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/

Cake Crusader Book

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

Available on Amazon

Thursday 13 August 2015

Result. (The Courtyard Tearoom, Attleborough)

Courtyard Tearoom,
Opening times Mon-Sat 08:00-17:00,
Sun 09:00-15:00

August has proved to be a frustrating month for this cafe cycle reviewer. I had wanted to make the most of my recent media exposure by doing lots of new rides in order to follow up on the numerous cafe recommendations I have been receiving. This plan has been foiled by first a family holiday (where I was only allowed to go on a bike ride twice!), and now a lack of availability of anyone from my panel of cycling guests. To add to the stress next week is the start of my 500 mile journey from the Welsh coast to East coast (in order to find the best cafe anywhere across Great Britain, literally) and I need to put in some extra cycling miles to get in shape.

Seeing first hand how the lack of cycling was impacting my performance level as both a husband and father then Chris (Mrs Crusader) agreed to step in, at short notice, to be today's cycling guest. The one caveat was that due to an urgent haircut appointment she was only available for a morning trip. Fortunately my mother had recently given me a cutting from the local paper about a new cafe that had opened in Attleborough and as this is about a 30 mile round trip it would work perfectly.

I decided to also use it as an opportunity to test out my luggage strategy for next weeks trip so put all the potential panniers I would be taking, albeit empty, on to the bike.

Bike with empty bags
Under grey sky's and with some drizzle in the air we set off. To add to the drama it was also A'level results day so our route down to Attleborough was interspersed with numerous stops to check the latest texts as we heard the results of our own, friends and families children. 

Fortunately we only seemed to know (or hear from) parents of clever children so arrived in Attleborough with only good news as we went in search of the newly opened Courtyard Tearoom which we found down a wide alley off the high street. If you do a search on Google then you will find numerous Courtyard tearooms and cafes however I can't find a single establishment named Wide Alley Tearoom so maybe they have missed a trick here.

The wide alley was plenty wide enough for a good sized outside seating area so, despite the rain in the air, we decided we would sit out. Inside there are a similar number of neat wooden tables and chairs plus a comfy sofa. 
In the outdoor seating area of The Courtyard Tearoom
As always I first had to check out the cakes to award the effective cake selection (ECS) rating which I was glad to see had all the key requirements that a cake selection needs. There were proper sponge cakes covering all the classics (chocolate, lemon, carrot, coffee and victoria) plus brownies, muffins and scones (cheese and fruit). So a very good performing ECS. 
Very solid classic cake selection
Instead of a standard cheese scone Mrs Courtyard gave me the sell for a savoury cream tea, which was a cheese scone with cream cheese and chutney, plus hot drink, served on fancy plates. As a lover of good marketing I went for one of these plus some chocolate cake and a white hot chocolate as my drink. Chris went Mocha and lemon drizzle.

I suspected that Mr and Mrs Courtyard were familiar with my cafe reviewing work, especially when I started to randomly photograph cakes, plates, chairs etc but they seemed happy enough to humour me in my pursuit. I clearly haven't reached  Egon Ronay status yet.
Drinks and food including savoury cream tea on fancy plates
The scone (correctly warmed) was very nice and I have added it to possible contenders for cheese scone of the year. In terms of drinks my white hot chocolate was good but Chris would have preferred her Mocha quite a bit stronger. Both our cakes were very tasty and moist giving them a high cake taste quality (CTQ) score.

While we were enjoying our food and drinks Mr Courtyard explained why there were brightly coloured bikes dotted around Attleborough. Apparently the tour of Britain was coming to town soon so Attleborough had put together their very own dragon style trail (like in Norwich) only with less dragon and more bike. The Courtyard Tearoom bike example looked very good although I immediacy noted the tyres needed more air, the saddle should be higher and a bit less cutlery in the tyres would make it go faster.
Courtyard cafe tour of Britain bike
We enjoyed our visit to the Courtyard tearoom and wish them every success with their new venture. As an added bonus I took a courtyard tearoom loyalty card to add to my loyalty card picture library collection and it immediately set a new stamps per free drink (SPFD) record requiring only 5 SPFD and thus beating the previous record of 6 SPFD held by the Brown Sugar cafe in Long Stratton.

Despite the way home being into the wind and more stops to check texts about more clever children getting into university we made it back with 15 minutes to spare before haircut time. I was also happy that my luggage carrying strategy for next week had worked well, even if it was all empty, so confidence is now high for another successful mission.

Scores based on 2 visits
Hot Choc Quality
Guest Hot Drink Quality
Effective Cake Selection
Cake Quality
Ambiance and Atmosphere
Café Rating

Map of route

Click here to download 31 mile Norwich Attleborough loop gpx file for your GPS

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