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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There is now a Cake Crusader book available where you can follow my journey from humble local trips to world record attempts and near-death experiences. How did a simple method of keeping track of decent cycling café pit stops turn my life upside down? Track my adventures into Europe, up mountains and right across Great Britain as I become a 'rising star' on social media. Will I prove my critics wrong? Should cheese scones be served hot or cold? Do I really have nothing better to do with his time? A must read for lovers of cycling and cake or anyone wanting to make it big in the virtual world

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Saturday 7 March 2015

Celebrity cyclist Boris Johnson (via Andrew Gilliigan) recommends Buenos Aires Cafe Greenwich

Celebrity Cyclist Boris Johnson (via Andrew Gilligan)
Buenos Aires Cafe
Greenwich - London
Opening times Everyday 10am-10pm
Highly Recommended

As part of my new series of posts 'Celebrity Cyclist x recommends' I recently wrote to Mayor of London Boris Johnson for his top cafe and cycle route recommendation. I was therefore very excited when I got the following reply.

Dear Kevin.

Thank you for your email  The Mayor has asked Andrew Gilligan his Cycling Commissioner to get back to you about this. Andrew's favourite café is the Buenos Aires Café.

I do hope this helps with your blog and I wish you the best of luck for the future,

Yours sincerely,

Nick Waterman
Transport Team, Greater London Authority

It was clear that Boris obviously liked my blog as he had personally asked his cycling commissioner for input. I thought this was a nice touch as I'm that sure a cycling commissioner would be very knowledgeable about these things.

On further inspection I thought that the Buenos Aires cafe seemed a strange choice as Brazil seemed a long way to go for a cycle ride. However after a little on-line research it turned out the cafe was actually in Greenwich which was a much more doable proposition. As no route had been suggested I sent off for some free TFL cycle maps and planned a nice 60 mile round trip route starting at Tilbury docks in Kent, going to Greenwich and returning on the official Thames cycle path.

So yesterday myself and Big George set off in the car from Norwich down to Kent to see if we could find the Buenos Aires cafe whilst also taking the opportunity to check out the capitals cycling infrastructure. I had let the Mayors office know when we were doing the ride in the hope that Boris, or his cycling commissioner, might be able to join us.

After an hour and 50 min drive we arrived at Tilbury and found somewhere to park. Following some traditional pre ride faffing about we were ready to set off although the plan was to stop at the first cafe we found in order to fuel up ready for the ride into London. After a couple of miles we came to Broadway cafe.
The Broadway cafe, no where near theatre land in New York so don't get confused
Although not the reason for the ride I always take every opportunity to rate each cafe I cycle to and this was no exception with the Broadway cafe performing reasonably well. Big George's coffee being the highlight and an overall cafe rating of 5.70.
Drinks and slice of carrot cake.
Successfully refuelled we set off again to find Greenwich. It was a tricky ride as we had to first negotiate crossing the M25, then we got lost at Lakeside shopping centre and finally we were diverted off course past an accident until we eventually made it to cycling super highway 3 (CS3) which would take us most of the rest of the way. 
Cycling super highway CS3
The only way you knew it was a cycling super highway was that it had blue tarmac, apart from that you won't have known as we only saw one other cyclist on a 5 mile stretch. For such a super bit of track it was a bit disappointing that for a city of 10 million only 1 person appeared to use it. I made a note to tell Boris if I saw him.
Big George pushing his bike under the Thames
Thanks to the cycling super highway and the discovery of a tunnel under the Thames we made good progress and soon found the Buenos Aries cafe in Greenwich.
Outside the Buenos Aries Cafe in Greenwich
Outside was a continental style outdoor pavement seating area although as the view of the street wasn't the most exciting we went inside. As I entered who was there to greet us but only Boris himself. His office had clearly told him we were coming and he was keen to meet some fellow cyclists.
Boris waiting for us in the cafe
I introduced myself, although there was no sign of Big George, and said that I needed to quickly go and check the cake selection so we both went to the counter. There was a very good variety available of lovely looking cakes so I awarded a high effective cake selection (ECS) rating and chose the chocolate and nut. There was still no sign of Big George but Boris suggested he might like Orange and chocolate cake with a filter coffee.
Excellent cake selection
Inside the cafe has a selection of wooden chair and leather sofa seating areas. The walls are decorated with random Argentinian memorabilia and the staff were very welcoming. I awarded a high atmosphere and ambiance (AAA) score.

While I waited for Big George to turn up Boris said it would be ok for me to take a selfie of us. I also took the opportunity to tell him how good I thought the London cycle path infrastructure was and hoped the people of London will start to use them more. He thanked me for the feedback but said he just had to pop out to make a call.
Selfie of me and Boris
Our food and drinks turned up just as Big George returned and we could get down to rating.
Cakes and drinks ready for rating
My hot chocolate was excellent with a good strong chocolate taste and Big George felt his was also a good strong tasting cup of coffee. Both our cakes, although rather small, were of a high standard and scored well. While I added up the totals Big George popped off again to sort his bike out. The Buenos Aires cafe had been an excellent recommendation and only my 4th cafe ever to score 8 or above. Boris came back from his call and was very pleased to hear the news that Andrew Gilligan (cycling commissioner) had come up trumps with his recommendation.

I said goodbye but Boris told me he hoped to try and catch up with us again later on the ride to show us more of London's cycling facilities, which sounded great.

Our route back was going to be on the official Thames cycle path, along the South bank, which would take us all the way to the Ferry port at Gravesend. I had downloaded the route from the official site and loaded it on to my bike sat nav. However first we had to get from the cafe to the start of the return route. Glancing at the map I knew the Thames path was not far away but my cycling Sat Nav has a feature you can use to direct you to the start of your new route. This lead to today's Cycling guests top cycling tip.

Cycling guest top cycling tip 19. To avoid adding unnecessary miles and time to your ride don't just blindly follow your navigators cycling sat nav when you clearly know it is taking you in completely the wrong direction.

After a bit of a detour we found the Thames cycle path which runs along the side of the Thames for 20 uninterrupted traffic free miles. It wasn't far down the path when we came across a fantastic view of canary wharf and true to his word Boris was there to tell us all about it. Unfortunately Big George had had to nip into a local newsagent for a drink so once again missed Boris.
Boris telling me all about canary wharf
After Boris left and Big George returned we continued on the path past the O2 and Thames Barrier into a more industrial setting with cranes, jetty's and unpleasant smelling chemical plants but all the time the Thames was there giving a dramatic and often picturesque view. 

Progress was slow as it was hard to build up speed but after a couple of hours we approached the final Thames bank stretch before having to head inland through Dartford and under the M25. As a final gesture, like the shop keeper from Mr Benn, Boris appeared one more time to say good bye and wave me on my way. Sadly Big George had missed him again as he had gone off for a quick comfort break.
Boris waving me on my way
With the light starting to fade the final few miles were far less pretty as, still on cycle paths, the route went alongside several busy roads (including the M2!) as it weaved it's way to Gravesend. 

Here we found the ferry jetty and, and with the sun setting over Tilbury docks, we waited for the ferry to take us across the river and back to the car.
Sunset over Tilbury docks
Although the ride had been made extra special by the appearance of my special guest I would still recommend it if you want to try something a bit different although riding the Thames path is definitely the more interesting bit. I would also recommend a visit to the Buenos Aires cafe if you are in those parts.

Setting off for Norwich Big George switched on his car Sat Nav and then didn't follow today's cycling guest top cycling tip No.19 as he allowed it to take us back a stupid way adding over half an hour to the journey.

Ratings for Buenos Aires cafe
Hot Choc Quality
Guest Hot Drink Quality
Effective Cake Selection
Cake Quality
Ambiance and Atmosphere
Café Rating

Ratings for Broadway cafe
Hot Choc Quality
Guest Hot Drink Quality
Effective Cake Selection
Cake Quality
Ambiance and Atmosphere
Café Rating

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