Friday, 30 November 2012


Cafes are all about buying with your eyes and we know that alcohol sales are not that big at lunchtime.  The Beach Cafe at Wells-next-the-Sea has found some giant glasses to make the connection.  Cheers!

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Original, Inventive & Contemporary

Slow cooked beef shin brioche
Great tasting savoury and sweet pastry items at The Espresso Room opposite Great Ormond Street Hospital from baker Fynch whose owner David (Pip) Pippin sets out to make original, inventive and contemporary pastries.
Whiskey & Orange Eccles Cake
Pulled Pork Sausage Roll

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Crystal Cafe

Sodexo Prestige operate the cafe in The Crystal - a stunning new sustainable conference centre and exhibition building in East London.  Check out the adjacent Emirates Air Line cable car across the Thames which links the Crystal to the O2 arena.
Packaging and display is well thought through
Clear recycing messages

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Seaweed Thins

 Clever Julian Metcalfe of Itsu and Pret fame is right on the money and calories.
He promises more innovative snacks are on the way.  After the success of popcorn and rice cakes he is most definitely one to watch.
 Taste good too.

Monday, 26 November 2012

Frittata & Gustoso

Butternut Squash & Feta Frittata at Pret
Olive & Parmesan and Sauteed Leek & Wild Thyme 'Gustoso' savoury muffins at Harrods
Ham, Leeks & Peas Frittata by Searcys at National Portrait Gallery Cafe

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Who needs Cocaine or Caffeine when you can have Chris on Caf├ęs?

"It’s now 5.04 am and I have yet to sleep this night. I have 132 ideas, mostly now written on pieces of paper, drawn out on sheets of A4 and A3, jotted down in Notes on my mobile and yet still my brain will not rest.

It was a whirlwind tour of the fourth wave but I am cresting on my very own current of creativity. It was a menu of brick walls, exposed ceilings, handbags on string and cheese in drawers; container malls, concrete floors and graffiti walls; toasters on tables, letraset signs and corker cakes in colourful creative curls. Who could forget the smell of coffee roasting or the sight of pallets floating? The taste of a fougasse at Albion or a brownie at Paul Young’s?

It was inspiring, stimulating, exhilarating. I am buzzing with ideas – and some far removed from what we saw – and I think I only had 2 coffees. Think on this: I have had no sleep. I have lots of ideas.  My poor staff.

Thank you, Chris. And good morning."

Wonderful quote from recent London Cafe Tour participant Jane Cox, Owner
Glendoick Garden Centre, Restaurant & Food Library
Garden Centre Cafe of the Year 2009/10

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Cakehole in the Wall

Guest Spot
The bakery ATM in the St Enoch Centre
Sarah Heward, owner of the Real Food Cafe in Tyndrum, reports on a cupcake-in-the-wall machine in Glasgow.  The Bakery ATM by Bradfords Bakers sells flavours Irn-Bru and Malteser Mint Medley at £2.50 a time.

Friday, 23 November 2012

Curious Juices

Guanabana from Juna fruits - watermelon size, pineapple-like texture with an unique aroma!

Pret's more conventional Apple, Gooseberry & Raspberry

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Free Cuppa

The Real Food Cafe, Tyndrum is a hugely successful roadside diner (formerly an unloved Little Chef) and they sell their personalised travel mug for £8.50.  Clever idea to include free coffee or tea on every visit.

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Great British Bake Off

Given 7.2 million watched the Great British Bake Off final you would have thought that Chiffon cakes - one of the tasks in the final - would be instantly and widely available.  Congratulations to Konditor & Cook for their Lemon Chiffon.  For the uninitiated, a chiffon cake uses vegetable oil rather than butter and gets its lightness from the batter and foam method of preparation.

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Clyde Coast Extravaganza

 Nardini's in Glasgow's Byres Road is well known for their ice cream and pastries.

Their speciality is the massive Clyde Coast Extravaganza ice cream sundae featuring 12 scoops of ice-cream and 16 toppings.

Monday, 19 November 2012

The Nation's Favourite Cake

Carrot Cake comes top in most polls - this version at the National Trust for Scotland's Pollok House cafe restaurant in Glasgow is garnished with slivers of fresh carrot.  A nice touch.

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Real Food Cuppa

Guest Spot
The Real Food Cafe in Tyndrum - half way between Glasgow and Fort William - get rave reviews for its fish and chips, cakes and tea presentation.   Thank-you to passionate owner Sarah Heward for the sample which will get good use at home.

Friday, 16 November 2012

Glimpse of the Future

We have always said it is perfectly possible to have a (high volume) cafe where customers can serve themselves .... until the till.  See how the Donq bakery has now sorted this out at using software recognition equipment.

Thursday, 15 November 2012

I Am Not A Plastic Cup

As we recycle more and more at home the pressure is on us caterers.  Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery is ahead of the game with its free water cups.  Customers want to see sustainability in action.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Fancy Taps

Don't let anyone tell you that taps in your toilets have to cost much.  Maybe it's the Kiwi way. Ozone (above) and Caravan (below).

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Baked Yesterday and Yummy

Full marks to the Pink Pig Farm shop and cafe in Scunthorpe for making clear that there is a distinction between Baked Today and Baked Yesterday (but still yummy to take away and at half price).

Monday, 12 November 2012

By the Beach

Large deck chairs; great advertising billboards
Seaweed in everything with The Pembrokeshire Beach Food Company

Friday, 9 November 2012

Perk Up Your PM

Pret's luxury cookies.

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Globe's Big Green Egg

Big Green Eggs are the (expensive) way to slow cook and bbq with a difference - a boy's toy I am thinking of acquiring.  The Globe Theatre has some great catering by the Swan Collection and the outside food offer is original, warming and capable of fast service.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Easy Home Bake

Have you noticed the range of Brownie and Cookie dough products in your supermarket?  If my kids can bake them when getting home from school, perhaps more cafe owners should be using their bake-off ovens a little more.

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Pots of Quality

Quality yoghurt in glass containers at the National Portrait Gallery cafe run by Searcys.  Compare and contrast with the long-life stuff in plastic pots below seen at a tourist attraction where the catering is run in-house.  Do we really think customers don't know the difference?

Monday, 5 November 2012

Coffee & Cake

Cake display at Exmouth Coffee Co's cafe in Whitechapel

Friday, 2 November 2012

Coffee Recycling

Notcutts garden centres tell the story of their coffee grounds being mixed with sheep wool and then sold as a fertiliser.  See more at Greencup Coffee.

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Alfajor from Argentina

Delicious cookies from Argentina - filled with dulce de leche milk caramel spread and coated with meringue or chocolate.  Havanna is apparently the leading brand.
Waiting to see who brings them into the UK or makes something similar.  Let me know.