The genius of the mosaic cake was the invisible chocolate chunks

A Review of Hazev, South Quay

Hazev ain’t so far away, guys, over in South Quay on the way to Canary Wharf. And you should go to Canary Wharf every now and then, on the DLR and stuff. In fact we ended up here when we spotted that our meal in Greenwich would be providing insufficient calorie-to-food-satisfaction when it came to dessert, leaving us to fill the cake shaped hole that the starter and main course had built for us.

We have been to Havez before – the restaurant bit, and the food was delicious, served in enormous portions and full of textures and flavours by hospitable waiters amongst opulent decor. And we had peeked at the deli next door, which seemed to be full of cakes with similar benefits.

To be blunt, the deli was full of savoury dishes that made us wish we had not already eaten in Greenwich and unusual non-alcoholic sweet drinks that kicked the virgin bellini from Papa Charlie to the ground. We had tea to accompany our cake though. There were a lot of cakes to choose from and many of them newbies in my cake eating experience, hence it was a tough choice that cake decision. Ultimately we homed in on
Hazev pie.

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This was made of cinnamon, apple and whole almonds that kept their crunch. All of this was case in a soft cakey pastry and while I love buttery shortcrust pastries, cakey pastry does have its place and Hazev pie is definitely one of those places. The second choice was mosaic cake.

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I can’t tell you what made me choose this , because the look of it was unfortunately close to refigertator cake or rocky road, both of which take fundamentally awesome ingredients and ruin them. But I shouldn’t have worried about the mosaic cake. The genius of the mosaic cake was the invisible chocolate chunks that made the texture of the cake spot on.

We’ll be back just for drinks some time.

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No Consideration for Dieting Food Bloggers

A review of Royal Teas, Greenwich.

Royal teas has always sounded like an intriguing name for a vegetarian cafe. The ‘royal’ bit, yep well it is located on Royal Hill, the teas bit, yep full of teas (more about that later) but the combination of royal and teas sounds like a cream tea destination, and yes it does do cream tea… which is vegetarian…. But it isn’t Vegetarian (that’s a capital ‘V’ there just in case it’s too early in the morning to tell) in the way that is indicative of the aubergine hanging over the words Royal Teas on the logo. Get what I’m saying?

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You know what else? Being located very close to my beloved Buenous Ares cafe, It has taken me 11 years of Greenwich, Blackheath living to get thought the front door. This is not just because the Argentinian location is definitely not vegetarian, but that it has cake and a sofa that I know about.

There were some fabulous looking all day breakfast options, including an Americana tortilla of beans and cheese and eggs. My only reason for passing this by, was that I had already had 2 eggs for breakfast.

We ordered smoked salmon baguette,

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houmous and crudities and deep fried halloumi.

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Where are we on deep fried halloumi? My personal opinion is that cheese is mostly fat, so putting extra fat on the outside can’t really change that too much. Have a smaller piece if it bothers you? We had a long wait for both of these items, but they were delivered with the most gorgeous fresh and colourful salad, which given the affordability of the meal was impressive.

The lapsang souchong we ordered along side was very watery to the extent I could taste water more that I could taste lapsang. Tea should never taste of water right? One might consider its ability to make water taste of something other than water to bite the raison d’être of tea. The charming proprietor balked not at actually opening a new packet for us, from which new cups were filled.

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And here is the best part: A Cake Filing System.

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What a great way to showcase cake! Especially in a quaint cottage interior like this one. I want one of these built into my quaint cottage rectory fields. I might have to throw out the washing machine to make room for it, but it needs no plumbing.

We went for ginger cake. This was full of dried fruit and was unexpectedly offered hot with ice cream. The heat made the ginger creep into your nose (this was a good thing). Despite sharing we were given 2 scoops of ice cream (no consideration for dieting food bloggers), which seemed to me to be dairy vanilla, but to my husband clotted cream. Enlightenment welcome.

Royal Teas
76 Royal Hill, SE10

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They have pre-wrapped muffins. Hmmm. Moving on….

A a review of the Pavillion cafe in Greenwich. Park SE10

BBQ, jazz, beautiful park…. What could be better? That was why the very first free Friday I had in my diary between May and August was going to take up the offer by the Pavillion in the Park of such things, with the Laban students playing the jazz.

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So many hot, but booked up, Friday evenings passed. I thought…. I can’t wait for my musically sun drenched evening, and finally the date arrived, shortly after autumn, at the beginning of August.

The BBQ was moved indoors. Ie. it was a very expensive grill. And you could see a grey sky through the windows.

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The location and design of the Pavillion are beautiful.

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We sat on the first floor where you are sitting high up with the conkers. Although you can’t see the jazz from here, seeing jazz tends not to be the purpose of it (with the exception of Pollock – Jackson, duh!)

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The BBQ menu is slight- but it has something for vegetarians too. Plus there are pizzas which looked gorgeous. And (did I mention?) it is a bit disappointing to eat inside

There are however a disappointing lack of cakes here. They have pre-wrapped muffins. Hmmm. Moving on…. Sadly the smell of baking pizza keeps making you think of cake and look at the pre-wrapped muffins again. Nope. Still not tempted There is icecream, but it’s cold. Oh, and the ice cream window closed by 7pm.

The actual delivery of my hot dog sausage in baguette was a little befuddled. They hadn’t so much as buttered the baguette, or offered any dressing. On request, it took them a while to rustle up any dressings. So it was alright. Would have been better in sunlight.

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We took blankets to a bench overlooking London. That bit was very nice.

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Thirty versions of tea implies GOOD things

A review of Peyton and Byrne, Greenwich SE10

Peyton and Bryne is one of those places you have to come back to. It’s just got too much to choose from. You feel like a kid in a sweetie shop (do kids say they feel like grown ups in a coffee shop?) too much choice of pastry, so much light and air (set off by large retro wallpaper and wood). This is the fusion version of the coffee shop: English French, pastry, cupcake, scone, bar.

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Hence opening a large space in Greenwich centre is progress for us grow ups, as most of the other Peyton’s and Byrnes appear to be in galleries and museums. Oh, you thought I was interested in Monet, no darling, I’m not really cultured, I just haven’t sampled all the p&b tarts yet. We start can going for country walks again when I’ve reached the stawberry and balsamic, but not if they extend the range, mind.

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Weaker points were the plastic cutlery, requiring plastic wrestling on the delicacy in question.

Here’s what we eventually settled on:

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That thing on the right is apple crumble. This stacking of mostly creamy type constituent and err.. crumble seems to be a French interpretation of English Classic.

I had my reservations about the caramel dark chocolate bomb on the left. The dark chocolate was good, a kind of devil’s food cake sponge and it melted in the mouth. The supposedly oozing caramel hardly oozed though. I think it was too cold, or maybe that was compared to the 30 degree day. Regular readers will know that this constitutes a good review of a chocolate cake by my standards. My only advise would be, don’t eat it on a full stomach

Having advised you of the important food here (cake) I can no go back and tell you that the sausage roll was nice, but lacked a couple of things available elsewhere in Blackheath (Greenwich borough): The pastry is better at Boulangerie Jade, and the sausage is better at Hand Made Food.

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Tea was a bit wrong here.

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Yes I am a coffee shop blogger, but i frequently order tea at them. 30 versions of tea implies GOOD things. However it arrives in a small mug, (the more expensive – but pretty- teapots are hardly bigger) and when you’ve ordered Lapsang Souchong it should taste of something. Well actually it should taste warm and smokey, but ‘something’ would have been progress.

I’m not sure if this isn’t about quality control though, since the ever so tempting sounding marmalade dark chocolate (this is a combination I experiment with a lot, more recently in ice cream form) tasted of dark chocolate only, but the elderflower dark chocolate was full of flavour.

You can see I ordered a lot in this trip. It came to a not too bad £18 and included an unreviewed loaf of bread. But really I was just being thorough for the sake of the blog.

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Location is the strong point, a review of Charlton Lido

Unfortunately whether I blog about the lido cafe, or I do not blog about the lido cafe, it seems that you all know about it anyway, and are filling the aisles with your towels.

Of course when I refer to this being a blog about the lido cafe, I really mean this is about the whole lido sun terrace (where you can also buy a cup of tea) experience, and the should -try-harder cafe is a bit of an excuse for this review.

There aren’t any pictures in this review, because I seem to remember there is something about not having cameras at swimming pools so as not to upset mummies and daddies. It’s a sad sad world.

The lido however is completely not sad, at least not in sunny weather. In cold weather it’s less sad than really hard work. So while this distinctly un-British patch continues, go share in the joy. After an exhilarating lane swim, or childish splash, you can go sit on the sun terrace and listen to the gentle lapping of water to dry off the sun. It feels like being on holiday, in a like, hot place.

Hence the following picture is not of the lido, but of a hot place, in France, to bring the right feelings to mind.

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The exact nature of drying off allowed is up for debate. Despite the plastic seats there seemed to be a rule of not turning up to the cafe wet, that was mostly being ignored. I figured set hair jeans and my boden towelling hoodie (purchased from ebay, have you seen the price of those things?) would be good enough.

The location is let down by under-delivery in the food provisions. Service was friendly and the cakes and pastries were ok, but the bacon baps were already showing signs of wear… that being an absence of bacon that had to be replaced by sausages (cooked from scratch! And hence taking 40minutes before being served with margarine baps.) They even ran out of Earl Grey tea before we left.

Somebody smart could do something amazing at this place. After all Lewisham swimming pool’s Rhubarb is a real gem, and no less affordable. I’m day dreaming of some sort of The Scullery married to Greenwich council solution, but then I might never ever leave the lido.

I do concede that I did not actually see a microwave in the preparation of these eggs

A review of the Village Deli, Blackheath SE3

In a virtually empty village deli, I sipped an iced jasmine tea from a pretty little bottle and overheard the only other person in the room order a very specifically crafted haddock dish. Then I smelt said haddock dish being prepared and thought to myself, I must come back when I am hungrier. This might also appease the waitress who was a little contemptuous of my request for ice tea only.

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The point of the deli seems to be breakfast. Neither the sandwich or the dinner menus are half as big as the breakfast menu. It actually starts getting a bit confusing. You mentally flag that they’ve got bubble and squeak – must make sure that I get a dish with that, but then they have pancakes and waffles, and croissants, and a seemingly promising array of fish which was why I was there in the first place. Waffles and bubble and squeak with haddock- does not compute… does not compute..

The seats and tables are like the school canteen, cluttered in together, and requiring heavy manoeuvring in order to just sit down. You have to try quite hard to make the staff smile, and not query where your order has gone in case you upset them.

There also seem to be some very good brands in stock. Union coffee for example, that we baulked at the price of in the maritime museum was 5.99. That seems a good enough reason to scour the rest of the menu.

So anyway, the breakfast: Haddock- great, perfectly cooked, lemon adding a nice dimension. But microwaved eggs? Hard-microwaved eggs, when they should be oozing over the haddock (or the bubble and squeak that appeared on the other plate)? This was very disappointing. I think just as some countries fail to understand tea, some food establishments fail to understand eggs. Please note: Eggs are not just oval protein modules; they are the seed for the cook’s creativity-a biologically inaccurate description, I know.

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I do concede that I did not actually see a microwave in the preparation of these eggs, but if there was no microwave involved, then a whole new level of culinary failure was achieved on the day of my visit: The sense of microwaved food without microwave. I know, people will pay for it one day.

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Our coffee was made with geek level care, and it showed it.

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I really did not like the eggs. But the Village Deli was otherwise a very inauspicious hidden gem and worthy of its cult status. You could dash out of the car park and miss it whilst ‘Cook’ and ‘Jigsaw’ flaunt their bright banners. And that would be a pity if you are prepared to forgo the eggs and just have a delicious breakfast.

(Ok, I’ll stop talking about eggs now).

The Village Deli 1 – 3 Tranquil Vale, London, SE3 0BU

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