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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Thursday 22 November 2018

Wrong way round (Past and Present Tearoom, Long Stratton)

Past and Present Vintage Tea Room,
Long Stratton,
Mon-Fri 9:00-4:00, Sat 9:00-3:00 
On one of my earliest rides as The Cake Crusader I took Big George to a Victorian based tearoom near Bungay. This was a mistake. I remember Big George sitting in his Lycra while talking (to himself) about Rugby, as he failed to blend into the 19th century theme. He got so confused he even ordered tea as he didn't think they had cappuccino back then. By the time we left he was quite pale and, although the tearoom was very nice, Big George made it clear that I was never to take him to such a venue again. (see A matter of taste).

However that was nearly 5 years ago and today I had planned a visit to the Past and Present vintage tea room in Long Stratton. I hoped Big George had recovered from the previous experience as I had invited him to be my cycling guest.

Recently the weather had turned rather chilly so we kept today's ride to a comfortable 35 miles on a route to Long Stratton via Pulham Market.

I was expecting the refreshment stop to come after about two thirds of the ride so was surprised when we approached Long Stratton after only 15 miles. I realised I had been following the route on my cycling GPS the wrong way round. I wasn't ready for a stop yet and so had to go off piste and make up a new route which I managed to do without Big George spotting the change, although he was surprised how often we appeared to be crossing the A140.

After the correct miles had been achieved we were ready to stop at the Past and Present Vintage Tea Room which was also on the A140 and required yet another crossing.
Outside Tea room on A140
Inside we hadn't gone so far back in time as before as the decor and staff were more 1940's which Big George seemed happier with. It was rather packed inside as there was a big mother and baby group in but we were found the last table for two available. The outdoor seating area on the pavement seemed a bit cold and wet today.

There was a large cake display cabinet with some of the biggest sponge cakes I have ever seen. However I opted for the more manageable sized farmhouse slice. Big George had a flat white with a sausage roll (as he continued his cake boycott which has now been going on for several years although neither of us can now remember why).
Cake display cabinet with some very large cakes
My hot chocolate was nice but Big George felt his flat white was too white and not strong enough. I enjoyed the farmhouse slice and would guess that the unfeasibly large sponge cakes would be good to.
Cake and drinks 
With the mother and baby group starting to discuss their plans for Christmas we decided it was time to leave what had been a pleasant stop. Our next challenge was to cross the A140 again.

I was relieved Big George had survived his latest trip back in time and therefore happily agreed to another ride in a couple of weeks where I promised that less A road crossing would be involved.
Hot Choc Quality
Guest Hot Drink Quality
Effective Cake Selection
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Route (we should have done) to be published shortly

View 37 Miles Pulham st Mary in a larger map

Click link to download 37 mile Norwich Pulham St Mary loop GPX file for your GPS

Wednesday 14 November 2018

What no Hall! (The Coffee House, Bury St Edmunds)

The Coffee House,
Bury St Edmunds,
Mon-Fri 7:30-5:00, Sat 8:30-4:00,
Sun 09:00-2:00
You may recall that earlier this year Myself and Mrs Crusader cycled across India to see if I could find a cup of tea worth more than 7 out of 10 (See My special rides page). On the trip we met some new friends (Cliff and Sharon) who foolishly gave me there contact details. As a result, then yesterday, we met up for a reunion ride where they joined Mrs Crusader as my cycling guests.

We met up at Knettishall Heath near Thetford which was roughly equal distance between our homes. From here the plan was to cycle down to a Coffee shop on the outskirts of Bury St Edmunds at Moreton Hall.

As I have visited about 200 cafes in Norfolk I have been running out of new places to go to so in the morning I put an appeal out for some new cafe suggestions on my Facebook page and Twitter feed. I was grateful for a lot of new ideas although they will take me sometime to work through (however don't let this put you off sending me more recommendations). One of these was the Coffee House at Morton Hall in Bury St Edmunds. As luck would have it that was where I had planned to go on this ride so I was pleased to have one ticked off already.

It was a bit windy as we left Knettishall Heath car park and headed south. Apparently the wind made it difficult to hear me recount how I got up the Tourmalet first on my trip across the Pyrenees in the summer on another of this years special rides.  
On the way to Bury St Edmunds where the wind made it hard to hear the conversations
After telling the story for the 3rd or 4th time we found The Coffee House through an underpass. Mrs Crusader was very disappointed that it wasn't in the courtyard of a stately home as it turned out that Moreton Hall was a district of Bury as the Moreton Hall Housing estate had been built on the original land and the Hall was now a school.
Outside the Coffee Shop
Despite this there was a nice warm and friendly welcome inside giving a high Atmosphere and Ambiance (AAA) mark. The cake selection was presented in an impressive cake display case and had a good range of cakes and slices so I awarded a good ECS mark.
Cake selection in a cake selection display case
I went for chocolate and caramel cake while Mrs Crusader choose carrot and walnut to have with her americano. Cliff and Sharon both had flapjack with their americanos.

The cakes and drinks turned up in record time. 
Cake and drinks
My hot chocolate was a good one but the americanos were felt to be a bit weak. This reminded me of  a cycling guest cycling top tip passed on to me by the Old Rock Shop cafe in Cromer.

Cycling guest cycling top tip no 68. To avoid having to moan to your cycling host about weak coffee ask the barista for an extra shot to make sure it's strong enough.

When Cliff decided he wanted a second cup he followed cycling guests cycling top tip no 68 and was far more impressed with his next drink upping the guest hot drink quality (GHDQ) rating.

The cakes all tasted nice but were a little on the dry side to score top marks.

Despite the lack of an actual Hall and courtyard, the Coffee House had performed well and I recommend a visit.

The ride back was much swifter as the wind was now in our favour so I was able to make sure everyone could now clearly here my Pyrenees tales. By the time I had finished we were back at the car with no time to hear about Cliff and Sharon's ride through Germany. I suggested we join up for another ride next Spring but Cliff said they were busy all next year and probably the year after but promised to give me a ring when they were next free, which I'm looking forward to already as I'm sure to have some more stories to tell them by then.

Hot Choc Quality
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Click here to download 37.5 mile Thetford Bury St Edmunds loop gpx file on your gps

Tuesday 6 November 2018

Am I still creaking? (Teles Patisserie, Surlingham)

Teles Patisserie,
Tue-Sun 9:00-5:00,
Highly Recommended
At the end of my last post I left things on a real cliffhanger. I thought I had found the source of my annoying creaking noise in the rear wheel skewer of my bike but it was yet to be tested. So was it fixed? Had my greasing and spring replacement strategy done the job?

As I set off on today's cafe cycle ride to Surlingham it soon became apparent that my diagnosis had been wrong as within a few minutes the creak was back. I stopped several times on the route to make further adjustments but to no avail. By the time we got to Teles patisserie, next to the Surlingham farm shop, I was more than a little frustrated and had a headache from the din.
Outside Teles Patisserie in the outdoor seating area overlooking the farmyard
I don't believe there can be many Portuguese patisseries at the end of a track by a farm shop but that is where I found this one. There was a nice outdoor seating area but being November we went inside.
Indoor seating area
The cake selection was definitely more patisserie than tearoom but it was nice to see something different. Today's cycling guest, Mrs Crusader, went for a fruit tart with her americano while I picked the traditional Portuguese tart. I also had a Pao de Deus or bread of God (looked like a Portuguese scone) with cheese for my lunch while Mrs Crusader had a cheese and ham croissant.
Great selection of pastries and tarts
I noticed the 7 tables used a Portuguese municipality table identification system (PMTIS) and were at Sesimbra. However on further investigation only 5 of the 7 tables had been named. As everyone knows there are 308 municipalities in Portugal so hopefully the other two tables can easily be named and the PMTIS can be put into full operation with scope for another 301 tables in the future. Despite this we both liked the set up and awarded a high atmosphere and ambiance (AAA) score.
Our table name
When our food and drink arrived my Pao de Deus had only gone and been served on it's serviette (aghhhh!!!). I decided to forgive this as strictly speaking a Pao de Deus is not cake and it tasted fantastic. 
My Pao de Deus served on its serviette
Mrs Crusader thought her fruit tart was the best one she had ever had and my Portuguese tart was fabulous. Mrs Crusader was also impressed with her coffee but I felt my hot chocolate was only average and not up to the high standard of the rest of our refreshments.
Todays drinks and cakes
Teles Patisserie was a great find and I highly recommend a visit. It is probably the best Portuguese patisserie in the Surlingham area.

I spent the way back in silence (unlike my bike) as I planned a series of approaches to try and eradicate the bike creak, most of which seemed to involve a hammer.


Hot Choc Quality
Guest Hot Drink Quality
Effective Cake Selection
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Click here to download Loddon - Norwich loop GPX file to load on to your GPS