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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Thursday 17 November 2016

Winters on its way. (Buoy Coffee House, Blakeney)

Buoy Coffee House,
Opening times Every day 09:00-16:00

Today (May 2021) I visited the Buoy Coffee House thinking it was a new venue I had not been to only to discover it was in fact the Grey Seal Coffee House but with a new name. I then discovered I also visited it in Jan 2019 thinking it was a new cafe. I expected I’ll be visiting it again in 2023 and make the same mistake again. Apart from the name little had changed, apart from a slightly larger cake selection, so as I reminder here is what I said on the previous visit.

(November 2016.) It has been a couple of weeks since I have been able to get out on a cafe cycle ride and in that time the weather has really changed. From mild Autumn days it is now looking very wet and windy. Therefore yesterday the time had come to change to winter clothes and bikes. With reduced daylight as well then rides would also have to be a bit shorter.

I meet up with today's cycling guest, Andrew (who is notoriously hard to please), at Hard to Please House in Alysham. He too had dusted down his steel winter steed and would be out on in for the first time since he put it away last Spring.

I had put Andrew in charge of route and destination but in order to keep the ride within acceptable boundaries I had given him a choice of 3 cafes and strict instructions to keep the distance between 30 and 40 miles. He had chosen my Blakeney cafe option on the North Norfolk coast as he felt it looked like the poshest one and he is not only hard to please but a bit of a snob. 

With mud, water and wet leaves making the roads rather slippery then some care was needed as we set off towards the coast. It was therefore no surprise when we had to stop for a puncture although it was the first one I had had for several months (my cycling data spreadsheet says 17th July) so I couldn't complain.
My first puncture since July
I don't mind getting a puncture as when I return home I get to hang up the inner tube on my 'tubes to be repaired hook' (TTBRH). On Christmas Eve, like many others, I will sit down with my pile of punctured tubes, a bowl of lukewarm water, glue, patches and mince pies. Then, while listening to Christmas songs and carols, I will start to repair them all. After all nothing says Christmas more than a full set of mending punctures and a tidy inner tube shelf, except perhaps foxes on a trampoline (for those who remember the 2016 John Lewis christmas ad). 7

There were no further incidents and we soon arrived at our target cafe. However despite both me and Andrew checking the details on the cafe website, with no mention of the fact that it was closed for the winter, we found that it was closed for the winter.

Fortunately I knew of a second untried cafe in Blakeney so using the gift of Google maps we found our way to the Grey Seal cafe (now Buoy Coffee House). It was quite hard to find as there was no big signage and it was next to the fishmongers which is unusual for a coffee shop.
Grey Seal Cafe next to fish mongers
Grey Seal is also a coffee roaster supplying several cafes in the area, so it sells ground coffee to the public as well. As a result there were not many tables and chairs supplied for cafe customers (I counted 3) but at this time of year there were not many people about either and we were the only ones currently there making it rather too quiet. This may surprise regular readers who have heard me complain when cafes are too noisy, especially with mothers and toddlers, but remember the customer is always right. 
Rather empty inside the cafe today
With reduced winter trade it wasn't a surprise that the cake selection was rather small with only pastries and custard tarts on display although on further questioning I discovered that there was carrot cake and brownies available too, which upped the effective cake selection (ECS) score a bit.
The part of the cake selection on display
As it was a proper coffee cafe they had some extra choices so Andrew went for a Cortado (which is a milky espresso popular in Spain, apparently) and a tart, which although not a pretentious one seemed an appropriate choice for him. I went for a more down to earth Hot chocolate and carrot cake.

When our cakes and drinks arrived I was disappointed to see a partial cake serviette covering but I was able to rescue enough of it for latter crumb wiping use. Remember #keepcakesoffserviettes, even partial ones.  (This was not the case on my 2019 visit)
Part of serviette covered by the cake!!!!!!
Andrew thought his Cortado was very good and scored well whereas my hot chocolate was good but a bit weak. Tarts and cakes were both excellent so scored well making the Grey Seal cafe a nice, if slightly quiet, stop.
Excellent cakes and drinks
We set off again and after a while we were overtaken by man on an electric bike. As cycling fans this brought back memories of this summer's Rio Olympics velodrome events. I decided it was too good an opportunity and we decided to reenact the Keirin final (the one where they chase the motorbike), which we did for several miles until the derny bike rider eventually managed to shake us off.
Andrew taking on the role of Jason Kenny whilst reenacting the 2016 Olympic Keirin final
After another successful day of cycle cafe reviewing I returned home where I hung the punctured inner tube on my TTBRH which is beginning to look a lot like Christmas.

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

Click here to download 38 mile Alysham Blakeney loop gpx file for your gps

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