The Bay Tree’s cinnamon scones are in fact the best in the UK according to the BMW Good Food Ride. Does the Good Food Ride actually have a category specifically for cinnamon scones? Who knows. Unfortunately, UK’s best cinnamon scones were sold out (naturally), so we had to settle for other baked goods that I assumed were not the UK’s best. They were still pretty good though.
We really liked The Bay Tree. It actually wasn’t expensive and served very good quality food and drink. I certainly enjoyed my non-UK’s best wheaten date scone. Here’s your video review…
It’s been a while since we’ve done any reviewing and the cafe we visited this time round hadn’t even opened since our last stop in our tour of cafes. Costa in the still fresh Victoria Square was the subject of our first summer 2008 review. Costa is certainly the biggest chain of cafes we’ve reviewed so far. How would that factor in our review?
Burr has been speaking highly of Costa of late. Indeed he has been to this particular Costa several times already. Why? Well according to Burr the blueberry muffins are nothing short of little presents from god. Roll VT…
Of course we should, Phil. Of course we should.
I’ve got to say, I was very disappointed with the distinctly average muffin and everyone else seemed to agree. Perhaps we just got unlucky with a bad batch or perhaps it just wasn’t very fresh since it was in the evening. The muffin was certainly not the moist, oozing, blueberry facial explosion that Burr described in the video.
The coffee was average, the iced lattes were very refreshing (and sugary). Burr enjoyed his tea but it’s hard to get it wrong with a Twinings tea bag. We were forced to sit outside the cafe because it was quite hot and smelled a bit inside. We were pretty much sitting in the shopping mall itself and there certainly wasn’t a coffee house atmosphere.
Costa serves its function perfectly. It’s the afternoon, you’re shopping, tired and you’re looking for somewhere to take a break and maybe get a drink. Boom. But if you’re looking for a coffee house experience you’d better look elsewhere.
And here’s some bonus material…
The third and final installment of the Glasgow Specials brings us to another very loose take on the word cafe. Tchai-Ovna, 42 Otago Lane in the West End of Glasgow is a tea-house found in a very secluded part of the West End, overlooking the beautiful, crystal clear waters of the Kelvin. That was sarcasm.
Inside we were greeted by what appeared to be a philosophy student’s living room that happened to be full of philosophy students. However, this was all completely expected (by me, at least). “It’s pretty fucking pretentious,” was Porter’s very first opinion of the place. He then proceeded to take off his shirt, kiss his biceps brachii, and offer a couple of passers by “free tickets to the gun show.”
We found some nice seats (armchairs) by the fireplace, sat down and looked at the menu. There were a lot of different types of tea. I have an above average knowledge of Chinese tea, so I suggested two for Burrold and myself: Longjing and Tieguanyin. Chris doesn’t drink tea, so he ordered a flapjack. A decision that was so well made that it deserves an entire paragraph all to itself.
Part 1 – A turd and a Chinese etiquette lesson.*
(Notice Burr’s pinky threatening to fly up as he pours his tea.)
The turdjack was delicious. It was microwaved before it was served, which added both to it’s deliciousness and it’s striking resemblance to a great big steaming chocolate mud-baby. If you ever go to Tchai-Ovna, you must try it.
You may have noticed that we were drinking out of bowls. In the 21 years experience I’ve had being Chinese, this was the first time I have ever drunk tea from a bowl. We use those ridiculously small tea cups for a reason – there is less surface area for the tea to cool. And you don’t look like an idiot when you’re drinking it.
The tea we were served is actually the same stuff you would drink if you were in China. It was really, really good and I’m kind of glad there’s somewhere so close to me where I can get a proper pot of Chinese tea.
We were unanimously cosy in our chairs, so much so in fact, that we missed our planned visit to the Colonel and Ports almost missed his train. Is it somewhere we would go regularly? Definitely not. Is it something different you could do every now and again? Definitely yes.
* This is why you tap the table when someone pours tea for you.
Forget Victoria Square’s Thursday opening, Belfast just landed the refurbishment and re-opening of MMs favoured coffee house.
Here’s the break down.
The doors closed Friday 29th of February with a scheduled re-opening Tueday 4th March.
With a refurb… I’m gonna throw this out there, Clements (Botanic Avenue) is open for review.
Burr’s Two Fingers to Clements Tour of Cafes continues with Tchai-Ovna, the final review in the Special Glasgow Series.