Caffe Concerto – St Paul’s

Reviewed on June 5th, 2014 by Dina

What a wonderful surprise when my dad came to visit me one weekend! It was the perfect opportunity to take my dad out for an Afternoon Tea; something that I had wanted to do for a long time. With the location of Caffe Concerto in the shadow of the magnificent St Paul’s Cathedral, what better place to be at on a Sunday.

Caffe Concerto looks quite elegant with its chandeliers, beige seating and red decor. Single yellow roses decorated the tables. There is the counter fridge near the entrance with a great display of cake slices, pastries and tarts. The staff and service were okay but it was hard at times to get the attention of the staff.

Bombay Chai and Organic Earl Grey teas were chosen. These came as silver pots of tea and they were tea bags instead of loose tea. Both teas were enjoyable.

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The selection of items for the Afternoon Tea looked wonderful. The sandwiches were cream cheese and cucumber and also egg mayonnaise. The bread was dry and tasted very stale. The sandwiches were a real disappointment and neither myself nor my dad were able to finish them.

At least the fruit scones were better. They seemed slightly fresher and were of a good size. They came with the traditional clotted cream and the strawberry jam came in a mini jar.

The tarts and the cakes were the highlight of the Caffe Concerto Afternoon Tea. A rich chocolate mousse on a chocolate biscuit base was lovely. To contrast this, there was a sharp lemon cheesecake. The fruit tart and the almond tart both had crumbly pastry and a good tasty filling.

Caffe Concerto was a nice place but it should pay more attention to the quality of the food so that it matches the high standard of its surroundings. Attention to detail could really make a difference to having this average cafe turned into a great cafe.

Caffe Concerto, One New Change, St Paul’s, London, EC4M 9AF

Rating: ★★★½☆

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Boulangerie Bon Matin – Stroud Green

Reviewed on February 15th, 2014 by Dina

Pancakes/crepes are always forgotten about when it comes to weekend treats! Boulangerie Bon Matin is lovely place for breakfast, brunch, lunch or even for tea and cake in the afternoon!

A delectable display of cakes, pastries and breads welcomes you into this cafe. Brick walls and framed artwork makes up the seating area towards the back of the cafe. This area is flooded with natural daylight which is always a bonus.

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The menu at Boulangerie Bon Matin boasts a range of breakfast items, salads, soup, sandwiches, quiches, pastries and also the already mentioned pancakes. The savoury crepe chosen to start with was La Ratatouille. Roasted aubergine, red onion, courgette, basil, garlic and cheese made up the filling of this wonderful crepe. The flavours of all the vegetables came through and it was not overladen with cheese.

La Ratatouille was supposed to come with fried egg but we asked for scrambled egg instead. The egg was softly scrambled and there was also a side salad to accompany the pancake.

Now onto the sweet crepe which was made of white flour. Dark Belgian chocolate with banana was the filling of La Milan. A small dish of nuts were given on the side as we thought that it would go well with the chocolate and banana.

The other option that we were considering was La Chocolat. The filling of this one was Belgian chocolate with nuts. As my friend pointed out, it was better that we got the crepe with the banana as the La Chocolat one would have been too rich.

To drink, a satisfying big cup of Earl Grey tea was had. The other teas on offer were English Breakfast, Assam and herbal. If you wanted something cold, there are a range of smoothies and juices as well.

The staff were really friendly and gave fantastic service. All the food that we were served was made fresh to order.

Boulangerie Bon Martin showed us that it is a relaxed, friendly and welcoming cafe. One that we would happily return to for crepes or for the other tempting delights on their menu!

Boulangerie Bon Matin, 178 Tollington Park, Stroud Green, London, N4 3AJ

Rating: ★★★★★

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The Oak Tree Restaurant – Cotswold Wildlife Park, Burford

Reviewed on November 16th, 2013 by Dina

Having a big get together with friends is always harder than one thinks it would be! Everyone has their own schedules and weekends get booked up fairly fast. After fifteen years of first meeting each other, and now with some of the friends having children in tow, we managed it. Hence a day out at the Cotswold Wildlife Park was suggested; something to entertain us big kids as well as the young ones!

Most of the morning was spent wondering around outdoors looking at the array of animals and the pretty gardens. As it was getting to lunchtime, the temperature started to drop and the hunger started to kick in. It was definitely time to head indoors to get warm and to re-energise.

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The Oak Tree Restaurant is in the grand Manor House building. It has more of the feel of a canteen than a restaurant but it does serve its purpose. There is hot food that is made fresh on site using local produce. All of the food is behind the glass counters and is served rather than it being self service. There is also a range of cold sandwiches, cakes and hot drinks on offer.

As it had been a bit chilly outside, I was in the need of something hearty and comforting. The soup of the day, Chicken and Sweetcorn, sounded perfect. It was supposed to come with a bread roll but I had a craving for the mashed potato. The staff let me have a side of mashed potato instead of the bread.

Big chunks of chicken made up the soup and together with the sweetcorn, it was really tasty. The creamy mashed potato did not disappoint either. The soup with the mashed potato was right up my street!

The other hot food that was on offer was burgers, sausages, chicken nuggets, jacket potatoes. The meals are available in children’s portions and they also have baby bowl portions too.

The staff were friendly and even though the cafe was busy, they kept clearing up the tables and tried to show us tables that were going to be free soon. The best way is to take a seat as soon as you see a table empty, otherwise you may be waiting a short while to get a table. The only problem that we found was that the queue for the hot food was really long and it moved fairly slowly. It would be better if there were more staff behind the hot food counter.

The Oak Tree Restaurant is nothing fancy but it does do good food. The gluten free chocolate cakes that my friends had went down a treat too and they were of a good portion size. All fed and watered, we were ready to do some more exploring!

This was a wonderful day spent with good friends and their families! It just shows that some friendships are made to last, no matter how many years go by!

The Oak Tree Restaurant, Cotswold Wildlife Park, Bradwell Grove, Burford, Oxfordshire, OX18 4JP

Rating: ★★★★☆

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