cafes for dogs, Devon, dog friendly cafes, dog friendly hotels, dog friendly pubs, dog friendly restaurants, pubs for dogs, the dog blog

Devon and Dorset – Part 4

We awoke to find that the drizzle of the previous day had disappeared … to be replaced by a full on downpour. Not to worry. On the way to The White House we had stopped at a service station called Ashby’s. On entering the shop we were amazed to find that it was in fact an Aladdin’s cave of ALL the outdoor clothing and equipment you could ever need (including doggy lifejackets!). I was very happy for the opportunity to rectify my mistake of relying on the British summertime, and purchased a rather snazzy new ‘mac in a sac’.

We had planned a walk in Dartmouth for our morning adventure, and the rain was not going to stop us, not now that I had my trusty waterproof jacket. Smugly I removed it from its ‘sac’ and shook it out … only to find two legs of a pair of trousers unfold themselves! Damn it! Off we set on a detour back to Ashby’s with the full intention of trying to negotiate an exchange. By the time we’d driven there through the pounding rain the more sensible option was clearly to get a coat as well as the trousers. In fact Hannah and Grenson were so jealous of my full on waterproof suit that they had to purchase themselves waterproofs too!

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Who was it who said ‘there is no such thing as the wrong weather, only the wrong type of clothing’? Whoever it was they were an idiot.

Our walk took us up a path around the back of Dartmouth Castle and on to Compass Cove following part of the South West Coastal Path. The walk itself wasn’t too bad but I’m sure the views of the harbour would have been much more impressive if not covered in cloud. To make matters worse, halfway along our route we found our path blocked by a gang of very suspicious looking cows. We didn’t like the look of them. They looked shifty.  So we abandoned the walk and turned back.

It wasn’t a full disaster. The woods were lovely, the totally justifiable use of full wet weather gear is always good for making you feel like a proper adventurer (Bear Grylls eat your heart out), and Grenson loves a walk in long grass and the rain. It is guaranteed to send him ‘cracker dog’ (i.e. he runs around at full speed with his bum tucked in under himself, like his front legs can’t quite keep up with his back ones!).

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Another reason for our return to the car may have been to do with a recommendation we had been given for a fish and chip restaurant in nearby Beesands. By now it was way past lunchtime and there is nothing like a bracing walk to whet the appetite (even if it is only half a walk).

The Britannia @ The Beach is also known as ‘The Shack’, and when I first caught sight of it I realised why.

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We were shown to a table in the gazebo that serves as the main dining room. My expectations weren’t soaring, but by now I was literally starving (and by literally I mean I was slightly hungry having not eaten for a matter of hours).

There was no need for fear. I should know by now that unassuming little places like this often serve up the best food you’re likely to find, and this place did not disappoint.

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Look at the batter on that haddock. GET IN MY BELLY!!

We returned to our accommodation and an afternoon snooze may or may not have been enjoyed by all.

Once we awoke we decided that a nice evening stroll to the local pub was in order.  The Tradesman’s Arms was flipping brilliant.

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We found ourselves a couple of stools at the bar to perch on, and having not long consumed our fish and chips settled for a couple of packets of crisps with our liquid refreshment (dinner of kings). However, whilst sitting at the bar enjoying my beer I spotted the pies that were coming out of the kitchen. Oh my! They looked absolutely delicious. Add to this the fact that behind the bar hung the sign pictured below.

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That settled it, we immediately booked ourselves in for lunch the next day.

Tune in next time for a full pie review!

To be continued…..

The Man and the Dog

 

 

 

 

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Devon and Dorset – Part 2

Having finally managed to escape the climb out of Clovelly we decided that we’d spend the morning investigating more cliff faces (this time on foot rather than in the car!). So we headed over to the brilliantly monikered Baggy Point that sits just above the beautiful Croyde Bay.

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It offered stunning views, a breathtaking walk along the coastal path, and enough fresh air to blow out all of our cobwebs…it’s also a National Trust site so yet another free car park for us..bonus!

We found that a particular highlight of the walk was finding the lovely little wooden doors carved into tree trunks along the way. They look like tiny fairy homes and if you gently open the door you’ll find a little offering of pressed flowers. Isn’t that lovely?

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Anyway, before I completely lose my carefully procured macho image lets move on.

Once you’ve completed your walk, which should take no more than an hour, (unless you get a bit freaked out by some of the edges like En Brogue did and need a bit of a sit down), you’ll find the brilliant Sandleigh Tea Rooms waiting for you back at the car park.

 

There was no way I was going any further on this Devon trip without a cream tea. You can see above that the one I got was truly top notch. It was a beautiful morning (little did we know it was going to be our only one!), and with plenty of outdoor seating and much needed water bowls on hand it scores highly on the dog friendly chart.

Our ultimate destination today was Palmers Barn B&B in Tavistock, which involved quite a drive South to the outskirts of Dartmoor.

On the way we planned to stop off at a site that we had heard a lot about. A magical sounding church that stood at the top of a Tor surrounded by an Iron Age fort. Brentor  is indeed stunning. Especially when you consider that it is still a working church, with the flock clambering up here for services every Sunday. Unfortunately at the time of our visit the roof was being repaired which meant the entire church was covered on all sides with scaffolding! Oh well the views of Dartmoor from up high was worth the stop off anyway.

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Palmers Barn was just a short drive away and we were very pleased to be shown our room and catch a sneak preview of the breakfast room (we’d read that breakfast was pretty special and weren’t to be disappointed, any place that provides Dorset Cereals gets a thumbs up from me, I’m a sucker for a fancy cereal).

Alas it was not breakfast time when we arrived and so in need of evening sustenance we headed down the road into Tavistock.

We very quickly stumbled upon the Cornish Arms. What a great find. Very welcoming to Grenson with the staff bringing him over a bowl of water, and then for us humans probably the best meal we had on the entire journey. I had a simple pork chop, with some sort of tarragon sauce and a side of apple sauce and deliciously crisp chips, and Hannah had chicken curry which was head and shoulders above your average pub curry (which to be fair is usually pretty good anyway).

 

After this we popped into a lovely little local shop filled with an aromatic smell of local lavender. They sold a great selection of local beers and wines, so we decided to stock up and take it back to the B&B, for this was the night that England were to take on the mighty Iceland in the Euros…..the less said about that the better!!!

To be continued…..

 

The Man and the Dog.

 

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PO41 – Isle of Wight

Much like Feargal Sharkey and his problem with hearts, a good coffee shop can also be hard to find. Of course, that statement doesn’t hold if you happen to reside in a major city. If that’s the case then you’re likely to trip over a trendy barista led establishment at regular points along your walk to work/the shops/the gym/school … do school kids drink coffee? Is there a minimum age? It wouldn’t be right for a ten year old to have an espresso surely? Or are they only interested in fried chicken until the age of 16?

I digress.

If you don’t happen to be in the big city then, as Feargal almost says, a good coffee can be hard to find. And so it was a very pleasant surprise, whilst wandering around the lovely little town of Yarmouth on the Island (you know me well enough by now, you know my affinity with the Isle of Wight, I think we can start calling it by its more familiar name ‘The Island’) to find a little place called PO41. (See, you can already tell that it’s cool, it’s named after its postcode…like East 17… and you don’t get much more cool than that).

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It also happens to be situated in the old post office, so there is possibly a more profound reason for its name, rather than trying to emulate a ’90s boy band…both work for me to be honest.

The coffee they serve up (and also sell as beans or ground for take away) comes from Union hand roasted coffee, and was delicious. They also have an array of quality teas and I’ve heard that the hot chocolate is pretty special. I noticed a blackboard advertising panini and tasty bakes, but unfortunately food wasn’t on my radar. I’d already been in the deli down the road and all I can say about that is, my oh my, their gala pie! (I’m a poet and I didn’t know it).

But apart from all of this deliciousness, what really makes this place stand out for me is the affiliation that they currently have with the local artist Shaun Cuff, also known as The Constant Doodler. His speciality is doodles that are basically one constant line (hence the name). One of his artworks adorns an entire wall of PO41.

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It’s very cool. Grenson definitely seemed to like it.

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If only he had thumbs. He’d definitely be giving the old thumbs up in the above pic if he had.

And you don’t have to eat in to appreciate the art. He has also done a design for their take away cups. Unfortunately this led to me appearing even more silly than usual. Whilst enjoying my drink on a bench in the square I was following the line on the drawing, amazed at how it had been produced without the need to lift the pen from the page. This involved me, open mouthed, staring at the cup, as I turned it around before my eyes. Before too long some kind lady (also known as a wise ass) came over and informed me gently that ‘it is a paper cup’. I mumbled something about constant doodling and moved on.

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Despite the danger of ridicule it’s still a really great design. See above. Again, Grenson seems to be a big fan.

So there you go. Marketing does work. It does on me at least, especially when it’s really good art. Because after all, as Feargal almost said, good art these days is hard to find!

The Man and the Dog.

 

 

 

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Sugar Pot – Kennington

Since starting this blog I’ve come across quite a few fellow social media users that are dedicated to finding cool places that you can go to with your pooch. One of my favourites is an Instagram account called dog_friendly_london  If you haven’t taken a look at their feed then you should go and take a peek … Yeah, big shout out to my fellow dog friendly establishment seekers posse, keeping it real … (oh I’m sorry, I’m not sure what came over me there. I went a little, ‘late night pirate radio shout out massive’. I do apologise and hope it will never happen to me again!).

Anyway … one establishment that they visited on their recent ‘South London Week’ caught my eye as I idly wondered where to take Grenson on my planned adventure into the big city. That establishment was The Sugar Pot in Kennington.

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A small family run coffee shop. Only recently opened. Walking distance from Waterloo. Perfect…Unfortunately that last bit turned out to be a matter of opinion. Me looking at the map before setting off was of the opinion that it was a short walk, me after doing the ‘short’ walk was no longer of that opinion.

Luckily once we arrived it was very much worth it. The Sugar Pot is a lovely little place complete with a La Marzocco machine brewing up organic locally roasted coffee, and a board full of delicious sounding toasties.

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Grenson was also impressed when the very kind lady who took our order also produced a bowl of water for him, which he literally lapped up (and when I say literally I actually do for once mean literally!).

I opted for the cheese toastie with serrano ham.

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Oh yes. The spot was very squarely hit.

This little beaut of a coffee shop has only been open for  matter of months but if this quality is anything to go by (and the high volume of customers) then it is very much here to stay.

It has a very welcoming atmosphere and I for one could have stayed there all afternoon. Looking down at Grenson (who is not used to these warmer days yet) it was clear that he’d have been happy to stay there for a good while longer too.

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But I had plans. One of the other major plus points to the Sugar Pot for any dog owners is the fact that it is directly opposite Kennington Park  So not only did Grenson get a day out ‘up west’ with all it’s myriad exotic smells to investigate (and probably taste too unfortunately) he also got to have a run around in an inner city park!

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After all of this excitement, walking, and running (and bearing in mind the ‘short’ walk back to Waterloo) I felt an inaugural trip on the London underground was needed.

He didn’t totally hate it … but next time we’ll maybe try the bus.

All in all, he thought it was a great adventure. Thanks for the recommendation dog_friendly_london and keep up the good work. Shout out to the dog friendly posse whoop! … (oh I’m sorry there I go again, I do apologise).

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Word.

The Man and the Dog.

 

 

 

 

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You Don’t Bring Me Flowers – Hither Green

You Don’t Bring Me Flowers is THE original Hither Green coffee shop.

When Hannah (En Brogue) and I first moved to Hither Green back in the summer of 1860 (or the mid noughties) there was literally nothing here. And when I say ‘literally’ I obviously don’t literally mean literally, there were of course houses, shops and a few pubs, but there was nothing at all that was cool, (not even tepid!). No Arlo and Moe. No Archibalds. The Lord Northbrook was just a twinkle in the landlord’s eye, and The Station was still the type of pub that you had to drink in whilst constantly moving around, otherwise there was a real fear that you’d end up sticking to the carpet.

Yet one shop shone out like a beacon, blazing a trail and lighting the way (yes, I’m aware that my metaphors are getting confused, and that they may well actually be similes anyway…bothered), calling out to all these fine establishments and bringing them over to the wilderness of SE13. And that shop was You Don’t Bring Me Flowers, or YDBMF for those in a rush.

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This small little retro beauty was the place that we took every one of our friends who came to visit. Yes, we’d moved to Hither Green (a place that it seemed that no one in the whole of London had ever heard of), but it was still a nice place, and YDBMF was the proof.

Luckily for us it turned out that our one and only cool shop happened to be the most ‘on-trend’ little retro coffee shop that you’re ever likely to find, and all before little retro coffee shops where anywhere near a trend let alone ‘on’ it.

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I mean! Study the picture above for a second. They’re playing Lou Reed on a vintage record player that’s sitting on top of the coolest blue vintage fridge. Look at the tables and chairs! They’re selling cool dead rock star tea towels. They’ve got some kind of green flowery thing hanging on the wall too, which I’ve no idea what it is but I bet it’s cool. And look at the flowers.

YDBMF isn’t just satisfied with being a brilliant coffee shop, it’s also a brilliant flower shop too.

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En Brogue has, on rare occasions, received a bunch of flowers from here, and every time she claims they are the nicest she’s ever had. (Note to self: I must treat her more often if I want to gain good husband points).

What I mainly go there for though, is the coffee. The retro theme extends to the coffee machine. A big, manual pump beast of a 1960s Gaggia. It always seems like the girls making the coffee are having to wrestle with this machine, and at points are having to put life and limb on the line to get it to give up its caffeine nectar. But I can assure them that the sacrifice is worth it.

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A lovely smooth coffee is produced that I generally like to accompany with a ham and chutney sandwich. Delicious.

Grenson certainly seemed to think so as he could barely resist it himself!

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If you’re not in a sandwich mood then fear not. There are plenty of delicious sweet things on offer too.

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So if you are one of those people who still haven’t heard of Hither Green (frankly what have you been doing? It’s in the ‘Shard Corridor’ darling, it’s well trendy now), then may I suggest a short train journey and a visit to the coolest little coffee / flower shop you’re ever likely to find.

N.B. Yes I’m aware that during the course of this post I have used the word ‘cool’ far too often. I am also aware that there is probably a much cooler word, that the cool kids use nowadays, and that saying cool isn’t actually that cool anymore. Well quite frankly I don’t care. This place is just too damned cool.

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We love it, and I’m sure you would too.

Cool.

The Man and the Dog.

 

 

 

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Browns of Brockley

Tuesday was such a beautiful day in London that I decided that Grenson was due a nice long walk. First off we hit Ladywell Fields, which was being thoroughly enjoyed by a gaggle of mothers and babies, joggers, tennis players and dog walkers. (It’s also home to the 10,000 Hands cafe, as previously recommended on this blog)

We then headed up to Hilly Fields. Again, we found a park teeming with young families, exercisers (human and canine), and people just soaking up the spring sunshine. There is nothing like immersing yourself in the simple beauty of a city enjoying good weather to make you feel better about life. The news may show that there is evil out there, bent on destroying freedoms, but the majority of people in this world just want to spend time happily together enjoying a day in the park.

Feeling reassured about the human race, I carried on to my ultimate destination, Browns of Brockley.

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I had planned on lunch, as I have experienced their wonderful bagels in the past. Unfortunately, I managed to arrive bang on rush hour. It is quite a small space, so if you are lucky enough to visit when a table is free then I suggest you grab it and make the most of the experience. Despite there being no room at the inn, with quality Square Mile Red Brick coffee on offer (and after the long walk, with a return journey still to come), a takeaway was most definitely in order.

As we only spent a few minutes in there whilst waiting for my takeout, I began to worry whilst writing this that they may not have actually been a doggy friendly place. After all, as mentioned, it’s not a huge space inside, and a pack of dogs and small spaces arent always a great mix. Thinking back I tried to piece together a few clues on its dog suitability. First up was the art work on the walls.

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I figured that any place with a poster dedicated to pooches on its wall must be quite friendly to dogs.

My second clue was the fact that they provided me with water in a take away cup for Grenson. Again, any establishment that provides water for your dog is generally pretty friendly. This was also great for LOLs, as passers by would only have seen me coming out of a coffee shop then lifting a coffee cup to Grenson’s mouth. If they didn’t already judge him as a hipster dog then the image of him seemingly drinking a Red Brick flat white would have cemented his reputation.

Finally, upon closer inspection of the coffee cups I noticed my final clue as to the dog friendly credentials of Browns of Brockley.

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I’m guessing that having a dog on your logo is a surefire sign that you are fairly welcoming to dogs?

Of course, I could have just asked … If I had I would have found out that the logo model is a little superstar called Ludd the pug and belongs to the owner Ross Brown. One look at their Instagram and it’s clear this place doesn’t just welcome pups, they love them!

I still think guessing was more fun though.

So in summary, when the sun puts its hat on again and you’re feeling a bit down from world events, head out for some park life and make sure you get a coffee from this super cool little place. You won’t regret it … And if you don’t take my word on the quality of their brew, then just ask Grenson!

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(n.b. I’m not sure what the shadow is in this picture. I presume it’s not my head. Unless I’ve turned into an alien?).

The Man and the Dog.

 

 

 

 

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Canvas & Cream – Forest Hill

Canvas & Cream is a beautiful little creative hub in the heart of Forest Hill. It’s much more than your average cafe; let’s start with the fact that the cream part of its name is not to be ignored. I indulged in a lovely creamy flat white and had to tear myself away from the equally creamy and indulgent-looking array of cakes on the counter.

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If this top quality fare and the delicious restaurant menu was all that was on offer, then this cafe would already be on to a winner. However, add the canvas part of the name, and it moves into the category marked ‘special’. You see, as well as being a cafe and restaurant, it also houses an art gallery and studios at the rear of the property. I heard a rumour that once a very famous art collector attended one of their exhibitions and bought everything on show! Of course that may be completely false, but who am I to let facts get in the way of a good story?!

But what I really love about this place is that you don’t have to even go into the gallery to get your artistic fix. Just walk through the door and look around.

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The entire space is a creative delight.

From the ingenious lighting …

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… to the amazing reclaimed and hand laid wooden floor..

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… this place is just a pleasure to sit in, relax,  and soak up the vibe.

It’s also an excellent place for a private function. I speak from experience having performed the running man (probably more jogging man to be fair!) during a friend’s birthday party that was held here.

So with all of the above in mind I was already a fan.

Then they went and brought out a bowl of water for Grenson … but not just any old bowl.

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SUPER BONUS POINTS!!!

If the deal wasn’t done before, that bowl completely sealed it. Yes, we definitely like it here.

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The Man and the Dog.

 

 

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Cantina – Isle of Wight

Cantina in Ventnor has been running now since 2012 (I believe it was first situated down on the seafront, before a move to its current location on the high street), but for             En Brogue and I, its existence has been a very recent and wonderful discovery.

Be aware that it is only a small place so booking in advance is generally recommended (even for breakfast), but never has the saying ‘good things come in small packages’ been more apt since Kylie fished out her gold hot pants from the back of the wardrobe and began spinning around.

And it’s not just the quantity of good things on offer that is stunning, it’s the quality too.

Let’s start with the bread, as this is what you encounter when first entering the premises.

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Now that right there is what you call a table full of bountiful baking. I once left here with ‘bacon bread’. That’s bread with bits of bacon in it! Try to imagine a bacon sandwich made with bread that also has bacon in it!! You’ve got yourself a bacon bonanza on your hands my friend!!!

Then let us move on to the food and drink. You can always rest assured that any place that sells Square Mile coffee is sure to be a quality establishment.

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We visited for breakfast and may I highly recommend the slow cooked ham, beans and fried egg with toast as an alternative to the full on fry up, (although from a sneaky peak at the full english that the fella next to me had, that seems pretty damned good too).

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En Brogue had the cheddar, emmental, spring onion toastie with tomato jam, and said it was the best cheese toastie … ever! So I think that also counts as a glowing recommendation.

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Last but not least, if you look up at the bar area you will soon spot what else Cantina is especially good at.

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Any place that has a bar that well stocked is a place that knows how to mix a cocktail.  Yes, this place is not just about breakfasts and coffees. It is open until 10pm every day so it’s the perfect place for an evening meal and a cocktail … or five.

I have to admit that I didn’t check whether or not dogs would be welcome in the evening, but Grenson was made to feel more than welcome on our morning visit. He even charmed the waitresses into bringing him a big bowl of water. This was done between the regular ‘fuss sessions’ that Grenson seems particularly good at demanding and receiving from the staff (and most of the customers too) of any establishment that we now visit.

Before I go I just wanted to add a mention for the small cacti that are placed on every table. I do like a quirky little touch like that. So much better than a plastic flower. I’m also partial to merchandise, especially of the mug variety, so you can imagine how much the picture below pleases me.

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Rest assured I will report back soon with a definite answer on the level of evening dog friendliness, as come the summer months I will surely need to be trying out their ‘Mexi – jito’ (chilli infused Olmeca Reposado, mint leaves, lemon, agave and Chegsworth apple). Roll on the summer!!

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The Man and the Dog.

 

 

 

 

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Ten Thousand Hands Cafe – Ladywell

The Ten Thousand Hands Cafe is a place that I had never visited before. Yes folks, this is the first ‘recommendation’ that I’m reviewing … well … I say reviewing, but lets face it, I think we’re far enough along in this enterprise now to realise that I’m no critic, I’m only ever going to feature places that I really like and think you all should check out for yourselves … And I say recommendation but strictly speaking it was an excellent article that I read on the Lewisham Card website suggesting 11 cosy bistros to escape from the cold that pointed me in the right direction.

Anyway … I was aware of quite a few of the bistros featured and hope to include them in future posts (I don’t want to use up all the local ones in one go! I’m playing the long game here!). The Ten Thousand Hands Cafe however, had somehow slipped under my radar.

So after a lovely walk around Ladywell Fields in which Grenson finally discovered the joys of a good stick to carry around on a walk, (but unfortunately also insisted on carrying it in the most dangerous fashion he could find) …

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… we set about finding this elusive cafe. This turned out to be a pretty simple task as it is in plain sight, right behind Ladywell train station. It’s been there since 2014 so I’ve no idea how I’ve missed it all this time. Stepping inside I ordered my customary flat white and, as I was feeling frivolous, a delicious flapjack to accompany it.

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If this is anything to go by then I expect that the rest of the menu must also be excellent. It definitely looks like it should be, and it’s worth noting how friendly it is to all you veggies and vegans out there, which is rare for such a small place.

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It is also important to note the hand prints, which brings us to the origin of the name. Ten Thousand Hands Cafe is a Jimmy Mizen cafe. For those of you that don’t know about Jimmy, he was a 16 year old local boy that was tragically killed in an unprovoked attack in 2008. In his memory his family set up the Jimmy Mizen Foundation with the aim that ‘something good should come from his death’. Their many projects have included setting up cafes in the area that create opportunities for local youths to receive training and gain valuable business skills, whilst also creating safe havens within the community.

The Ten Thousand Hands is named after a campaign that gives local youth the opportunity to volunteer their time to create change, leading to a safer environment and community. Locals of all ages are encouraged to add their hand prints to ‘Jimmy’s Peace Cloth’ signifying their commitment to building a better working community together. So far the hand prints number in excess of 100, 000.

If you haven’t already done so, it is worthwhile clicking on the links within this post to find out more about this fantastic foundation and all of its campaigns.

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Feeling refreshed, Grenson and I headed back out into Ladywell Fields to walk off the flapjack in my case, and to rediscover where he’d left his favourite stick in Grenson’s case.

The first recommendation had been a roaring success and well worth the visit. Thanks for the tip off, Lewisham Card. I highly recommend that any of you with the opportunity should head over and check it out for yourselves. We should all do our best to support valuable initiatives such as this in our communities … especially when it simply involves eating a delicious flapjack!!

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The Man and the Dog.

 

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The Gentlemen Baristas – Southwark

The Gentlemen Baristas coffee house can be found in Union Street, one of the many little back streets around Southwark that could easily appear in a Dickens adaptation with very little set dressing.

In fact, the shop itself would probably need no set dressing at all! (Apart from the removal of the ‘one way’ sign that is spoiling the below picture featuring the nonchalant modelling skills of Grenson and En Brogue)

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It has a shop frontage that by rights should permanently have snow drifts in each corner of the windows.

Step inside and the Dickensian vibe continues as all of the gentlemen baristas are suitably hirsute with some fine moustaches and beards on show (I am also certain that they are big fans of tweed and arrive to work on suitably sturdy Victorian bicycles).

Despite the hairiness and the aforementioned ‘gentlemen’ of the title, this is not in any way some sort of specialist sexist coffee shop. It is not an old-fashioned gentlemen’s club. Many of the baristas are in fact gentle ladies. This was welcomed by Grenson as he could carry on with his new hobby of making every lady that he encounters immediately fall in love with him! Admittedly a fair few men also came over a little giddy in his presence, but walking around town with him must be a little like walking around town with David Beckham.

Anyway, enough of my jealousy, back to the coffee shop. It’s fair to say that the Gentlemen Baristas has an excess of charm. But it’s not all style over substance. These gentlemen baristas really know how to barist! (if that’s an actual word).

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Their flat white is one of the smoothest in London and when you combine it with a top notch sandwich and packet of crisps (or fruit for the healthy eaters) in a £6.50 meal deal, it gets even smoother.

But lets face it, you’d expect no less from ‘The Coolest Baristas in the UK’ as voted for in the UK Coffee Stop Awards!

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I can also recommend for breakfast (or whichever meal you like I suppose, it’s a free country), one of their chocolate twirly pastry things. I’ve no idea of their official name (something French that I can’t pronounce no doubt) but once, when struggling to describe what I wanted, one of the gentlemen baristas helpfully cleared it up as something he referred to as a ‘chocolate b*st*rd’. You see!? They weren’t crowned the coolest baristas in the UK for nothing.

Just to be clear, let’s not get confused about this coolness. Much like the way the baristas being referred to as gentlemen doesn’t mean that they are all male, their ‘cool’ moniker does not mean that they are frosty and aloof. Far from it. You’d be hard pushed to find more welcoming and friendly staff. In fact, as we were leaving they offered me a free take away coffee that someone had mistakenly ordered!

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There is nothing in life that tastes more sweet than free stuff. Although it may have pushed me over my safe caffeine level for the day, but hey, when you’re hanging with the coolest baristas in the UK you have to be a little rock and roll!

So in summary, if you’re looking for a Dickensian coffee house with the coolest gentlemen baristas that aren’t all men, serving smooth coffee that is sometimes free and accompanied by big chocolate b*st*rds, then we suggest that you hunt out this little gem of a coffee shop.

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The Man and the Dog.

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