Thursday, 23 October 2014

Biddenden: The Bakehouse

A jaunt out on a beautiful Sunday around the Weald of Kent brought us into Biddenden. On the hunt for a tearooms to stop off at for lunch, we spotted The Bakehouse and decided to give it a go. Parking in the free car park by the public loos, we wandered across to see if there were any free tables.

A 16th century heavily beamed house, it is a family run establishment and we were warmly greeted but the lass on the till who was busy serving someone a delicious smelling coffee. We pondered the chalk board menu which had a great variety of food choices such as all day breakfast, sandwiches, jacket potatoes, soup and pie. Making our minds up, the friendly waitress told us to take a seat and she would be over to take our order shortly.

Although really tempted by the delicious cakes and bakes, I went for a lasagne and salad whilst he went for a jacket potato with chilli con carne. Both were a reasonable £7 each and everything is homemade on site in the kitchen out the back. The tearooms was busy, with a friendly chatter filling the air.

The drinks selection was also vast, with plenty of beers as well as juices, teas and coffee along with free Wi-Fi. Also run as a bed and breakfast and it has such a quaint and cosy character and feels very welcoming and friendly. Lots of locals popped in for a leisurely breakfast whilst reading the Sunday papers, what a lovely way to spend a morning!

All the tables and chairs are wooden and lovingly worn with this gorgeous dresser housing jams and teapots along one wall. The low ceilings are beamed and the windows crooked, adding a charming olde world feel to it. 

We didn't wait long for our drinks to arrive, coke for him and lemonade for moi. We loved the glass jars with handles, really want one for myself! Whilst we waited for our lunch to arrive, customers came and went but the place was busy the whole time, always a good sign. 

Our lunch was very good. My lasagne was served in this cute little enamel dish along with a doorstep sized hunk of wholemeal bread and side salad on top of a chunky wooden board. His potato and chill was also good and both were a good serving size and tasted great.

After devouring our tasty lunch, we had tea and a slice of double decker Victoria sponge between us. The tea is from the Kent and Sussex Tea Co which supplies good quality leaf tea, same as what Miss Mollets Tearooms and Peggotys use. The milk for his Earl Grey was in a sweet little glass bottle and all china used is mis matched, adding to the character of the place.

A dog friendly place with a truly rustic feel and this lovely looking wood stove for when it gets chilly, this place is definitely somewhere we will come back to.

The Verdict? Thumbs Up!
Very friendly and welcoming tearooms with a good menu choice, good value and comfy cosy atmosphere. We will be back to try out the breakfast and am looking forward to visiting when the woodstove is going in the depths of winter.

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Bath: Jacob's Coffee House

On a recent trip to Somerset with friends, we called into one of my most favorite cities, Bath. A popular spa town during the Georgian era because of its hot springs, it has a heritage of Georgian architecture crafted from the gorgeous creamy yellow Bath stone. The city became a World Heritage Site in 1987 and is to this day a major centre for tourism. Jam packed with little tearooms and coffee houses, it was also jam packed with other tourists on our visit. Wandering through the Abbey courtyard trying to find somewhere to have lunch that also had spare tables, we came across a free table at the cute looking Jacob's Coffee house.

An independent coffee house nestled alongside the Bath Abbey and Bath Pump Rooms in the abbey courtyard it looks inviting and friendly with its chunky wood and scaffold outside seating. Throwing myself at the spare table, the others went in to order our feast whilst I peered through the window pointing out what I fancied!

The style of this place is great, huge gilded frames with chalked up menus, grey chalky painted walls and an overall relaxed and cool vibe.

They are into both their tea and coffee, with 24 different types of tea leaves both greeen and white varieties as well as fruit infusions.The coffee is sourced through Easy Jose Coffee, which provides the shop with beans that are roasted weekly. As in most great coffee shops like The Micro Roastery and The Black Dog, all coffee beans are ground specifically for each order.

The cold drink menu was equally as impressive on its huge gilded blackboard, 7 types of smoothies made with natural yoghurt, fruit and pineapple juice all for £4. 

The interior is very tastefully furnished with little touches such as the enamel jug housing the teaspoons and enamel pendant light shade all making this space feel cosy and well put together. 

The impressive selection of cakes are displayed in the window on chunky wooden boards. It took a while to decide on which of the amazing looking slices we would go for and I finally settled on a red velvet with homemade honeycombe chunks. The deal is you help yourself and scoop up your chosen slice into a cute wooden box. The slices are very generous and good value and I love it that you can choose which ever slice you want!

Our order taken, the others came out to join me on our table. Whilst waiting for our lunch to arrive we soaked in the buzzing atmosphere and people watched the many tourists and locals milling about. The view from outside sums up Bath, with the Abbey in the background flanked by the grand yellow stone buildings each side with tasteful shop frontages.

Drinks arrived swiftly by a very friendly young lass. These two strawberry delight smoothies made with strawberries, peach and papaya were ice cold, thick and yummy. Almost a meal in themselves!

Our tea arrived too, loose leaf tea in these sweet little blue teapots. I went for lemon and ginger which was very refreshing and not overpowering whilst he went for an English breakfast.

As well as serving great hot drinks, they also serve a good selection of hot food. He went for a Moo Pie - steak and ale, with mash and rich thick gravy served in a rustic enamel bowl. 

Tester 3 went for an Italian Panini with ham, mozzarella, and tomatoes served on a chunky wooden board. Both this and the pie were reported to be extremely good and for the serving size were goodish value. 

Myself and Tester 4 skipped the main course and went straight in for an afternoon tea. The scones were huge, served warm along with plenty of clotted cream and jam on little enamel plates. They were FANTASTIC, the best scones I have had by far, even better than the ginger scones at Sandhurst Tearooms and the White Chocolate scones at Edith's House.

The Verdict? Thumbs Up!
A great spot for a light lunch for just a pit stop for a coffee. The staff are super friendly and helpful, even on a jam packed Saturday lunch time when they were frantically busy. The baked goods selection was impressive with plenty of cake options and the scones were delicious. The drinks selection and light lunch menu has something to suit most tastes. Overall a fantastic place to come when in Bath.