Category Archives: coffee

Makers and takers


Received this from Handmade Food yesterday:

We recently received a London Borough of Lewisham Business award for most sustainable business practice . We are grateful to Sir Steve Bullock and panel for recognising Hand Made Food’s efforts. Fourteen of us, chefs, shop staff, baristas, events staff, washers up raised a glass of Sussex’s best sparkling Breaky Bottom in a toast to our patrons and supporters. We recently lost a great Blackheath independent Sisters and Daughters to a stinging rent increase and ever increasing costs. We got Cook ( national chain of 60) a shop full of factory produced ready meals , a cashier and a freezer filler – at least they put gingham round the freezers.

Congratulations to them. I’m sure it’s not easy trying to run an independent business on the high street at the moment, and I have to agree about Cook, which I shall continue to refer to as Posh Iceland. The wicker baskets and picnic cloths aren’t fooling me… Handmade Food on the other hand is a lovely place, which I’ve spent a lot of time in, but for some reason never mentioned much on here. It serves Monmouth Coffee, which is delicious, and Neal’s Yard Cheese, not to mention all the food which is solid and tasty. It’s not cheap, but if you’ve looked at the rents on that high street, it’s not hard to see why (£100k a year for Venice Restaurant?)

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With Jam and Bread


Just on the very edge of Blackheath and Lee, With Jam and Bread deserves your custom. It’s a great little independent coffee shop. It’s less pretentious inside than the name might make you think.

We had beans on toast, a toasted cheese sandwich and two lattes for £9.50, and it was all delicious. The place is clean, bright, and tidy. The staff are friendly but not intrusive. There was 80s pop playing when we went in, but not too loudly. It’s kid friendly without being overrun by children (at least not on a Saturday morning at 10am). I think it has bursts of business, as whenever I’ve walked past, it’s either been very full or almost empty.

Not sure about the kerning though…

See also Brockley Central post here, and Murdoch’s newsletter (£).

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Provender Vegetarian Cafe has opened

provender_food

Provender has finally opened its doors to Blackheath.  I went in there the other day for a snoop around.  To be honest, I don’t think it was a very fair test, as I popped in a bit late, so all the food was looking a bit tired.  I had a coffee and a very nice piece of baklava for £2.80.  Not cheap, but not horrendous.  Both were good.

The trouble is, there’s almost nowhere to sit – they’ve put the serving trolley thingy right up at the front of the shop, so there are only two stools looking out through the window, and a small table outside.

The food itself looked along the lines of the Indian Lentil Daal kind of veggie variety, not the 1970s Woody Allen movie variety I’d been hoping for (a la Food for Thought)…  Having said that, I didn’t try it, and so will make it a mission to go and give it a proper assessment soon.

Have a look, and let me know what you make of it.. It’s up near O’Neil’s.

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Petite Boulangerie Jade… And Greggs

Following a recommendation from Michael P here, I thought I’d have a look at the new Petite Boulangerie Jade. It is next to Neals Yard Remedies, and is a smaller version of the bakery near to Hand Made Foods. Whilst the replacement of an over-priced clothes shop with an expensive coffee shop may not be the most suprising of changes to happen in Blackheath, it is quite a nice place, well decorated with black and white tiling.

Coffee and a thingyThe only thing that annoys me is the excessive Frenchification of a shop that seems to be staffed by (very pleasant) Polish staff, and playing Polish pop music! Anyway, £2.15 for a coffee and £2.30 for an almond thingy with a complicated name is about the going rate around here, and they tasted excellent. But the door makes a really loud beep every time it opens – what’s wrong with a little bell?!

And then, just for comparison… Greggs… Oh my goodness. Greggs is a disgrace. But for some reason I find myself buying vegetable slices from there. I know they are crap. A friend of a friend once told me that they lived in a flat above a Greggs, and claimed it was infested with rats (not the one in Blackheath, you’ll be delighted to hear).

Greggs The Bakers, sort of

Every time I go in there, I can feel myself slipping down into a world of misery. I really should try to give up.. Maybe if I cut down first, or go to the pharmacy next door, and ask for some monosodium-glutomate patches? Incidentally, the coffee is rubbish, and costs 90p. The vegetarian slices are horrible, but somehow addictive, and cost £1.05.

Blackheath Tea Hut

If you want a bargain coffee, head to the Blackheath Tea Hut instead – 60p (nescafe I think), plus they sell Mr Kipling Pies instead of frangipangy tartlets. I was looking for a copy of the movie about the Tea Hut, called “Tea Time“, as the idea intrigues me, and the website says that they sell DVDs of it in the hut, but I saw no sign of it.

All the locations mentioned, can be seen on the Bugle Google Map.

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David and Goliath

Blackheath Village Deli and Starbucks

How is it that a tiny delicatessen in Blackheath right next to Starbucks doesn’t go out of business?

I thought I’d do a comparison of the two. I’d been into the Village Deli a few times. It is nice enough, but feels more like a cafe than a delicatessen. It’s nothing like Starbucks. You pay afterwards, which always feels nicer, and there are plenty of tables outside to watch the world go by.

Blackheath Village Deli Coffee

It’s not perfect though -the tables were slightly sticky, and could have done with a good wipe. A small latte was good, and cost £2.

Now, Starbucks…. You, being nice Blackheath people, know how Starbucks is, so I’m not going to describe the usual things.

Blackheath Starbucks Empty

What is odd is that from the outside you cannot see how few places there are to sit down. It is as though they have decided that they have no interest in serving customers inside. It really might as well be a booth with a dispensing flap at the front. Inside, it is like a morgue most of the time. The staff (baristas – God, what a strange word to choose), were unfaultable, but really it felt so empty.

Starbucks CoffeeThe coffee was £2.05. Not sure what you get for your extra 5p- maybe a bit more cow juice. And Nora Jones on the stereo.

I can’t help thinking that if it weren’t for the Village Deli’s location, it would have been annihilated by the Starbucks juggernaut. Not because Starbucks is better (it isn’t), but because the station is such a hub of activity in Blackheath, everyone seems to radiate towards it in the mornings and away at night, and the Deli is the first coffee shop that is visible from outside.

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