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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Friday, 17 June 2016

Stick to the brief (The Black Apollo Coffee House, Holt)

Black Apollo Coffee House,
Holt,
Opening times Mon- Sat 08:00-17:00,
Sun 09:00-16:00
Highly Recommended 
Last Visited Oct 2017
After the success of cheese scone of the year 2015 this year I'm searching for flapjack of the year 2016. As well as trying flapjack, whenever I find it on cafe cycle rides, I'm also returning to other places where I know good flapjack can be found. 

As yesterday's ride would be hosted by Andrew (who is notoriously hard to please) then a week ago I sent him the brief for this trip. I wanted a 30 mile ride calling in at the Funky Mackerel in Sheringham, to collect some flapjack, and then on to Holt to try out a new cafe, The Black Apollo Coffee House. Simples.

I was therefore a little disappointed when myself and Chris (Mrs Crusader) arrived at Hard to Please House to find that no planning had been undertaken and that Andrew would be "hoping to organically map out a 30 mile ride as we went along". I wasn't convinced this would deliver the outcome I was after and when, on more than one occasion, we looped round in mini circles whilst he decided if left or right was the best option I knew things would not work out as I had requested.

I do have to admit we cycled on some pretty nice roads before arriving in Sheringham where it was good to see the Bunting had been put out to celebrate the collection of the Sheringham flapjack.
Sheringhams flapjack collection bunting
The Funky Mackerel has a sign outside saying it is famous for flapjack and I wasn't disappointed when I saw the large squares of this oat based snack on offer, there were even four varieties to choose from. I purchased some black cherry and apple and raisin for testing at home after the ride.
Outside Funky Mackerel with flapjack successfully purchased
Chris asked if she could have some plain flapjack now as she was a bit peckish. I, of course, provided this although had to put my foot down when she asked for a coffee as well. I nipped the request in the bud by the expert use of sarcasm; "I don't remember seeing two drinks stops on the itinerary" I said.
Unscheduled consumption of flapjack
Flapjack of the year 2016 rules state that the ten cafes with the best pieces of flapjack found during the year will be revisited in December (by bike of course) and flapjack repurchased for a final flapjack off to be held at Crusader Towers. I was pleased my trip had not been wasted as Funky Mackerel's flapjack was excellent and its hard to see how it won't be in the flapjack off.
Funky Mackerel flapjack
However I was soon to find out that there was much more flapjack controversy ahead of us as we set off for the main event at Holt.

When we arrived at the Black Apollo coffee house in Holt High Street we had already clocked up 22 of the 30 miles I had allocated Andrew for the ride so I was more than a little worried he would not be able to deliver to the stated brief.
Outside the Black Apollo Coffee House
We parked our bikes and went inside. Black Apollo focuses on being a proper coffee house with a dark wood interior, there was also a two table outdoor seating area but with sharp showers forecast for the day we chose to sit inside. The staff were incredibly friendly and, for the first time I can remember, we were even introduced to our cup or mug which we would be drinking from today so we could give it our approval. As a result I gave a good atmosphere and ambience (AAA) score.
Andrew (who is notoriously hard to please) checking out the coffee info
inside the Black Apollo Coffee House
On the counter was an interesting set of cakes. None of the big 5 sponges but some good alternative offerings of which we choose sticky lemon cake, orange cake and Bakewell tart. As this was Holt there was Granola bar rather than flapjack.
Cake selection
As the Black Apollo Coffee House had lots of coffee based information on display we had high hopes for our drinks which were, in fact, exceeded. My Hot Chocolate had an excellent bitter chocolate taste, like the drink should be, so I awarded a high hot chocolate quality (HCQ) mark. Things got even better when I was offered a top up as there was still some Hot Chocolate left in the Hot Chocolate preparation jug. Andrews Cappuccino and Chris's Mocha also got a big thumbs up and a high guest hot drink quality (GHDQ) rating resulted.
Cakes and drinks in our pre introduced mugs and cups
although it was the first time we had met the plates and saucers
Our cakes were also very good too. Beautifully moist with an excellent flavour. Again high marks, this time in the cake taste quality (CTQ) category. 

The black Apollo coffee shop was a very fine stop with top quality cakes and drinks. It makes it into my current top 10 cafes and I highly recommend a visit. I even got a loyalty card to add to my loyalty card picture library.

As we were leaving Chris queried why I hadn't brought any flapjack. I pointed out it wasn't flapjack but granola bar which was not the same thing at all. Everyone knows that a granola bar has its oats prebaked whereas a flapjack uses rolled oats plus they are spelt differently. She felt this was nonsense and purchased some for testing alongside my funky mackerel flapjack.   

As you can see from the photo I'm clearly right and flapjack and granola bar are quite different so I took no part in this unnecessary tasting (although I'm told it was very tasty).
Granola bar and flapjack which are NOT the same thing
As we left Holt the sky's had began to darken and I wasn't confident we would make it back without a soaking. Andrew was still developing the route and as we passed the the 30 mile point it was clear he would not be hitting the correct distance that I had requested. Round the next corner the cows were starting to sit down and it was therefore no surprise that soon after this the sky's opened and we got a proper soaking.
Cow's starting to sit down ready for the rain
Dead American president (Benjamin Franklin) cycling Top tip no 1. Failing to prepare is preparing to fail.

If only Andrew had followed dead American president cycling top tip no 1. Then we wouldn't have cycled over 35 miles, we would have got back earlier avoiding the soaking, not missing the start of the England v Wales match and he could have got the washing in. When will he ever learn? 

Scores based on 3 visits
Hot Choc Quality
Guest Hot Drink Quality
Effective Cake Selection
Cake Quality
Ambiance and Atmosphere
Café Rating
8..42
9.125
6.69
8.75
7.75
8.15
Route

Click here to download 36 mile Alysham to Sheringham loop Gpx file for your GPS

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