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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Thursday, 26 February 2015

100 not out (Art Cafe, Glandford)

Art Cafe
Glandford, North Norfolk
Open Mon-Sun 10-4
Highly Recommended
Today was a red letter day for the Cake Crusader as I planned to review my 100th cafe. For such an occasion I had chosen Andrew (who is notoriously hard to please) to be my 100th cafe reviewed celebration cycling guest as he was also my first. Last year he had proved to be a very poor guest on my special 1st anniversary cafe cycle ride as he had not bought a card, balloons or candles (see Special anniversary ride). Unfortunately today he again turned out to be an equally useless and grumpy 100th cafe reviewed celebration cycling guest.

When I checked the weather forecast this morning it did not look good as it showed heavy rain. I was therefore not surprised to receive a text from Andrew saying that he would rather stay dry than go on today's ride. I decided the best approach to this was to ignore the text and just turn up on his door step at the allotted meeting time, which I did. On arrival I pointed out what a momentous ride this was and that if he had read the forecast in detail, and not just looked at the pictures, he would have known that it actually said there would be some showers between dry spells which didn't sound too bad. Added to this today's venue was the Art cafe at Glandford which, like Andrew, is vegetarian based. He therefore reluctantly agreed to come along and as a compromise I said we could go the direct route rather than the pretty way.

The weather forecast proved to be 50% correct as it got the rain part right but the bit about dry spells in between appeared inaccurate. This wasn't altogether surprising as I had made that bit up in order to encourage Andrew to come along so we soon found ourselves extremely wet.

Things got no better when Andrew got a puncture, which by the time he had finished fixing meant he could no longer feel his fingers. From here there was no more cheerful banter exchanged for the rest of the way out to the Art cafe.
Andrew fixing puncture whilst losing the feeling in his hands
The roads were now starting to turn into rivers and we even met some bloke called Noah who was out in the rain building what can only be described as a sort of ark. 
Roads turning into rivers
However as we approached Glandford things started to look up as I pointed out that the cows in the adjacent field were now standing up so they obviously knew it was going to shortly stop raining. Andrew didn't seem convinced as we arrived at the Art Cafe.

Out side the Art cafe looking warm and happy
With one of those weird coincidences the Art cafe is next door to an actual Art gallery! It has a nice outdoor seating area but despite the positive sign from the cows Andrew was keen that we went inside. This was a good plan as we were quickly directed to a table by the log burner to warm up and dry off. The Art cafe has a crafty type shop bit at the front and a large seating area at the back. There is also a selection of Art on the walls. The staff were extremely friendly so overall I awarded a very high atmosphere and ambiance (AAA) score.
Inside the Art Cafe
I then went to check out the cake selection. It had a good, if not massive, selection of cakes but they were extremely effective as there were a number of ones I would have chosen to try. I therefore awarded a good effective cake selection (ECS) rating. I choose Brooklyn Blackout (chocolate cake) and Andrew a date slice flapjack. I also had a mandatory cheese scone as part of my scone serving temperature research. For the first time this year I was asked if I wanted it warm or cold rather than just being presented with a temperature outcome of the cafes choice. As I hope you all know by now it has to be warmed so full marks.
Very effective cake selection
It was now on to drinks, I ordered my hot chocolate and was given a choice of sweetness, another first. I like a stronger bitter drink so plumped for the dark hot chocolate. Andrew was given a choice of 4 different coffee beans to choose from plus a choice of ways it could be brewed. This was the Art cafe's only mistake of the day as Andrew is not only notoriously hard to please but does not respond well to being given choices. It sent him into options meltdown and he was unable to function. I had to step in and randomly order Nicaragua beans aero pressed or we would still be there now.
The choice of coffee beans available
While we waited for the cakes and drinks I asked Andrew if he had brought me a card, balloons or candles to mark the 100th cafe review occasion. He had not and even came up with the rather pathetic excuse that he didn't know as I hadn't told him. Typical lack of pre ride research I thought, so I made a note to look for a better guest for my next special occasion ride.

When the drinks and cakes arrived I must say we were blown away. First we thought both our drinks were superb with excellent strength and flavour. My chocolate cake was the best this year and Andrew, who is not only notoriously hard to please but considers himself a bit of a date slice expert, said he couldn't find any fault with his flapjack. The only slight disappointment was the cheese scone which was nice but I thought needed to be a bit more cheesy. However I still awarded a very high cake taste quality (CTQ) score and added both cakes to the 2015 cake of the year short list.
Excellent cakes ready for tasting
With such good scores I excitedly entered the ratings into my cafe rating spreadsheet only to find that my 100th cafe was also one of the best ones. I suspect it will prove very hard to dislodge from near the top of my table and I highly recommend a visit.

Still shaking with excitement I paid the bill and helped myself to an Art Cafe loyalty card to add to my loyalty card picture library section on the blog.

We went outside to discover that the local cows clearly didn't know what they were mooing about as it was still pouring with rain. I popped my helmet back on and got a nasty soaking from the soggy comfort sponges inside. On the return ride to Alysham we continued to get wetter in the persistent rain however there was still time to round the ride off nicely with one last puncture until it eventually stopped raining just as we arrived back at Hard to Please House. 
Fixing one last puncture this time on my bike
Before I left after this tremendous day Andrew gave me his cycling guest cycling top tip.

Cycling guest cycling top tip no. 17. If you want to avoid getting soaking wet and freezing cold on a bike ride then don't ignore the weather forecast when it includes words like heavy, persistent, down pour and rain.

Fortunately we hadn't followed this tip or I wouldn't have a new top rated cafe.

Scores for Art Cafe based on 3 visits (last visit Oct 2016)
Hot Choc Quality
Guest Hot Drink Quality
Effective Cake Selection
Cake Quality
Ambiance and Atmosphere
Café Rating
8.17
8.17
7.5
8.67
8.58
8.22
Route

Click here to download 37 mile Alysham Wiveton loop gpx file for your GPS

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