Lets find a Cafe (or tearoom)

Lets find a Cafe (or tearoom)

Locations of reviewed cafes

I

Saturday, 21 December 2013

You didn't see me, right! (The Coffee Shop, Wymondham)

The Coffee Shop,
Wymondham,
Opening times Mon-Sat 09:00-16:30
Yesterday I was able to squeeze in one last ride before Christmas. It had to be a quickie as my guest, Big George, had to get back in time to prepare for their Annual Christmas drinks party. Mrs Big George was at work and didn't know he was sneaking out to play with me instead of doing his pre party chores. So it was a hush hush operation.

As we were in a hurry we set off far too fast and got to today's destination, the rather imaginatively named 'The Coffee Shop' in Wymondham, gasping for breath.
Standing by covered outside seating area. After locking bikes with Alarmio.
Once again it was good to see an outside seating area provided. This one was also completely undercover making it possible to have a hot drink whilst enjoying expansive views of the Wymondham one way system even in the wettest of conditions. 

On entering, the décor was slightly tired but at least there was a token bit of tinsel to give a slightly festive feel. Sadly there was no sign that the mini Father Christmases had made their way down from Holt to give it a proper Christmas feel.  (see Spoiled for choice). 

The cake selection was rather scone rich. There were a few other cakes but none looked that tempting and looking round all the other punters had all gone down the scone route. I could therefore only award a below average effective cake selection rating.

I ordered hot chocolate and cheese scone and Big George Cappuccino and cheese scone. Both our drinks were nice as were the scones but overall not a cafe I'll be rushing back to. I think the cafe is targeted more at the shopper and all fans of Norfolk market town traffic calming systems, rather than the cyclist.

As a result of our ride Big George said he won't have time to make the normal Christmas canapés that he has become famous for, which was disappointing news. We spent the way home coming up with excuses for him to tell Mrs Big George as to why there would be no canopies tonight and decided the best would be that the dog ate them. It was only when I arrived at the drinks party I remembered they didn't have a dog and we were rumbled. 


Hot Choc Quality
Guest Hot Drink Quality
Effective Cake Selection
Cake Quality
Ambiance and Atmosphere
Café Rating
6.0
7.0
4. 5
6.5
5.5
5.90
Map of Route

View 27 mile Norwich Wymondham loop in a larger map

Click here to down load 27 mile Norwich Wymondham loop GPX file for your GPS

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Spoiled for choice. (Horatio Mugs, Holt)

Horatio Mugs,
Holt,
Opening times Mon-Sat 9-5, Sun 10-4,
Recommended 
This morning I set off to 'Notoriously hard to please' Andrew's house in Aylsham for a ride. When Andrew is in charge of 'planning' then the route, ride distance, destination etc aren't confirmed until just after they have happened. I was therefore surprised when he suggested we went to Holt and then claimed he had done some Holt cafe based research on his laptop. I was impressed until it materialised that the Holt cafe based research on his laptop had only confirmed that there were, in fact, cafes in Holt, a fact I was already aware of. Sadly his Holt cafe based research on his laptop had not managed to actually decide on which one to go to. I had recently been told that Horatio Mugs in Holt was worth a visit so we set off there.

It was a glorious crisp December morning ideal for a pre Christmas cycle making it a very enjoyable ride to Holt only spoiled by Andrews internet rant. He was complaining about the number of out of date cafe reviews he had come across blaming this on his failure to be able to pick a cafe venue. 'Who is responsible for keeping these things up to date!' He asked me.This somehow led on to a moan about what will happen when the web cloud thing fills up due to irresponsible people storing their rubbish photos, that they would never look at again, in the virtual world. All excellent points but I wasn't sure why he was telling me as I couldn't do anything about it myself (although I am aware of a very useful up to date cafe review based blog, that would solve part of his problem).

We arrived at Horatio Mugs in Holt and I asked Andrew to take a photo for me. He unnecessarily took several which are even now further clogging up the web cloud thing!
Outside Horatio Mugs in the 'thin people only' outside seating area.
I was glad to see that Horatio Mugs had an outside eating area but, as you can see in the photo, it only seemed suitable for very thin people. It did, however, provide an excellent viewing point for Holt's one way system but we decided to leave that excitement for another day and sit indoors. Inside there was a nice warm and lively atmosphere with a choice of an informal (sofas) or formal (table and chairs) area. We went informal.

On entering I was immediately struck by the enormous number of cakes available most of which I would like to try. The cakes were very large and I had no choice but to awarded the highest effective cake selection (ECS) rating to date of 9.75. 

Vast and tempting cake selection.
 I had to push past the mini father Christmases in the queue as they
were taking too long deciding on their cake choice.
The second best ECS was Byfords of Holt, which is about 100 yards away. They obviously like their cake in Holt, which probably explains why the thin people only out door seating area was empty.

I ordered Hot chocolate and carrot cake (I really wanted the chocolate and banana cake but for reviewing purposes went for a tearoom staple) and Andrew went cappuccino and almond slice. The cakes were good, although we both agreed the cake was better than the slice, and I wished I could have tried some others. Andrews coffee was fine but unfortunately the hot chocolate wasn't as it had lots of very hot milk and very little chocolate. This was a shame as apart from the hot chocolate the rest of the experience was very good and I'm sure to come back again and try a different cake. 

On the way back we were overtaken by a grouse shooting party setting off in their land rovers. This sent Andrew off on another rant about posh toffs pointlessly shooting innocent slow moving birds. But it pasted the time as we sped back enjoying the fabulous Norfolk country side albeit minus a bit of wildfowl. 


Hot Choc Quality
Guest Hot Drink Quality
Effective Cake Selection
Cake Quality
Ambiance and Atmosphere
Café Rating
4.5
6.0
9.75
8.0
7.5
7.15
Route

Click here to download 32 Mile Alysham Holt loop GPX file for your GPS

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Cold comfort (The Courtyard Cafe. Wymondham)

Courtyard Coffee Shop,
Wymondham,

Opening times Mon-Sat 09:00-16:00
On my last ride (A matter of taste) Big George recommended I try the Courtyard Cafe in Wymondham, a more down to earth cafe with no Victorian waiters to freak him out. So despite the chilly weather I set of on a ride with today's guests, Chris (wife) and Barry and Helen and their tandem, to try it out.

Due to the freezing fog my hands were very cold and I found myself cursing Father Christmas. Santa had let it be known that he couldn't think of anything he thought I would like to find in my festive stocking this year. I had therefore written to him suggesting that inner cycle gloves would make an excellent Christmas gift and although I had been planning to buy a pair I would wait in order that he could give me a present. I was now thinking this was a bad idea as by Christmas I would probably have got frost bite and have had a number of my fingers amputated. This would not only mean the inner gloves will no longer fit but would rendered the gift useless causing me to have to think of an alternative one. 

Despite the onset of hypothermia, Chris was also struggling with very cold feet, we arrived safely at The Courtyard Cafe in Wymondham.
Outside The Courtyard Cafe. It was much colder than it looks
The outside seating area overlooks the carpark and was far too cold for today so we went straight inside. While the others found a seat  I checked the cake selection. Carrot or coffee cake and fruit or cheese scone. Not a huge selection but all looked nice giving an average effective cake selection score. I ordered hot chocolate and cheese scone, Chris skinny mocha and fruit scone, Helen skinny mocha and Barry cappuccino.

It was at this point Chris came up with her new invention to warm up feet. Scloves or was it Glocks.
First ever photo of Scloves/Glocks in action
This was the brilliant idea of putting her gloves on her feet. Chris seemed to think this would quickly warm her toes up and was very excited when the feeling soon returned to each foot. She was quickly on her smart phone looking for the application form for dragons den and would not listen to the possibility that sitting by the radiator was probably the true reason for her warm toes. On the positive side if anyone is going to a poultry based fancy dress party then she maybe onto something.

The scones and drinks were all good and were just what we needed to fuel us for the return journey. The Scloves/Glocks were returned to Chris's hands, which she claimed demonstrated their multifunctional use, (or only use) and we set off home in order to warm up again.

For the latest ratings of the many cafes I have so far rated see the table at the bottom of the blog.


Hot Choc Quality
Guest Hot Drink Quality
Effective Cake Selection
Cake Quality
Ambiance and Atmosphere
Café Rating
6.5
7.0
5.5
6.5
6.5
6.40
Map of Route

Click here to download 27 mile Norwich Wymondham loop GPX file for your GPS

Saturday, 7 December 2013

A matter of taste. (The Tally Ho Tearooms, Mettingham nr Bungay)

Tally Ho Tearooms,
Mettingham,
Opening times Tue-Sat 10:00-17:00,
Sun 11:00-17:00,
 Recommended
Yesterday I broke the golden rule of cycling. Always cycle into the wind on the way there and with the wind, when you are tired, on the way back. However as I was so keen to visit a new tearoom, The Tally Ho Tearoom at Mettingham nr Bungay, I ripped up the cycle rule book and rode off, with today's guest Big George, at a lighting pace with the wind behind.

As a result, and despite a puncture stop, we arrived at the Tally Ho Tearoom in good time. 
About to lock up (with Alarmio) and enter tearoom
Big George is, Scottish, loves his rugby and nicely fits the rest of that particular stereo type. The Tally Ho Tearooms is Victorian themed (including staff dressed up in period costume), has a pink based décor and sells jam. Individually the two things work well but when brought together they cause a rift in the fabric of reality. It soon became clear that rugby loving Scotsmen and period tearooms are not good bedfellows .

Partly due to the rift in the fabric of reality and partly because we were the only people in the rather large indoor seating area, an uncomfortable atmosphere descended and we found ourselves talking in whispers. I was therefore pleased to go and examine the cake selection. There were all the cakes you would expect (carrot, coffee, chocolate, brownie etc) and even a mini triple cake selection.

In drinks terms there was a choice of white and normal hot chocolate. I went for normal hot chocolate a cheese scone and chocolate cake. Big George seemed confused and ordered a pot of tea (and cheese scone) rather than his normal cappuccino. I asked him why and he explained he didn't think they had cappuccino in the 19th century (despite it being on the menu). I had to point out that we hadn't actually gone back in time, it was just pretend. Things only got worse when his tea turned up on a full china tea service, as you can see below.
Big George struggling to come to terms with Victorian theme and china tea set
The drinks and cakes were all very good and scored well, however there was an obvious problem with the ambiance rating as it wasn't really to his taste, I think it will take Big George sometime to recover from the experience so I have promised to take him to a cafe where he can have a mug of tea and full English breakfast next time (although I never have).

On the way home Big George announced we had a deadline as he had to buy a new hoover and clean the house before guests arrived. This led to an enjoyable chat comparing notes and tips on which we thought the best cleaner was and our personal vacuuming experiences. As a result Big George decided a purple ball Dyson was his best bet. As proper men we vowed never to speak of this conversation again. 

We battled through the wind to get Big George back in time to do whatever it was he needed to do.

Despite the excellent fair at the Tally Ho Tearooms I'm not sure I will ever get Big George back there but if I bump into any Victorians I will certainly recommend they go there for tea.


Hot Choc Quality
Guest Hot Drink Quality
Effective Cake Selection
Cake Quality
Ambiance and Atmosphere
Café Rating
8.5
6.0
7.5
7.5
5.0
6.90
This is the route

Click here to download 43 miles Norwich - Bungay loop  GPX file for your gps

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Young at Heart. (Yaxham Waters Farm Cafe, Yaxham)

 Yaxham Waters Farm Cafe,
Yaxham,
Opening times Sun-Thur 7-7,
Fri-Sat 7-10
Recommended
Normally you want everything to go to plan, and this ride to Yaxham Waters Farm Cafe went like clockwork. Trouble is when writing a blog you really want something to happen on the ride worth writing about but there were no punctures, fallings off or getting lost so myself, and today's guest Andrew (who is notoriously hard to please), rolled into Yaxham right on schedule.


Outside main entrance of Yaxham Waters Farm Cafe
The first thing that struck me about Yaxham Waters Farm Cafe was the two outdoor seating areas, one front and one back. The large outdoor seating area at the back had the added bonus of overlooking a small pond. I assumed that the pond wasn't the whole of Yaxham waters as that would be rather disappointing. 

As it was again rather chilly we decide to sit inside. Although no spring chickens ourselves we noticed that we brought the average age of the Wednesday lunchtime customers down by a considerable margin. This was particularly surprising as apparently on a Thursday Yaxham Waters Farm Cafe offer a generous lunchtime OAP discount. I expect it is zimmer room only on those days. Maybe the old folk that were here today had got confused and come a day early.

The cake selection was good, with a choice of 3 sponges as well as scones and, although not strictly a cake, festive mince pies. All looked very nice so they got a good effective cake selection (ECS) rating. For the second cafe running there was a choice of hot chocolate (delux or Italianio) I went for the Italianio and coffee cake and Andrew a cappuccino and lemon cake. The hot chocolate was excellent and I look forward to trying the delux on a future visit. Andrew thought the quality of the coffee was very good but felt his cappuccino was a little weak and could have doubled up as a latte. However he is notoriously hard to please and still scored it a 7 (which is good for him). Both our cakes were very nice but could have been a touch moister for a really top mark.

All in all a very good ride and cafe stop. I have already put Thursday May 22nd 2030 in my diary to come for a visit so I can make use of the Yaxham Waters Farm Cafe generous Thursday lunchtime OAP discount. I was relieved to see I didn't have anything else already planned on that day.

Update:
I have been back twice since my first visit, the first time in 2014 when looking for Art  and again on 25th February 2016.

On this occasion I came with cycling guest Big George as our target cafe we had planned to go to was shut. Fortunately the one super hero special power (SHSP) I have, as the Cake Crusader, is to be able to identify where the nearest good cafe is from wherever I am (as long as it's in the Norfolk or North Suffolk Area). Standing in the car park by the cafe closed sign I immediately used my SHSP and we set off to Yaxham Waters.

Since my last visit it had a had a large and light extension built but despite the extra space it was still very full. I realised that today was a Thursday and as such the generous lunchtime OAP discount was in operation which may have explained the large clientèle. Sadly it will still be many years before I can make use of generous lunchtime OAP discount but I'm sure my day will come.

Cakes and drinks were good and very much in line with my previous visits.
Drink at cake on latest visit 
I was pleased that my SHSP had proved to be working well and had enable us to have good alternative stop. Sadly Marvel have not yet seen fit to make a film based on them, presumably as they are struggling to find a credible actor to play my part.

Scores based on 3 visits
Hot Choc Quality
Guest Hot Drink Quality
Effective Cake Selection
Cake Quality
Ambiance and Atmosphere
Café Rating
7.83
5.83
6.33
7.08
6.0
6.62
Map of route

Click here to down load 34 miles Norwich Yaxham loop GPX file for your GPS

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

A pleasant surprise. (The Cafe. Brooke)

The Cafe,
Brooke,
Opening times Mon-Fri 9-4, Sat 9-3,
Recommended 
In case I had been naughty this year I decided that I couldn't count on Santa to bring me the new warmer cycle clothing I required to continue my cafe cycle rating on cold winter days. Therefore last week I emptied my piggy bank and splashed out on warm socks, leggings, top and gloves. As today was a cold winters day it seemed the ideal day to try them out. 
Modelling my new winter cycle clothing collection on a cold winters day
The ride was to take in the Cafe in Brooke with today's guests Chris (wife) and Barry and Helen (tandem riders) who are the first tandem powered reviewers. After several recommendations I had visited the Cafe in the summer (with Andrew who is notoriously hard to please) but it had not scored as well as expected so I was curious to see what we thought today.

On the way to Brooke it became clear that further winter layers were required as my hands and feet were still frozen. Fortunately I believe Santa is a regular reader of my blog so I'm hoping his elves are already weaving me some inner gloves and moulding thermal shoe covers (wiggle catalogue numbers available on request).

Apart from a quick puncture stop we arrived at the Cafe in good time for our refreshments and ratings. As Barry and Helen are tandem riders I made it clear to them that they only get one vote in the guest drink ratings due to my one bike one vote rule.
Myself with Barry and Helen about to enter The Cafe
Last time I came we sat in the outside seating area but today we needed to warm up so went inside where it was warm and cosy. There was a nice selection of home-made cakes and biscuits (although sadly no big chocolate cake) and I struggled to choice between the delicious looking carrot cake and cheese scone. Fortunately Chris went for carrot cake so both could be rated.

I next ordered my usual hot chocolate but to my surprise was asked if I wanted a milk, dark or white chocolate based drink. This is a very exciting development for all hot chocolate fans and hopefully we will be seeing more cafes offering this choice in the future. I went dark. Chris went decaf skinny dark mocha, Helen (in some sort of tribute to the milky bar kid) went skinny white mocha and Barry went cappuccino. All our drinks were excellent and rated very highly with 9's all round. Barry did think his chocolate sprinkling was too sweet but based on the one bike one vote rule I ignored him.

The cakes were excellent too with the added bonus that my cheese scone came with home made relish (another cafe first). With these ratings averaged out with the last visit it moved the Box Tree Cafe well up the ratings. One thing consistent with my last visit were the very friendly staff.  So today's stop was a very pleasant surprise making this visit one of my favourite stops so far this year.

Note: The cafe also visited in Sportive 1 post on 19/01/2014.

Based on it's 3 visits, ratings for The Cafe are
Hot Choc Quality
Guest Hot Drink Quality
Effective Cake Selection
Cake Quality
Ambiance and Atmosphere
Café Rating
7.17
7.33
6.5
8.33
6.5
7.17

If anyone has any suggestions for a cafe they think I should visit then please add a comment below and I'll check it out.
This is a map of the route we took

Click to download 26 mile Norwich Brooke loop GPX file for you GPS

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

First aid? (Lemon Tree Teashop - Wymondham)

Lemon Tree Tearoom,
Wymondham,
Opening times Mon10-4, Tue-Thur 9-3,
Fri-Sat 8-3 
I overheard that Chris (wife) was planning a short ride to Wymondham with Sue (friend) who she had persuaded to do a triathlon and needed some cycling practice. I saw this as a cycle cafe or tearoom rating opportunity and volunteered to come along as support crew in case of mechanical issues. My offer was accepted and I immediately raised Sue's saddle to demonstrate my bike mechanic expertise. My skills were not required again as we had an uneventful ride down to Wymondham.

I had no particular venue in mind as I knew Wymondham had a number of tearooms we could try.  So on arrival I slowly cycled down the high street looking our for a good stop. Just as I was turning a corner I spotted the Lemon Tree Teashop. I slowed down, looked behind, pointed at the Lemon Tree Teashop and gently bumped into the raised curb. The laws of Physics tells us that it is impossible to keep your balance when doing all these activities at once and I slowly toppled over landing softly on the edge of the road. 

This was clearly the most exciting thing that had happened in Wymondham town centre for many a year as I was soon surrounded by a gaggle of old ladies all keen to help. I was completely unhurt but I couldn't unclip my foot from my pedal so was trapped under my bike making my helpers think I was badly injured. Suddenly a man pushed his way through the crowd announcing that he was first aid trained. I managed to free my foot and stand up ensuring everyone I was fine. There was audible disappointment, especially from the man who had been first aid trained who had seemed desperate to put me into the recovery position. I was tempted to fain an injury just to keep the kind folk of Wymondham happy but there was a teashop to be rated so I thanked them all again and hurried inside. As we left the scene I saw the first aid trained man asking the old ladies if the incident had made any of them feel faint and if they needed to be put into the recovery position.
Lemon Tree Cafe with large outside seating area for use on warmer days.

The Lemon Tree Teashop was busy and cosy but a bit dark (there were a number of tables on the pavement outside for use on warmer days). The cake selection had two sponges and cheese or fruit scones. Fairly standard fair so I awarded the appropriate effective cake selection (ECS) rating. I ordered hot chocolate and lemon sponge, Chris decaf americano and fruit scone and Sue cappuccino and toasted tea cake. Although toasted tea cake has word cake in it's title I consider it to be a bread and not a cake so Sue was unable to play any part in rating the cake quality (which were good but not great). The hot chocolate was nice and chocolaty but unfortunately in the eagerness to fulfil the hot part of the name, the milk was burnt so spoiled the taste. My guest's coffees were described as a bit weak. Not the best tearoom I have visited but fine for a cycle stop.

We left the tearoom, avoiding a number of old ladies lying on the pavement in the recovery position, and set off back on an equally uneventful ride home. I will be purchasing the next edition of the Wymondham Times as I'm sure my bike falling incident will be front page news and I can add the cutting to my scrapbook. 

Hot Choc Quality
Guest Hot Drink Quality
Effective Cake Selection
Cake Quality
Ambiance and Atmosphere
Café Rating
5.0
5.0
6.0
6.5
6.0
5.70
Map of Route


Click here to download 27 mile Norwich Wymondham loop GPX file for your GPS