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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Saturday 30 May 2015

Keep cake off serviettes. (Wortham store and tea shop. Wortham)

Wortham Stores and Tea shop,
Open Mon,Thur,Fri 09:00-17:00,
Wed,Sat 09:00-16:00
 Highly Recommended
While recovering from my near death funny turn experience last year I had needed to start upping my cycling miles ready for the epic London to Paris trip I had planned with Big George. I had therefore plotted a 66 mile training ride which would help both my recovery and Big George get ready for our adventure. Sadly, for reasons I have long forgotten, Big George stood me up at the last minute so I did the ride by myself. (see No show)

As it happened the stop I had planned at Wortham stores and tea shop turned out to be a very good one and as a result made it into my top ten cafe list. However I have also had many sleepless nights since. I had not had a guest cyclist with me that day so I was unable to rate the guest hot drink quality (GHDQ) and therefore felt this needed to happen to truly find where Wortham stores and tea shop stands.

Next week myself and Andrew (who is notoriously hard to please) are going to Slovenia as I plan to do some Ironman cycling altitude training and Andrew is coming along for the ride, literally. I was therefore easily able to persuade him to come on the long ride down to Wortham for some pre trip training especially as he could add his expert cafe cycling guest reviewer opinion and give a GHDQ score.

Andrew got caught in traffic so was late arriving at Crusader Towers. This turned out to be a bonus as the postman arrived after our planned departure time with my new cycling top so I was able to use it on the ride. My old cycling top had been assigned to the bin after it lost my lock key due to the holes in it's pocket. My new top came with a lined zippered pocket so everything was super secure. I was looking forward to trying it out so I could add it's rating to my cycling tops spreadsheet.

The ride to Wortham went smoothly with my new cycling top performing well throughout and we arrived at Wortham stores and tea room without issue and a key to lock the bikes with. You can't miss the teashop on the A143 it as there is has an imaginatively shaped teapot sign.
Sign signally tearoom location
At the tea shop you will find an outside seating garden area but due to the strong winds no one was using it today so we went inside. 
Outside tearoom entrance
Andrew (who is notoriously hard to please) was very impressed with the whole atmosphere and Ambiance (AAA) experience. The staff were very friendly, there is a choice of two indoor seating areas (conservatory or old school) and despite there being lots of other customers, which Andrew hates, there was a calming feel to the place. This upped the AAA score considerably from my previous visit when I hadn't realised there was outside seating available.
Traditional indoor seating leading to conservatory area
There was also an excellent selection of cakes displayed in a cabinet and a cake overflow shelf area. I awarded a high effective cake selection (ECS) rating consistent with last time I came.
Large cakes in cabinet, further cakes available on cake overflow shelf
We took our seats and I ordered a hot chocolate and carrot and orange cake. It was now time for Andrew to do his bit with his guest hot drink order. However for hot drink lovers we hit our first issue of the day as this was clearly a tea drinking area (as there was a fine selection of teas) rather than a coffee area as they only did filter coffee, milky coffee (which isn't really coffee at all) and a mocha (coffee, hot chocolate mash up). I suppose the clue was that it was a tea shop and not a coffee shop but Andrew found himself forced down the filter coffee route to go with his Bakewell tart.

Andrew also ordered an omelette. He asked the friendly and patient waitress what fillings he could have. She proudly told him they had virtually any filling you can think of so just name what you want. To me this seemed like the omelette fillings gauntlet (OFG) had been thrown down and I was excited to see what exotic combination Andrew would come up with. You could see the cogs whirling in his head as he weighed up the multitude of opportunities before eventually coming up with cheese. Obviously disappointed with his rather conservative choice she returned to the kitchen to put in our order.

While we waited I told Andrew that this was where my campaign to keep cake off serviettes had started as it had been the first time when I was presented with the cake on napkin, thus rendering it useless for crumb wiping purposes. I was interested to see if this was still an issue here.

Our drinks arrived first so we set about trying them. I found my hot chocolate not as good as the last visit but I was really here for the guest hot drink quality (GHDQ). Andrew (who is notoriously hard to please) tried it and said it was a decent cup of coffee but not strong or flavoursome enough for top marks in his opinion.
Drinks and cakes
Next the cake arrived and to my horror served on the napkins. To get to my serviette I first had to work my way through the entire cake with the cake fork provided so, as I feared, by the time I reached the serviette it was no longer functional (remember #keepcakeoffserviettes). In terms of cake taste quality (CTQ) then Andrew thought his Bakewell tart was extremely good and I very much liked my Orange Carrot cake so I awarded a high CTQ mark.

Knowing that using the serviette would be an issue I ate my cake very carefully to avoid excessive mouth crumbage and the need to bring the napkin into play so I managed to get away without the need of a wipe, however this would be a real issue to less experienced cake eaters.
Serviette became unserviceable after cake was served on it
(Post update. On my next visit to Wortham Tea shop in September 2016 I was relieved to receive my cake and serviette apart so kindly ignore the previous information.)
Cake not served on Serviette in September 2016. Hooray!
Although not part of the reviewing process Andrew wanted it known that his cheese omelette was exceptionally good and the best cafe cycle omelette based lunch he could remember, so as promised I have made it known, note my quiche and salad was excellent too

Overall Wortham stores and tearoom had scored really well on AAA and cake based ratings but it's drinks were not quite up to top ten standard so it just drops out of my current top 10 cafe list. I would still highly recommend a visit especially if you want lunch as well.

On the way back, despite the lack of mountains, we started preparing for our trip to the Slovenian Alps next week. As my new cycle top had performed exceptionally well with nothing getting lost, it has won a last minute place on the plane. When we arrived home Andrew told me to text him with a list of anything he might have forgotten to pack. Which I will and I'm expecting it could be a long one starting with bike. 

Scores for Wortham Store and Tea Shop based on three visits
Hot Choc Quality
Guest Hot Drink Quality
Effective Cake Selection
Cake Quality
Ambiance and Atmosphere
Café Rating
Click on link to download 65 mile Norwich Wortham Diss Loop GPX file for your GPS

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