter are a new cake by the slice bakery and were making quite a name for themselves at the Lunch! show.  Great cakes and presentation.

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Hot Challenge

One way to market a burger and yourselves.  There have been no successful pictures on their Wall of Flames to date.  Telford has its limits!

Monday, 10 October 2011

A Sac, not a Bag

Paper T-Sacs allow you to offer loose leaf tea without the stigma of tea bags.  Benugo uses these to great effect at all its outlets.

Available from Jenier Teas.

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Resurrection of the Fruit Cake

Have you noticed how few cafes now sell fruit cake?  The cost of ingredients has put it out of reach of the best selling carrot cake and sponges.

The Handmade Cake Company has come to the rescue by reintroducing a pre-cut, home-made looking, quality fruit cake to their range.  It's not cheap but they are finding customers will pay for a slice of Winston Churchill's favourite tea-time treat.

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Cake Presentation - The Worst & Best - Part 2

How not to
(a museum cafe in  Leeds)

Create Food & Party Design should be proud of their cakes and display at Fulham Palace

See Part 1 at

Friday, 7 October 2011

Wacky, Weird, Eccentric & Ingenious

A self-pouring teapot from 1886.

Apparently they were hugely popular.  You raise the lid, put your finger over the hole in the top of the lid, lower the lid and presto, it pours.

One of the first patented Teasmades from 1902.   Ask your granny if you have never heard of a Teasmade - they were all the rage in the 1960s/70s and, unbelievably, a modern "uniquely British icon" version is still being made.

One of my favourites - a combination lock stopper to stop your servants nicking your whisky.

This, and some other fine eccentric gadgets, are on hire to museums and other establishments from the delightful Maurice Collins who puts all hire proceeds to disability charities.    His own disabled daughter was the inspiration to start the charity Kith & Kids  Heartwarming.

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Chestnuts; Summer's over

It's finally autumn and the Recipease cafe in Brighton captures the season perfectly