The Anonymous Widower

Pret A Manger Comes To Dalston On Friday

It appears that Pret a Manger’s new Dalston branch opens on Friday.

But search the Internet and not everybody is happy.

Pret is accused of the gentrification of Dalston.

December 3, 2019 Posted by | Food | , , | 3 Comments

A Plaintiff Plea On Wake Up To Money

I regularly listen to Wake Up to Money on BBC Radio 5 Live.

One morning, they were talking to Kentucky Fried Chicken about their new vegan burgers. As a coeliac, I say Yuck! to that!

Somebody else texted the program and said something like.

I’m a coeliac, how about more gluten-free food.

In fact it was a bad week for me as a coeliac last week.

  • I found Beyond Bread had closed on Upper Street.
  • Le Petite Bretagne  closed in Dalston.
  • I spent about twenty minutes looking for a coffee and a gluten-free cake in Liverpool Street.

All this passion for vegan and vegetarian food, is marginalising those like me, who have to avoid gluten.

I’ve still got a couple of cafes in Dalston, where this is possible and I could always go to M & S and take a cake home.

But I refuse to buy an expensive coffee maker.

After Liverpool Street, I ended up in Leon in Moorgate.

Note the excellent gluten-free cake and the posh cup and saucer.

Note, that because of my stroke, I like a proper china cup or mug

I tend to avoid American-owned chains like Costa and Starbucks, as some American gluten-free practices are suspect to say the least. I used to like Cadbury’s Bournville chocolate, but now I believe it uses addictive wheat-derived glucose, I wouldn’t dare touch it.

As I said finding good cafes and restaurants that do gluten free well is becoming more difficult.

  • Carluccio’s is creaking and many that I used regularly like Glasgow, Islington, Liverpool and Westfield have closed.
  • Pattiserie Valerie is struggling and has closed a lot of outlets.
  • Jamie’s Italian has gone bust.
  • If I go a bit upmarket, there is Bill’s and Cote, but they are not ideal for a fast pit-stop.

As last week, I suspect that most coeliacs hope that Leon or others following their relaxed, quirky and customer and diet-friendly model, prosper.


These days many pensioners like me, get free public transport in their local area.

Londoners like me, get a Freedom Pass, which gives free buses, Underground, Overground, trams and trains, within the M25.

I will often get up, look at the BBC London News, the weather and other sources. I may then decide to go to Canary Wharf, Richmond ir wherever  to have a walk, see an exhibition or whatever.

London is an amazing cornucopia of delights, which is a sentiment echoed by others who live close to our other great cities.

Free public transport enables this lifestyle.

I think the various cafe and restaurant chains can tap into this lifestyle, as often one of the reason to go to a place is to have a good meal or a drinki.

If like me, you like particular chains, I believe that their web sites could be an important part in planning how to waste a few hours.

Suppose, their web site  had the following features.

  • A simple list of all their cafes and restaurant, with st most a short description like “Close to Pierhead”
  • The ability to sign up to a simple e-mail alert of new openings and closures. Note the word simple!

I believe that if I got a message saying a chain had opened in say Kingston, it might prompt me to go and have a walk and perhaps lunch, with a friend I haven’t seen for years.


  1. Lists are much better than maps, if you don’t know the area.
  2. Companies are relying too much on apps, which are OK for finding places near where you are, but are useless, if you are using the cafe or restaurant, as the resewn to go or the starting point for an explore.
  3. I believe Carluccio’s troubles started, when they abandoned their list on their web site. I told them so in strong terms.

Patteriserie Valerie has an excellent list.


June 23, 2019 Posted by | Food, Transport | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Why Don’t Cafes Provide More Charging USB Points?

Surely, if someone had a flat phone, thry’d stay longer?

I would design a system, so that each USB port could provide so many milli-amps. I’d then adjust the limit, to get the most profit!

August 7, 2018 Posted by | Food | | 2 Comments

ollybars At The Reilly Rocket

The Reilly Rocket is a cafe on my walking route home from Dalston Junction station and the Kingsland High Road, that I occasionally use for a small refreshment.

Today I popped in and found they were promoting ollybars on the counter.

So I ate one with my pot of English breakfast tea and took another home for later.

At two quid they may be more expensive than say EatNakd bars, but they are very good.

Too many gluten-free snacks are either bland or have the texture of sawdust.

ollybars are not guilty of either fault.

Congratulations to Olly!

August 19, 2015 Posted by | Food | , | 1 Comment

Sawyer And Gray At Highbury Corner

Highbury Corner is a bit short of eating places that appeal to me. Over the past couple of months, I’ve passed a new cafe called Sawyer and Gray on my way to the bus stop to get the  30 home.

Today, after coming back from my travels to the station and after buying my Sunday Times in the littleWaitrose, I ventured inside to have a cup of tea.

I liked what I saw and decided to have some scrambled egg and smoked salmon for an early lunch.

It was very good and I shall go back again. When Kings Cross and Euston have got their escalators fixed, it will be very convenient for a sustaining drink on the way home from a trip up north.

Note that the restaurant is a bit of a Tardis and as it has a basement with seven tables, it’s a lot bigger than it appears from the street.


December 28, 2014 Posted by | Food, World | , | Leave a comment

Palmers Green Station To Get A Double Upgrade

After visiting Alexandra Palace station and the Yard Cafe, I took a Hertford North train through Bowes Park and on to Palmers Green station.

The station needs refurbishment and it is getting step-free access and a branch of the Yard Cafe.

December 17, 2014 Posted by | Food, Transport | , , | 3 Comments

A Solution To The Tea Bag Problem

In Rochester High Street, I had a very nice cup of tea in a cafe called Dot Cafe. What a good name for a cafe with good internet and wi-fi.

As you can see milk was served alongside in a small wider jug, which was an ideal place to put the teabag. The lady in charge said that was what you did!

A simple idea that solves a messy problem! Perhaps you could put some words on the jug like “Milk – After The Teabag”

November 26, 2014 Posted by | World | , , | Leave a comment

The Best Cafe In Eastfield

Marks and Spencer’s cafes are probably best described as safe, with a boring selection of drinks and pastries, that wouldn’t annoy ladies who drink milky coffee.

But the one on the bridge at their Eastfield store is different.

It’s nice to go to a cafe with proper china and nearly all those in that area of the shopping centre use paper cups.

So it’s a no-brainer as to where I go!

It does mean that if I’m lucky, I have to put up with one of the best views in East London.

As Marks and Spencer now have an extensive range of gluten-free foods in the shop below the cafe, Stratford is an ideal place to break a journey with a pit stop for supplies



October 9, 2014 Posted by | World | , , , | Leave a comment

Before Overground – Cafe Issues

The stations to be incorporated into the Overground from the Lea Valley Lines have a sprinkling of cafes, like this one at Hackney Downs.

I got a nice cup of tea there, but on chatting with the owner, there are issues that London Overground need to sort out with these little cafes and other shops in the stations.

I also feel that in some of the smaller stations, the only decent small premises are the booking office, which was often closed. As it is Transport for London’s policy to do away with booking offices, perhaps some could be revamped as retail premises.

At Rectory Road, there was only one lonely guy sitting in the booking office. He should be on or watching the platforms, not hidden away!

September 30, 2014 Posted by | Food, Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

Come In Number 38, Your Time Has Come!

I saw several New Buses for London or Routemasters today, as I travelled the other way on a 38 to and through Hackney.


But they weren’t the remnants of the original Hackney Eight, but pristine ones, just off the boat from Northern Ireland.

Coming back from the Angel, I got one of the new buses and the driver said with a big beaming smile on his face, that from Monday all buses on the 38 will be New Routemasters.

So now visitors to the capital and those that live here for that matter, will be able to take their partner, boyfriend or girlfriend to romantic Clapton Pond, as I surmised here.

On a serious note, If you were thinking of opening a cafe, then Clapton Pond surely is the place!

Also if I was Hackney’s Tourism Officer, I’d be making sure everything was ready.

Rumour also has it too, that a well known estate agent has jacked up the prices of all properties near to a 38 bus stop by two percent.

May 9, 2014 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , | 2 Comments