Lets find a Cafe (or tearoom)

Lets find a Cafe (or tearoom)

Locations of reviewed cafes

For more information on the Cafes I have visited and the latest cafe cycle news go to http://www.cake-crusader.co.uk/

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Wednesday, 5 March 2014

The best laid plans...(Food lovers cafe deli. Aylsham)

Food Lovers Cafe Deli,
Now Closed Down
On some rides everything goes to plan and on others it doesn't. Yesterday's was definitely the latter. All started off well as we set off under a clear blue sky, the first time I can remember this since cafe cycle reviewing began last October.
For those who cant remember what one looks like
 then this is the clear blue sky we set off under
The plan for today's ride was to go, with today's guests Chris (wife) and Barry and Helen and their Tandem, to the National Trust Muddy Boots cafe at Blickling Hall . The strap line for the cafe is: "you'll always find good coffee and a warm welcome here". Please note the use of the word 'always'.

We were due to meet up at 10:15 at the start of the Marroits Way. As the first stretch was going to be off-road myself and Chris chose to use our hybrid bikes. This led to lots of last minute pre ride preparation re pumping up tyres, setting up GPS etc. As a result of all this faffing we needed to pedal frantically in order to get to the start on time.
Start of Marriots Way but with 50% of participants missing
Our extra exertion appeared to have been for nothing as on arrival there was no sign of Barry or Helen, (or their tandem). Some texting and phoning revealed that their tandem had punctured and they would be delayed until 11.00. We spent a happy 45 minutes counting clouds, twiddling thumbs and watching grass grow. This delay would also mean that there would not be time for a beer stop after our cycle cafe reviewing!
My hybrid bike waiting patiently for Barry and Helen (and their tandem)
at the start of the Marriots way
When Barry and Helen and their tandem did arrive I had to break the news that we would not be having the planned beer stop. This is is apparently a must for tandem cyclists and there was much whinging and mumbling but I held firm that cafe cycle reviewing must take priority. I suggested that they could always start a cycle pub review blog but this didn't seem to help.

We set off down the Marriots Way but it was very muddy and slippery so we needed lots of concentration to stay on the bikes. By the time we got to Drayton, Barry and Helen (and their tandem) had become totally rebellious and were now refusing to go any further off-road. To maintain good relationships with half of today's guest reviewers (remember it's one bike one vote for guest reviewers) I agreed we could continue off route and on-road despite having to go up some unnecessary hills and down the busy Fakenham road.

Once back on route we continued without further incident to Blickling Hall National Trust car park, the location of the Muddy Boots cafe. On arrival I saw that the car park was full with lots of National Trust type people. Worried the cafe would be busy and the National Trust type people would have scoffed all the cake we quickly locked up our bikes and went to get some food and drink. 

However it transpired that  "you WON'T always find good coffee and a warm welcome here" 
or in fact any quality of coffee or any type of welcome as the Muddy Boots cafe was shut. To make matters worse I was accused by my guests of making a basic cycle cafe reviewer school boy error by not first checking that the cafe would be open before we set off. I had assumed that on a beautiful day with a packed car park of National Trust type people, eager for cake, that the National Trust would not be wanting to miss out by having a closed cafe. I foolishly admitted to my guests that I had indeed not checked the website. However when I got home and went on-line the Blickling Hall site clearly implied that the cafe would be open. I should have kept quiet and saved face.

I will of course be writing to the National Trust, and anyone I know connected with them, to complain about the inaccurate website and insist that their cafe strap line is changed. How about "when we can be bothered to open you will find potentially good coffee (subject to review) and a warm welcome here".

I ignored suggestions from the Barry and Helen and their tandem that we could go to the pub instead and decided to head to Alysham to find a cafe to review. Which we did and quickly came across the Food Lovers Cafe Deli. Unfortunately it had no outside seating area but Chris had been here once before and said it was good.
Outside Food Lovers Cafe Deli. Sadly no outside seating area
The cake selection was mainly brownie, flapjack and biscuit based but did have an Orange and carrot cake. I therefore couldn't give it a very high effective cake selection score (ECS).
Cake selection which was mainly flapjack, Brownie and biscuit based.
I had hot chocolate and orange and carrot cake. Chris had skinny mocha and soup (which is not a cake!). Barry and Helen and their tandem were still sulking about the lack of beer so just had soup and no drinks. I made it clear they would therefore play no further part in cycle cafe reviewing of the Food Lovers Cafe Deli, which rather undermined their role as a guest reviewer.

The hot chocolate was excellent (choice of dark or white) and Chris thought her skinny mocha very good too. As the only cake reviewer it was left to me to rate the orange and carrot cake which I thought was very nice.
Orange and carrot cake which was very nice and not soup.
The Food Lovers Cafe Deli was a good cycle cafe stop although just missed out on the current cafe top 10 due to it's edge of town location and need for a larger cake selection. It would score very highly in the 'not being closed on a lovely day' category, if I had one.

Due to our diversion into Alysham and not having the beer stop, we went off-route several times on the way back and ended up on some busy roads. As a result of not really knowing where we went the normal routes feature wont be included at the end of this post.

Ratings for Food Lovers Cafe Deli
Hot Choc Quality
Guest Hot Drink Quality
Effective Cake Selection
Cake Quality
Ambiance and Atmosphere
Café Rating

The fry up inspector has been here too. Click here for his review

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