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 29 March 2019

Bladder Training. (Kenninghall Bistro, Kenninghall)

Kenninghall Bistro,
Under new management as Twin Teapots
In case I've not mentioned it (recently) then last weekend I ran 3 marathons in 3 days across the Dorset Coast path. This meant that I was currently in recovery mode. However on hearing the news Big George seemed overly keen to arrange a cafe cycle ride today and one that was over 40 miles. I assumed this was so he could get a blow by blow account of my adventure, as it turned out this was not the case although he got one anyway.

I had recently been recommended to try the Kenninghall Bistro, which just so happened to be just over 40 miles away and in the correct wind direction so nicely fitted the requirement. A couple of years ago I had gone there when it was the Kenninghall Coffee House and it had been distinctly average so I was hoping for better today. But before then we had the twenty mile part of the ride into the wind. 

It soon became apparent why Big George had been so keen on a ride as with my 3 marathon legs I was certainly struggling today and he clearly wanted to make this payback time for all the occasions I had left him behind. At the slightest sign of me launching into a marathon based tale he would sprint off leaving me floundering as I was still sore from last weekend's exertions. I feared he would teach me a cycling lesson I won't forget but he hadn't thought his plan through.

Big George likes to spend his Thursday nights out with the 'boys' at his local pub but now in to his later years his waterworks are not what they used to be so after each burst of cycling activity I was able to catch him up as he had to stop for a series of comfort breaks.

In this stop start style we soon made it to Kenninghall Bistro and I had managed to keep up. 
Outside Kenninghall Bistro in the outdoor continental style seating area
While Big George went off to powder his nose I checked out the cakes and it was a fine selection with two enormous sponge cakes plus a selection of tray bakes and scones.
A fine cake selection on display
I obviously took a fruit scone home to test out for fruit scone of the year.#FSOTY. It was a good, if rather crumbly, one.
Kenninghall Bistros Fruit scone
For todays cake choice I opted for salted Caramel cake while Big George had an Americano and a breakfast sandwich. As a breakfast sandwich is clearly not cake Big George played no further part in cake reviewing activity today.

We choose to sit in the outdoor continental style seating area and lap up some rays, where are refreshments soon arrived.
Cake and drinks
My hot chocolate was very large making me nervous that it would be just a hot milky drink, so I was relieved that it was still pretty chocolaty, although a bit stronger and a little smaller would have been best for me. My salted Caramel cake was again very large but also very tasty receiving a high cake taste quality (CTQ) mark.

Big George had been a bit sniffy about returning here as he had remembered it's previous incarnation but he not only ate his breakfast sandwich but his words as he though his coffee was top drawer and, although not part of my cafe rating system, said his breakfast sandwich was one of the best he had had.

We were both pleasantly surprised at how good the Kenninghall Bistro was and highly recommend a visit.

It was now wind behind on the return journey but as this was the longest ride we had done for a while Big George soon started to fade and with the addition of coffee to his bladder then several more pit stops were required and I had avoided a cycle based thrashing. Hopefully normal service will be resumed when we ride again next week.

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 44 mile Norwich Kenninghall loop gpx file to your gps

Saturday 9 March 2019

Admin. (Snettisham Park Farm Tea room, Snettisham)

Snettisham Park Farm Tea Room,
Mon-Fri 10:00-4:00,
Sat-Sun 10:00-5:00 
Last Monday I had to give myself a good talking to as so far this year I have only been averaging one ride per week instead of the 3 or 4 I have done in the past.

So on Tuesday I persuaded Mrs Crusader to join me on a windy ride as we went in search of fruit scones for my 2019 fruit scone of the year contest. I knew the Piano Tearoom at Kettering Hall would be a great source but on arrival I was shocked to find that it had closed down in January. As a plan B we decided to go to a new cafe I had meaning to test out off Unthank road in Norwich. On arrival I was shocked to find that this too had closed down, before I had even had a chance for a first visit.

I know it is sad when cafes shut up shop but it also causes me a great deal of admin as there are blogs to update, maps to alter and forms to fill in which meant the rest of the day was taken up with paperwork.

On Thursday I had better luck when I went to Hard to Please House in Aylsham to meet up with Andrew for a trip to Holt to test out the scones there. Despite the by now gale force winds it was a successful trip with scones obtained from Byfords, The Owl and Horatio's. They were all of similar quality with Byfords being marginally the best.
The Holt scones.

This left Friday for my third ride of the week, the purpose of which was to continue my search for the top ten best free car parks to start a bike ride from. For this ride I was joined by Big George as we set off to Burnham Market to park on the green.
Parking on the Green at Burnham Market
There are a series of free spaces in the centre of the village and although it was a cold and windy Friday in early March it was still very busy with only a few spaces remaining. I imagine on a nice summers day that spaces would be at a premium. Compared with the other two car parks in my current top ten then I didn't find it as aesthetically pleasing so combined with the potential capacity issues this car park could only manage 3rd place in my top 10.

The ride itself was a 40 mile loop with a choice of 3 new (to me) cafes to be visited in the Sandringham area. I offered big George the choice of a visitors centre, twee tea shop or farm shop cafe. I was worried that none of them would do a fried egg sandwich (on white, no garnish) which is Big Georges favourite mid ride fuel. By making him decide which we would go to then if no fried egg sandwich was available I could claim that the other venues had them and blame him for his choice. Very cunning I thought.

It was another windy day and hard work as we left Burnham Market in a clockwise direction heading for Sandringham on a rectangularly shaped route.
You can see how windy it is by how fast the windmills are going round in the photo
After we had completed the more windy South and West sides of the ride we arrived at our first potential stop which was at the Sandringham visitors centre. Big George didn't like the look of this one as the car park was full of tourists (he doesn't like tourists), the tea room looked too visitor centre cafeteria in style and it was shut so we decided to move on to option 2.

This was a tea room a couple of mins down the road and although many people had recommended it to me it was far too pink for Big George so without evening stopping we pushed on to our 3rd choice of Snettisham Park Farm Tearoom which met with his approval mainly because we had run out of any other options and he was hungry.
Outside the tea room at Snettisham Park Farm Tea room.
Things looked promising as there were several signs saying they welcomed cyclists (which we were) and they had a nice large outdoor seating area (although it was too cold and windy to bring it into action today).
Outdoor seating area
We parked in the special cycle parking area zone right by the entrance and went inside. I went straight to check out the cakes (which was a reasonable selection) but Big George had been distracted as the farm also did deer safaris and as Big George is a huge fan of Disney's Bambi he was keen to go on one. Sadly I had to explain we didn't have enough time so, in a sulk, he came and ordered his refreshments but refused to have any cake with his coffee meaning I had to do cake rating on my own. Then to cut off his nose and despite it being available he refused to have a fried egg sandwich and went completely off piste by ordering pasty and beans.
Today's refreshments
We both thought our drinks were at the lower end of the drink rating continuum but I did think my Victoria sponge was excellent. Although not part of my scoring system we both thought our lunches were very good and felt re energised ready to tackle the remainder of the route.

When I got back to my secret underground office at Crusader Towers there was yet more admin as I wrote up this blog, car park info and cafe review plus updated associated datasheets before having to fill in two 'cafe visited but not stopped at' forms. Hopefully next week there will be more riding and less admin to do.

Hot Choc Quality
Guest Hot Drink Quality
Effective Cake Selection
Cake Quality
Ambiance and Atmosphere
Café Rating

Click here to download 40 mile Burnham Market Snettisham loop gpx file to your GPS