Category: Burr Tour

Burr’s Two Fingers to Clements Tour of Cafes (Glasgow Special), Episode 7: Tinderbox

Posted by Philip on February 18th, 2008 — 12:52pm

The second special episode of Burr’s Two Fingers to Clements Tour of Cafes takes us to a cafe right at the heart of the busiest part of the busiest road in the West End – Tinderbox, Byres Road, Glasgow.

Tinderbox is a well known cafe amongst West Enders. To most, it is famous for the Vespa they have on display by their window for no apparent reason; but for Glasgow medical students it is probably most famous for being used to represent a T helper cell in a metaphorical scenario used to explain the immune system.

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Here was the first problem – there were no prices on display for any of the food items. To be brutally honest this is completely out of line. Perhaps they want you to be ‘surprised’ when they eventually tell you that the sandwich you just ordered will cost you somewhere in the region of thirty to forty thousand pounds.

I’ve also written down ‘crap service’ here in my notes but I can’t remember why. I don’t remember there being any ‘service’ at all, since it was one of those cash and carry affairs. I think it had something to do with the server trying to ring up Michael’s tap water order on the till. The tap water was free, just to be clear.

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When we eventually went to sit down at the only free table in the place, we encountered a dilemma. The table was one of those stuck-to-the-wall American diner type efforts, and our dilemma was this: each side could fit precisely one and a half adult people.

Would we squeeze in two per side, doing no favours for our crotches; or would we pull over two chairs and stand up every time somebody wanted to walk past us? We opted for the latter.

Part 1 – “Pissed off.”

The sandwiches were okay. When you take into account the four pounds it cost, perhaps it would be more appropriate to say that they were only just okay. And as far as I can tell, the coffee was good. Obviously, we would usually be looking to Michael for a proper opinion on the coffee, but after buying his only just okay sandwich, he couldn’t afford one.

In fact, as a result of going to Tinderbox, Ports has been forced to live on the streets; both Johnts and I have been forced to drop out of medical school to get jobs; and as for Burr, he no longer has the capital to buy Yahoo.

Part 2 – “Seven fiddy.”

We left with a unanimous air of pissedoffness, which is well reflected on the burrometer.


8 comments » | Burr Tour, Video Projects

Burr’s Two Fingers to Clements Tour of Cafes (Glasgow Special), Episode 6: Beanscene

Posted by Philip on February 9th, 2008 — 2:24am

Our ongoing search for a decent cafe that isn’t Clements has forced us to leave home and go to Scotland. The first of our three part Glasgow special brought us to Beanscene, Cresswell Lane, Glasgow.

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Of course, may be experts on cafe culture in Northern Ireland, but we certainly do not have the credentials to start critiquing cafes in Scotland by ourselves. It is for this reason that we invited friend of mm and cafe connoisseur, Aimee Donald; and long-time mm reader, Jonny Baby to help us with our review.

As you will see, Aimee uses her first appearance on a mm project to criticise my camera work. You will be pleased to hear that her lack of knowledge of photography is not reflected in her coffee expertise. And while we’re on the subject of my camera work, have you noticed the way that in all of these videos, the subject looks at me when they’re talking, rather than looking directly at the camera lens? Very Jamie Oliver, indeed.

Part 1 – Our special guests.

Am I not entitled to a comfortable seat? After making my way up to the counter myself, ordering my own drink, then paying a couple of pounds for it; am I not entitled to a comfortable seat? Apparently not.

Let me explain. I had swapped my wooden, 1970’s secondary school classroom looking chair for a nice, comfortable, cushioned one. And just as I had leaned back to settle myself in, the manager told me that I wasn’t allowed to move the chair from its original location by a small table. He then added that there were “plenty of other” wooden, 1970’s secondary school classroom looking chairs to choose from. He, of course, failed to explain what possible difference it makes whether I sat on the comfortable chair or a different potential customer sat on it instead. The only explanation I can think of is that the positioning of the chair was integral to his feng shui.

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It was a bit of a mixed atmosphere inside Beanscene. It was dim and candle-lit, yet there were widescreen TVs hanging off the ceiling. The coffee was certainly as nice as what a good cafe would serve in Belfast, and Burr’s green tea tasted like piss, as you would expect. There were unisex toilets, but it’s not as fun as it sounds.

Part 2 – Commentary from our expert + a profound insight into life.

It was very relaxed and certainly a more than welcome respite from the harsh Glaswegian winter wind outside. A long time was spent playing with candle wax before Ports blew the candle out, signalling the cue for everyone to leave.

Part 3 – The verdict from windy Glasgow + a homeless guy.

Many thanks to friends of mm, Aimee and Jonny Baby for not only taking part in Burr’s Two Fingers to Clements Tour of Cafes, but also for taking part with enthusiasm (at least I thought it was). If we had an equivalent to Blue Peter badges, you would both definitely get one.

Come have a coffee with us sometime in Belfast.


3 comments » | Burr Tour, Video Projects

Burr’s Two Fingers to Clements Tour of Cafes, Episode 5: Clements

Posted by Philip on January 7th, 2008 — 1:08am

It’s been five months since we began Burr’s Two-Fingers to Clements Tour of Cafes. Since then we have become the go-to place for snapshots of the state of Belfast cafe culture. These days when we go to a cafe, it’s almost as if the staff are extra nice to us. It’s almost as if they know who we are and the influence we have. And it was with this in mind that we decided to revisit the place that sparked the birth of this project, the reason for Burr wapping it out and giving the two finger salute in the first place – Clements, Botanic Avenue, Belfast.*

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[ Burr is religious about being treated with respect. ]

We went in and saw that the best table in the place was available. Was this a coincidence? Perhaps they got a tip-off that we were coming. We settled down and were approached by a member of staff. His performance on the night would turn out to be infallible. We were served quickly, he was friendly, and we really could not fault him at all. Note that I used the word performance; I’m still mindful of the possibility of a tip-off.

The drinks were of the usual high standard that we expect from Clements, with the big exception being Burr’s “gunpowder green” tea. I took one sip and could not describe it with any word other than meaty. Not meaty as in it packed a punch, but meaty as in it tasted like meat.

Part 1 – Inside Clements.

There was one more thing we had to do. You may or may not know the specific event that triggered the Clements boycott. If we really wanted to see if Clements had changed for the better, we would surely have to repeat the event to see what kind of reaction we would get. We came prepared. Michael Johnston? Check. Peanut Kit-Kat Chunky? Check. Would he be told off? Would the waiter take a huff? Watch the video to find out. (Warning: boring.)

Part 2 – Johnston eats a Peanut Kit-Kat Chunky without using his incisors like a normal person would.

Well that was painless.

It was clear that we were feeling the ripple of the stone that was thrown when we began Burr’s Two Fingers to Clements Tour of Cafes. Clements have improved their service. Cafes have improved their service. Is our work done? Never.

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And the verdict?

Part 3 – Verdict please, Burr?

* Since when was there a Clements wiki? I think it would be a crime if we didn’t edit it to include a mention of the Burr Tour. Who’s up for it?

9 comments » | Burr Tour, Video Projects

Burr’s Two Fingers to Clements Tour of Cafes, Episode 4: Sinnamon

Posted by Philip on December 20th, 2007 — 12:29am

Everybody knows that it’s considered kewl to pointlessly misspell wurdz. In fact, as a rule, Chris Porter does not deal with any establishment that does not have at least one misplaced letter in its name. Lucky then for the newly opened Sinnamon on Stranmillis Road, Belfast because that is one box that it ticks.

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As always is the case just before entering a brand new cafe, we were a bit tentative. This time though, there was something else, something that Porter was the first to notice. I looked at the bright pink sign, the pink walls inside the cafe, the red flowers decorating the service counter, and the current clientele that consisted solely of men – and thought that yes, it does look quite gay.

Sinnamon has a few things that make it stand out. The first is the need to pay for your stuff before you sit down. It was quite nice to be able to sit down and enjoy your coffee, without the need to pay at the end lurking in your mind. Although, I can’t see this system helping the staff with their tips. There was also free wifi, much to Burr and his iPhone’s delight.

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The service was absolutely excellent; we really could not fault it. It was quick too; I was surprised to find that my soup had already arrived when I returned from my pre-emptive piss. It is because of all these positives that it is such a shame that their food and drink was so distinctly average.

Part 1 – Inside Sinnamon.

My broccoli and cauliflower soup could definitely have been creamier, and maybe it’s because I’ve been away for three months, but the wheaten bread did not taste like wheaten bread.

I thought the Chrises were being very kind in their comments on the cookies. I tried a bit and thought it was pretty horrendous.

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Perhaps it was the thought of facing the cold, cold night outside; perhaps it was the comfortable sofas and nap-time lighting; or perhaps it was the naked men dancing at our table, but there was something that prevented us from ever wanting to leave. As you will soon see, this played a big part in Burr’s final decision on the score.

Part 2 – The verdict + Burr invents a new word.

8 comments » | Burr Tour, Video Projects

Burr’s Two Fingers to Clements Tour of Cafes, Episode 3: Arizona Espresso Company

Posted by Philip on September 17th, 2007 — 4:45pm

A description found by Chris on Google described Arizona Espresso Company on Lisburn Road, Belfast as a place for “business lunches, ladies who lunch, stylish students, couples and even families.” Sure, we may be ladies, but at 7.30pm we certainly weren’t lunching, so we had to rely on Chris’ cap, flip-flops, and tracksuit bottoms to get us in as stylish students.

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Before I continue, I’m going to go ahead and tell you that this is going to be very boring. Perhaps this is a reflection on the place itself; it had a very clean layout and interior, with red leather sofas and generic paintings on the wall that wouldn’t look out of place in the apartment of one of these ladies who lunch. But the place lacked any character, prompting Michael to describe it as soporific. (Yeah, I had to look it up too.) We were pleased to find that we weren’t the youngest people there. Indeed some of the couples had brought their children.

So anyway, back to our story. Burr arrived late.

Part 1 – Burr arrives late

Burr usually arrives late, as he is often firing people, buying and selling shares, or working on his portfolio. He had to wait a good 15 or so minutes before he was served. Needless to say, Burr was not pleased.

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There was something on the menu called a ‘jokershake’. It was vaguely described by the waiter as something to do with orange and cream. Chris didn’t order it, so we can only assume that it’s one of these put in a blender. All our drinks were top quality, from Thomas’ hazelnut latte (or ladday) to Burr’s drink of choice which everyone took the piss out of. Chris had his best milkshake yet, and the coffee we had was really good.

Part 2 – Inside Arizona

And that’s it I’m afraid; nothing out of the ordinary happened in a nothing out of the ordinary place. We leave you with the post-match analysis brought to you by Starbucks Coffee:

Part 3 – The verdict (brought to you by Starbucks Coffee)

5 comments » | Burr Tour, Video Projects

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