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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Sunday, 31 May 2015

Change of plan. (Acron Tearoom, Poringland)

Acorn Tearoom has closed down
Last Friday I had planned to join Big George on a pre arranged cafe cycle ride to further discuss plans for the cross Great Britain cafe cycle ride happening later this year. However one look at the weather forecast made it clear we only had a small window of fine weather before heavy rain was due. I had already planned a 45 mile ride to Gressinghall, and I'm not one who easily like to revert from plan A, but on this occasion all the evidence meant I had to be brave and come up with a Plan B which was a 25 mile ride via Poringland.

Today's destination became the Acorn Tearooms at the Royal Oak pub (see what they did with the name, very strong). According to the website during the day the back of the pub is converted into a tearoom. I was fascinated to see if they could pull off such a transformation but Big George was very sceptical. He believed we would be sitting at the bar with instant coffee and a packet of crisps. I had more faith and told him it would be a proper tearoom as it had it's own Acorn tea rooms logo, which is always a good sign (not literally).

So we put plan B in to action and set off to enjoy a sunny ride round to Poringland. I was starting to believe the weather forecast may have been wrong and we should have gone on the longer ride after all but I'm certainly not someone who would ever change plans twice in the same day so this was not an option. On arrival I proudly pointed out the dual signs for pub and tearoom and we went round the back to the tearoom/beer garden.
Pub and Tearoom signs
At the back there is an undercover outdoor seating area cleverly segregated from the pub seating area by a sign saying Tearoom customers tables only.
At the entrance by the tearoom only outdoor seating area
We locked the bikes and headed inside inside where the pool room and snug had been transformed into a proper looking tearoom by the imaginative use of tablecloths and bunting. Big George was still not convinced and couldn't see anything but a pub with some fancy furnishings and cakes available. We decided to agree to differ as it felt all tearoom to me.
Total transformation of pub to tea room
I checked out the cakes which were partly in the chiller and partly on the cleverly discussed pool table. There were only a couple of pieces of each type which at first made it appear there was only a small selection but on closer inspection it was actually quite a good one so I awarded a decent effective cake selection (ECS) rating.
Part of the cake selection the rest was on the covered pool table
The charming young and friendly waitress took our order which was hot chocolate, white chocolate cake and cheese scone for me with Big George going for a filter coffee and toasted tea cake. As I have explained to him on many occasion a toasted tea cake may have the word cake in it but it is clearly a bread and not a cake so he would not be involved in the cake taste quality (CTQ) reviewing today. 

Our drinks came first and I thought my hot chocolate was a very nice example. Big George said his filter coffee was ok but he was clearly suffering from being in a pub and not being allowed a pint. He still gave a good guest hot drink quality (GHDQ) mark.
Drinks which were good but Big George would rather have had a pint
The food soon followed and I was glad to see my cheese scone nicely warmed and the cake served correctly with the napkin on one side. The cheese scone also came with an onion chutney and was very good as was my white chocolate cake so I awarded a good CTQ score.
Scone and cake. Please ignore toasted tea cake in the back ground as it is not a cake
Overall I really liked the Acorn Tearooms and felt it was a great idea that more village pubs should follow. I couldn't persuade Big George who didn't think pubs and tearooms should mix, I think this is because he was worried about his image again and the risk of being seen in a pub eating cake off a china plate discussing housework rather than supping beer and talking about Rugby. As he probably isn't the tea room target market this probably doesn't matter.

As we had spent more time than planned discussing pubs and tearooms we stayed longer than the weather forecast recommended so storm clouds had gathered outside as we got back on our bikes.

Although the rain was not yet with us it wasn't long after we set off that it started to drizzle and we started to get wet. Fortunately we were back inside before the heavens really opened and we would have had a proper soaking if the ride had been any longer. So changing to plan B had proved the right thing to do after all, how strange.

Scores for Acorn Tea rooms
Hot Choc Quality
Guest Hot Drink Quality
Effective Cake Selection
Cake Quality
Ambiance and Atmosphere
Café Rating

Click here to dowload 25 mile Norwich Poringland loop GPX file for your GPS

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