Sawmill Cafe – Stratford

Reviewed on July 12th, 2015 by Dina

When one member of Rate My Bistro gave a surprise visit to the other, the only thing for it was to go out for cake and coffee! At last, we got to go to Sawmill Cafe together especially after one of us had been saying what a wonderful cafe it is and that it would easily become a favourite.

So many cakes and sweet treats in sight are all displayed beautifully in the window. Savoury food such as wraps, pizza, quiches, pastas, soup and stews are all behind glass fronts. It is refreshing and greatly appreciated when cafes have their food covered or behind counters. To this day, we still don’t understand why eateries choose to have self service food rather than it being served. As you can probably tell, we prefer the latter as it is more hygienic.

Sawmill FoodSawmillSawmill Honey Cake and CoffeeSawmill InteriorSawmill Interior 2Sawmill Interior 3

There is a real cuteness about Sawmill from the garlands of little lights hanging, the shelves of plants, stack of logs, the exposed brick walls to the wooden stools and benches. The staff are really friendly and give service with a smile. They don’t rush the customers even when it comes close to closing time.

Choices, choices, choices for the range of cakes and for the drinks. The honey cake was chosen and once you take one bite of this cake, you just want more. Alternating soft thin layers of the sweet honey cake and fresh cream make this irresistible.

The coffee comes in either one shot or two. The decaffeinated Americano with hot soya milk was creamy and smooth. There are lots of teas, juices and smoothies also on the menu.

All of the food is made fresh at Sawmill and they use seasonal produce. The cakes are baked in store and the quality of all the products is high.

Quality time between the Rate My Bistro team was spent at Sawmill and it sure is a firm favourite. The only hard part is to decide when to visit again. Hopefully in the weeks to come as it will be hard to leave going to Sawmill for a longer time than that.

Sawmill Cafe, 51 West Ham Lane, Stratford, London, E15 4PH

Rating: ★★★★★

Click to add a blog post for Sawmill on Zomato

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.

Caffe Concerto Afternoon TeaCaffe ConcertoCaffe Concerto TeaCaffe Concerto Finger SandwichesCaffe Concerto SconesCaffe Concerto CakesCaffe Concerto InteriorCaffe Concerto Cake DisplayCaffe Concerto St Paul's

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☆

Caffe Concerto on UrbanspoonSquare Meal

Cafe VN – Farringdon / Clerkenwell

Reviewed on February 15th, 2013 by Dina

There is something truly comforting about a hot steaming bowl of pho. The combination of the thick rice noodles, the broth and the vegetables is perfect.

Cafe VN specialises in pho – the noodle soup, and bun – the noodle salad. The bright lime green sign lights up the outside of the restaurant. The green colour theme is followed through into the interior. The restaurant has a casual feel to it and even though it is fairly small in size, it is very clean and light. Red lantern style lights hang from the ceiling.

The vegetarian Summer Rolls were a cold starter. Shredded lettuce, cucumber and thin noodles were wrapped in the rice paper. The rolls were fresh and light.

In contrast, the vegetarian Spring Rolls were hot and generously filled. They were quite oily. Both the Summer and Spring Rolls were served with a sweet chilli dipping sauce.

Cafe VN Summer RollsCafe VNCafe VN Spring RollsCafe VN Vegetarian PhoCafe VN Pho GarnishesCafe VN Spicy Vegetarian PhoCafe VN InteriorCafe VN Strawberry Cheesecake Ice CreamCafe VN Interior 2

To drink, it was pure coconut water. This was a refreshing drink, served in a tall glass. The coconut water did not have any sugar or additives added to it and it did not need it either.

Even though pho was what I had in mind, it did not stop me getting tempted by the stir fried noodle and rice dishes. The food that was being brought out to the other diners all looked really good.

But I stuck to my original choice of the Vegetarian Pho. This noodle soup came with thick rice noodles, tofu and mushrooms. It could also be ordered as a spicy version. The garnishes that came on the side were basil, beansprouts, lime and chilli. The pho was really delicious and filling. The broth had a light flavour to it. The big bowl of pho was certainly a hearty dish!

A simple dessert of ice cream completed the meal. The Ben and Jerry’s Strawberry Cheesecake ice cream was better than other ice creams that I have had of the same flavour. Big chunks of the biscuit bases and strawberry pieces, combined with the creamy ice cream was just lovely!

Cafe VN gave us fresh tasting and filling Vietnamese food. The food was cooked to order. The staff were friendly and gave us service with a smile. It would be nice to come back to Cafe VN to try the other dishes!

Cafe VN, 144 Clerkenwell Road, London, EC1R 5DP

Rating: ★★★★★

Cafe VN on Urbanspoon
Square Meal