Starbucks is over the road (for anyone who doesn’t get it.)

Hand Made Food interior (or is it Handmade food?) Blackheath

A review of Handmade Food in Blackheath SE3

Once upon a time I thought a Bacon and Egg sandwich was just that: a Bacon and Egg sandwich. Possibly I would worry about whether it was made with butter or margarine. And I would put up with margarine if that was what it so happened to be, in the same way that I might put up with a chip in the mug of tea served with fish and chips… because this is greasy-spoon-food right? And you’ve got to eat greasy-spoon-food in a greasy kind of a way? Well it turns out that I was wrong.

I was enlightened one day after walking into Handmade Food before 12pm. I had been there before. They do such a good line in cakes (there isn’t a single cake that is worth overlooking here)  that I had rarely diverged from this option. But on this particular cold morning, I saw that they served bacon and egg sandwiches… er… admittedly for a fiver.

If I tell you that the hand made food bacon and egg sandwich is worth every penny of that fiver.. and more pennies still, would you have me institutionalised? Well before you ring for the ambulance… go and try it. I do not know what makes the difference. Good bread, perfect width of slices; butter (HMF was never going to be a margarine sort of a place); fabulous bacon and egg which I assume has been carefully sourced. But it is as if each egg had been considered with each bacon slice and each type of bread.

Have with coffee. HMF seems to vary in its coffee allegiances but I have yet to be disappointed. Starbucks is over the road, for anyone who doesn’t get it.

I will have to get back to you on the deli, the cakes, coffee surroundings and service some other time. But there is one terrible truth that you should know about HMF. Despite a clear interest in the arts, they have never exhibitied my paintings. Never. Not even when I smiled at them when I paid for breakfast/elevenses/lunch/tea/caketime/mid-mid-morning snack time etc.

It’s ok. I’m not offended. And it goes to prove how objective my views are that I continue to say nice things about them,  and their coffee and their expensive bacon and egg sarnies…

Is anyone enjoying their outdoor olympics tent, by the way? Seeing the menu I am desperate to try and get there before it all closes down.

 40 Tranquil Vale, Blackheath, London, SE3 0BD

Advice needed: Why is clafoutis, please?

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A review of Paul Rhodes Bakery in Greenwich

Advice needed: why is clafoutis please? (That was a ‘why, not a ‘what’.) And why does it sometimes have an ‘s’ on the end and sometimes not?

I understand that clafouti(s) should theoretically have a place in the patisserie collection. It features berries and custard; both very nice things; and eggs, very clever things; and pastry which features butter and butter is one of the fundamentals to life worth living. Euclid said so, go look it up: Book9. But why is the combination of these things so unbelievably like the unfortunate conclusion to a school diner.

We didn’t choose the clafoutis at Rhodes this time. We had coffee and cake, and a sandwich. That’s the order we thought of them in, not the order we ate them in. (Yes, we are now bankrupt and do welcome contributions – paypal details follow shortly.) This week we ordered a cheese straw too. The cheese straws at Rhode’s bakery are good.

Rhodes used to have their very own rude French man. Genuinely free insults for all visitors. This was a masterpiece on their part. He was a tourist feature. But he started mellowing. Falling in love, maybe? He needed to choose if his love life was threatening his art; you will no longer find him there. Now they have a selection of kids who don’t actually know what they sell:

Me:  “I’ll have the Rhode’s Classic,”

Staff: “Eh?”

Maybe the lad just couldn’t hear me and I was brought up not to say “what”. But my suspicion is that I confused him by calling the sandwich a the Rhode’s Classic, a Rhode’s Classic and not just a cheese toastie. This didn’t bode well.

The Rhodes Classic differentiated itself on the price tag by being made with sour dough. Actually it was just a cheese toastie with larger than normal quantities of tomato. I’ve had dull sandwich experiences more than once here. Believe me, the place for startlingly good sandwiches is Boulangerie Jade. It’s a pity, because Rhodes’ breads (that require more money than you should be carrying loose change in Greenwich) aren’t bad.

Unusually I wasn’t in a cake mood and had a raspberry shortcake.

We like that raspberry shortbread. It was constructed like a large jammie dodger without cream. Don’t stop reading until you’ve heard the rest…

Oh, Rhodes, where do you get a crunch as good as that shortcake had? I’ve never experienced such crunch before. I mean that takes some making: too long off the baking tray and it will soften. Too soon and it will still be warm. Never mind the fact that as a bakery there was no protective wrapping to keep it fresh. And I do like a confectioner who knows to go easy on the sugar and generous on the tart; the raspberry jam that dripped out was spot on, in quantity and in balance of fruit and sugar.

Very Very Well Done Rhodes. I forgive you for forgetting our coffee for long enough period for us to be well jostled by various olympic tourists. (In my husband’s words, Rhodes have their own brand of customer service).

There aren’t a lot of seats in Rhodes, and being in a top tourist location, you’ll be lucky even to set eye on one without buying a pair of binoculars and stalking everything four-legged. But it isn’t far from the Cutty Sark and the Thames and so we ate our purchases next to the swirling river surrounded by police, community officers, olympic staff and pretty much no one else.

Rhodes serve no end of goodies… all options piled up on the tills. The coffee is in the top 3 performers on my list and it comes in genuinely and uniquely environmentally friendly cups. Although I can’t remember why. Go and read one of their posters if you really want to know.

As an aside, I know I am an artist and supposed to be all visual whatever, but does anyone know how I can post pictures with the blog in a slightly more sightly manner…

Paul Rhodes Bakery, 37 King William Walk, Greenwich, London, SE10 9HU

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