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 14 November 2015

Storm after the Lull. (English Whisky coffee shop, Larling)

English Whisky Coffee Shop,
Opening times Mon-Sun 09:00-16:15,

(Note: I visited again in Jan 2020 at which point a brand new purpose built cafe was in operation which was much larger and better than the old one but the post below refers to my original visit in 2015)
Outside the new cafe in January 2020

Looking out of the window yesterday morning the weather appeared to be very much like the perfect conditions of the day before with a bright clear blue sky. But once outside it became obvious that things were different as it was not only much colder but there was a serious wind. I checked the BBC weather app that told me it was indeed going to be very windy but worse still there would be a heavy rain shower late morning.

I had arranged to be joined by Big George as my cycling guest and had told him we would decide on route options when the weather conditions were clear. Using the ones predicted by the BBC weather app I opted for route option 2 which was a 48 mile round trip to the coffee shop at St Georges whisky distillery. This was a good option as:
  1. We would be into the wind on way there and, as the seriousness of the wind picked up, would have it behind on way home
  2. We should be in the coffee shop during the forecasted heavy rain shower
  3. As both Big George and whisky are Scottish he would be the ideal guest to take to a whisky distillery. 
Point two was time critical so when Big George texted me with this weeks excuse as to why he would be late I knew we would get wet. However it was a good excuse as he claimed his bike tyre had mysteriously exploded when he got his bike out.

We eventually set off half an hour late and were soon struggling into a very strong wind. You can tell it is a strong wind when you are having to pedal really hard on the down hills and come to a virtual stop on the up hills. Not only that but the clear blue sky's we set off with had now become black and rain was in the air.
Rapidly deteriorating weather conditions
Exactly half an hour from the cafe, which we would have been at if someone's "tyre hadn't exploded", the scheduled rain arrived and the winds picked up blowing water straight into our faces. It was tough going but we battled on until we arrived at St George's whisky distillery near Larling.
Outside the distillery
Now wet and with point two of my plan in tatters, we parked our bikes in the outdoor seating area. It looked like a fabulous spot on a nice summers day but today everyone had decided to sit inside in the small downstairs window seating area on the edge of the whisky shop. There is also a large upstairs balcony seating area available for those with the energy to battle up steps.
View of inside seating area from shop
Using the gift of the wet cycle helmet we reserved the last downstairs table before going to the counter to check out the cakes. The choice was limited to two very large sponge cakes (a coffee and walnut and a Victoria) so I couldn't award a high effective cake selection (ECS) mark.
Cake selection was just two large, but good looking, sponge cakes
They had a special coffee and cake deal which we both took advantage of. I was pleased to see their offer, included hot chocolate as an acceptable drink (take a note Waitrose with your so called loyalty card free hot drink, as long as it is not hot chocolate, offer).
Cake and drinks
We returned to our table to try our cakes and drinks. The hot chocolate was nice, not too milky but not very chocolaty either. Big George thought his filter coffee was very good and just the strength he likes. The cakes were both excellent, nice and moist with good flavours so I gave a high cake taste quality (CTQ) score. I could feel the energy giving property of the cakes starting to work ready for the return trip.
Whisky tasting table
It was now time to action point 3 of my plan. They do a free whisky tasting so I suggested that proud scot Big George have a go. I thought this to be a nice touch but Big George was to drop a bombshell. He might be Scottish be he doesn't actually like whisky so would rather not have to taste any. My 3 point plan was now only fit for the waste paper basket as it had now become a one point plan which isn't really a plan at all.

Despite this I thought that St Georges distillery coffee shop makes an excellent pit stop for a bicycle ride as it is open all day and always has energy giving cake available and as a bonus if you have a proper Scot with you they can try the whisky, although I'm told non Scottish people like it as well.

It was now time for the ride back where at least the last point on my plan worked correctly as the wind was playing ball and blew us all the way home.

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

Click Here to download 48 mile Norwich Larling loop GPX file for your GPS

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