My husband happened upon a great coffee shop whilst he was out in the Bedford area. It seemed to have everything a family could need in a coffee shop and so therefore taking the opportunity one Saturday morning to take the kids there, off we scooted over to Bedford (Denham). It took about 25 minutes to get there from Milton Keynes; which is not bad for a good coffee shop – it would have to be worth it though…
The inside was spacious, tastefully decorated with comfy seating (yes always a pre-requisite for me). They had a great menu (including pizza), not just a standard coffee shop menu, but which also included cocktails and other late night beverages; as they do indeed open late – another rarity and much welcome in my household. Most importantly for us though were the capacious grounds on which the cafe sits. Opposite and able to be seen from the window is a large park, on another side is a mugger (an enclosed football pitch), and on the other side a large field.
The photos above were indeed taken from the window where I was happily sipping my tea and perusing a novel, whilst being able to watch my children play. They ran in and out about every 10 minutes or so, took a sip of their hot chocolate and then ran out to play again – it was a very civilised morning, one that many a parent dream of.
We were there at brunch time, so I had tea and toast, but I could not resist the halloween cupcakes on display – and they did not disappoint any of us – they were delicious. My husband has also been in the evening, and though they closed early that night, because he was the only customer, he said it was a quiet and congenial place to meet a friend and/or read a book (though probably not at the same time).
I like to occasionally mix-up the monotony and occasional loneliness of working from home (which I have been doing for 2 years now thanks to Covid-19), by sometimes treating myself to a more lively working location. The New Day Cafe is perfect for this for many reasons:
It is centrally located (CMK)
It has great (free) wifi
It has plugs and booths to work at
It has snazzy looking furnture
They make an amazing hot-chocolate
Although one could work at any cafe in MK (in theory) this one has a work-vibe, perhaps because it is at the bottom of an office block. I often see other people on their laptops too, so I don’t feel self-conscious. It is definitely not a place to take the kids as it is not really aimed at them and would be distracting to those who are working, but I don’t mind, my kids have loads of cafes they can eat in.
Another perk for those who love light – this place has floor-to-ceiling windows, so it gets a tremendous amount of light.
The food menu here is limited in choice but they offer just enough breakfast and lunch options for its clientele. I love their breakfast baps (bacon and hash browns) and cookies. They do have a great drink selection and one of the best hot chocolates in town because it is Biscoff flavour, it is absolutely delicious. It can get pretty busy in the mornings so I recommend giving it a try later in the day.
So if you are looking for places to work or study, this is a great option.
Now is my opportunity to recommend a whole bunch of great eateries that I have been enjoying all year (or for many years), many of which haven’t made it to a dedicated blog post. So if you want to know what and where you should be eating in 2022, look no further…
Best Chinese take-away: Sam’s Chinese in Peartree Bridge, MK6 3BX (01908 695695)
Okay so the location has a lot to be desired, but Sam’s has been my go-to chinese take-away for the last couple of years. They are generous with their meat in their chow meins and I can recommend their curries, ribs and satay.
Absolutely delicious and authentic italian pizza, this is my husband’s favourite, he loves thin bases. I love the tomato and garlic bread in particular, as it is difficult to find that anywhere. I also appreciate that they seem to understand young children and offer plain pasta, my 5 year old is still in her plain pasta phase! The only downside I have found is that even though we live within 3 miles of the take-away, they will not deliver, even though it says they deliver within 3 miles.
You may have noticed if you have read more then one of my posts that I love brisket and Percy’s BBQ do a great brisket burger; in addition their gravy is outstanding and don’t get me started on their malt milkshake (which arrive in a cute bottle), so delicious. If you like malt, like I do, you should also try their malt icecream cookie dessert.
Definitely my first choice for a cream tea (and lunch), and if you have a tighter budget, teapots is definitely more cost-effective and the scones are worth every penny. They also have amazing homemade cakes.
We have been meaning to try this lovely little cafe for the longest time; and it’s only round the corner from us, so no more excuses (I said in my head to no one in particular).
Well, I was right, it is all three of those things, a cafe, lovely and little. Little being the downside because it was terribly busy when we visited on a Saturday morning; in fact, there was only a sofa available to us; so we took it and hoped a table would open up…and it did.
What beautiful decor – for me anyway, it is definitely on the girlier side of the spectrum. Like Madonna meets pinkie pie (from My Little Pony) meets boudoir. Sav and I loved it.
Even better is they made her a unicorn milkshake, which was not technically on the menu. Nate had an oreo milkshake, Colin had Biscoff and I had a Biscoff Hot Chocolate. Well, the milkshakes (and the Hot Choc) were special, they all tasted delicious and they really did look the part too; I shall definitely be coming back for more milkshakes.
For brunch (which they serve all day) I had Biscoff pancakes, Nate had Oreo and Sav had Nutella and strawberries. Once again they looked and tasted great, big fluffy, American-style pancakes and the portions were generous, in fact, I couldn’t finish all of mine.
Colin’s breakfast looked delicious too, however, he said that the flavours were not quite right for him, and it was a little under-seasoned. He had the Salmon, avocado, and poached eggs on sourdough toast. I almost wished I had ordered that, it looked so delicious, and I love me some sourdough.
We took some brownies on our way out of the door; Sav’s unicorn brownie looked good and she loved it. However, my Biscoff brownie was fine but nothing out of the ordinary, taste-wise. However, they had a lot on offer, so I definitely plan to try a few more…they look so good and they change the line-up pretty frequently.
Overall I would say it is a lovely little cafe, that I will try to visit again, but on a less busy day. The staff were very friendly and helpfully found us a seat when we arrived and made a special drink for our daughter. If it is not too cold, they also have some outdoor seating. Another bonus if you have kids, is that there is a park right around the corner, you know to burn off 1/8 of a milkshake. 😉
Another bonus is that they do a lot of special events; some that I noticed on their Facebook page included: Princess tea parties, Christmas afternoon tea, Christmas wreath making, dessert night, mummy meet-ups, The Greatest Showman bottomless brunch, and other movie-themed brunches/teas. So it is a must to keep checking their Facebook page because they seem to have a new dessert/new drink or new event almost every week…which is pretty exciting really. In fact, I just saw a Baileys hot chocolate on offer, which I haven’t had in years, so I might just have to pop over soon.
Address: Unit 3, Knebworth Gate, Giffard Park, MK14 5QD
Ahhh street food. Thank the Lord for street food, and thank you more for whomever had the genius idea to start the food truck craze in Milton Keynes – I would like to shake the hands of this person. Instead, I metaphorically shake the hands with the team over at “The Good Times Cafe” who run the monthly Eat Street MK events.
I have been attending these street food fairs for many years. For those of you who have not been, this is what you can expect: Eat Street MK is a collection of food trucks based at York House in Stony, but they are not just a collection of food trucks. There is an ambiance of a special event; there is food (great food), usually alcohol, music, places to sit both inside and out, and the knowledge that you are supporting small businesses and supporting local. If you love food, this is where you should be. Each vendor specialises so you receive the best of what they have to offer. A whole stall devoted to cheese toasties (for example). There are more options than your stomach will have space for; but if you think of it as tapas, you should be able to enjoy 2 or 3 dishes at least, and if you take some home, even more.
The events usually run on a Friday evening (monthly, but not in Winter) from 5pm, however, sometimes they have random events. It is best to check their Facebook page, as all events are listed there with the list of vendors. Some of my favorite food truckers include: Taco Shack, Good Times Cafe, Eat is Greek, The Rub, Kings Comfort Food, and Chocolate Mill MK.
I was so happy to see a Saturday event in October (it usually runs on a Friday), it meant I could take my kids, I love to share good food with them.
This month between the four of us we tried: a hamburger from Sizzlers, nachos and tacos from Baja Cantina, Biscoff brownies from Jo’s Cake Co, Beef Rendang, Chickpea curry from Banana Leaf and finally the Raclette from Good Times Cafe.
I was very pleased to try the raclette, I mean its cheese and potatoes, you can’t go wrong. It was delicious, my only piece of advice, particularly if you have kids; eat it straight away, eat it hot. I haven’t eaten anything hot since 2011 (my son was born in 2011). However it was still delicious, and their cheese toasties, just in case you haven’t tried them; are a small piece of heaven.
My husband had two dishes from the Banana Leaf (over the weekend) and declared them to be exceptional.
My kids shared some nachos and a beef burger between them. This is my only tiny peeve; many of the vendors do not have child-sized portions; even though this was a daytime event and a lot of children were present. It was difficult to find something for them, so they had to share an adult-sized burger. They did have, however, a sweet vendor – Sweet Sinsations and a brownie stall, so my kids were delighted to try both. The sweet vendor lady was particularly kind to my children; and chatted away with them amiably. My 5-year daughter will talk endlessly if I allow it, so I had to drag her away.
I also had a taco from Baja Cantina – delicious, and the Biscoff Brownie I had from Jo’s Cake Co almost blew my socks off it was so good. In fact, I enjoyed it so much, I wished I had bought another one. Savvy enjoyed her Halloween swiss roll from them too.
We were lucky to arrive early and grabbed one of the seats in the middle, which is well needed with young kids. The inside wasn’t open on this occasion, but it usually is, and I prefer it because it’s warmer in the winter, they have a bar and they have toilet facilities.
I like that you can have amazing food but spend far less than in a restaurant; in the summer it is a dream to be able to sit outside in the sunshine and enjoy the pleasant atmosphere. In the past they have not run these in the winter; but it appears that there will be a Christmas Market this year, which is exciting.
I remember hearing that this great new place opened up during Easter this year; and all I could see on social media was crazy long queus for the “waffles on a stick”. I waited until the crowds calmed down a little and realised that this little cafe is more than just waffles. They have taken the best from French Affaire (in my opinion) and opened up a cafe selling the one thing that truly makes them special – pattiserie. Every time I have eaten at French Affaire it was always the desserts that stood out for me. Therefore it is exciting so see a little spot that sells only their incredible desserts.
I have been for a take-away and I have sat inside, both are great. Though the inside is small it is worth it, if you can get a table, as the seating is classy and very comfortable. They have even managed to fit a small toilet into this quaint space.
I took my kids along at the weekend recently as a little treat. I had the strawberry, white chocolate and pistachio delice dessert with the strawberry mousse filling (which I have had before) and it is was absolutely devine, utter perfection. In fact it looked so good I almost felt bad for cutting into it, but it does indeed look as good as it tastes.
My husband had the brioche feuilletee with a caramel filling (they also had nutella and raspberry filling), which he enjoyed. It’s kind of like a brioche donut. The fillings are generous with all the desserts.
The kids shared a waffle on a stick, which after tasting I almost, almost wished I had ordered. They had a waffle with chocolate sauce and smarties and chocolate balls. You only get one topping included, so I paid extra so they could choose a topping each.
The price tag here is higher than a traditional (english) cafe, but I believe the price reflects the level of skill and French artisan that goes into the cakes and pattiseries. The price range on the cake stand was from £3.95 to £4.95 per pattiserie.
It looks elegant and it tastes elegant. This is a place to go for a little taste of French luxury.
Teapots is an institution. Even though I live in Milton Keynes I have been hearing about Teapots my whole adult life. Any time any grown up had a birthday or special occasion, Teapots would often feature, okay not everyone, obviously, but everyone I know loves Teapots. So I guess this is a review for those who have not heard of Teapots – though I don’t know who you are or where you have been living – maybe you are new to the area…welcome!
Anyway, it is impossible to sum up 15 years or so of what I have experienced, so I will simply base this review on my latest visit. However, I do have to say that I have never had a bad meal here, and their cream teas/afternoon teas are epic and never disappointing. Plus their home-made cakes that they bake fresh every day, are so good that we almost always go home with a bag full and a much lighter bank balance. Cakes freeze well.
Today we stopped by for lunch. The kids had pancakes, husband had a savoury pancake and I had a toasted cheese and ham sandwich. I do not normally like sandwiches, as anyone who knows me well will tell you, but I absolutely love their toasted sandwiches, they are thick and lushious and full to overflowing with filling. The ham is super thick and the cheese is strong. It also comes with a side salad.
My husband had a mushroom pancake; and he is super fussy (when we eat out). He said, “ahhhh that is why I love mushrooms”. He also described the sauce as carbonara-like, very creamy.
My son ate his chocolate pancakes very quickly, and he would have finished of his sisters pancakes if I had let him. My daughter has a smaller tummy so she only ate half, though we took it home and she ate the rest later; they both loved them.
After lunch we had a cream tea. I had a plain scone, which is a treat, because usually I have to take the raisins out. It arrived still warm and moist. They provide a generous portion of cream and jam. Husband ordered a cherry scone and a blueberry and lemon scone. He was offered lemon curd, which worked well with the blueberry scone. The tea was nice but I should have requested loose-leaf tea. I thought it would come as standard, but alas it did not, so a note to self for next time.
Service was very good, the owner interacted with my children, which I appreciated, and played a little joke “So these chocolate pancakes are for mum and dad?”.
Before we paid the bill we took some cake home with us. If you see the cabinet full of home-made cakes, you just cannot say no, so even though we were full, we took some home. I have had their chocolate cake before, so I went for that again, and it was absolutely delicious. My husband chose a whole bunch of cakes.
We absolutely love Teapots and it will continue to be one of our regular haunts for random treats as well as special occasions. If you have never been to Teapots, I advise you to give it a try, you will not be disappointed.
Bookings: By phone 01234 712392
Parking: There is parking behind Teapots next to the co-op and in the main town square.
Living in Newport Pagnell, popping over to Olney is not far and since Olney is kind of a foodie paradise, we do pop there quite often. One of our favourite places to go for breakfast or brunch is the Olney Pancake Parlour. It’s a cafe in the main square of Olney’s town centre. Inside it is like a rabbit warren, it is deceptively big. They have booths, and tables and sofa’s and you can also sit outside.
Olney is famous for its pancakes and the annual pancake race; and the parlour is probably the best place in Olney to buy pancakes. They do sweet and savoury as well as thick American-style pancakes and thin crepe-like pancakes. They also do amazing milkshakes, sometimes I come here just for a shake, and delicious cakes. Their brownie is my personal favourite.
This week I brought the family to have brunch. A kids portion of american pancakes is just one pancake each; therefore I ordered an adult size; as it would give them 3 pancakes. It was however too much, one pancake actually would have been enough. They had nutella, banana’s and cream.
I ordered the american breakfast; which is pancakes, eggs, bacon and sausage. I also had toast because they have lovely thick bread. I know that americans like bacon with their pancakes, but I still can’t get my head around it. So I ate the eggs, bacon and sausage first; and then ate the pancakes, like a dessert. It was all lovely; the american-style pancakes in particular were authentic and delicious – super thick and fluffy. Hubby had a savoury pancake which he enjoyed too.
The next best thing to the pancakes are the milkshakes! They do beautiful milkshakes in a variety of flavours in both kids sizes and adult sizes. The kids both chose oreo milkshakes and I stuck with my traditional and favourite strawberry flavour. It was super thick and creamy with a generous portion of whipped cream on top.
Olney is a picturesque old coach town. They have a few boutique shops, in fact a few shops down from the pancake parlour is a unique mini shop, ‘The Book Snug,‘ that sells only children’s books, it is so cute. Opposite the co-op is a fantastic charity book shop and there are many charity shops dotted along the high street. The Olney library is one of the loveliest libraries in the county. It’s better than any of the libraries we have in Milton Keynes. Though not a big library in general, the children’s library is big and has toys for the kids to play with. Last time I visited they had a play tent and lego among other things. Therefore, Olney has a lot to offer and there is enough to spend half a day here. On your way home you could stop by Emberton Country Park for another few hours of fun.
I have been to French Affaire many times; for dinner (which was nice) and for lunch (delicious) but what was truly memorable from both those visits were the desserts; their desserts/pattiseries are truly scrumptious. Therefore the idea of experiencing a French Affaire afternoon tea was an exciting prospect.
I went along with a close friend; we sat outside because the weather was pleasant and they have a newly expanded seating area which is covered and has heaters (because you know – England!). Speaking of this; when I visited in the winter they provided blankets and seat covers and heaters and it was lovely and cosy.
To begin, I have to make a rather random comment about the cutlery. Even the cutlery is classy – a sort of bronze colour, and the milk pail, so cute. So yes it began well with pretty cutlery, a pot of tea and then we were served a large plate of savouries to share. There were 2 of each item. The spinach and mascarpone tartlet was memorable, I do love me some cheese. However, I wasn’t too focussed on the savouries, because for me it is all about the cakes and scones with an afternoon tea.
And wow what a spectacle the cakes made – in their sort of half a bird cage. They looked so aethetically pleasing. I could not wait to try the plant pot cake. And I was not disappointed, it was a chocolate plant pot with strawberry cheesecake inside – oh my it was delectable. The chocolate and praline cake was my next favourite, then followed by a flavourful pistachio cake. These cakes are surprisingly filling, so I was only able to eat one of the delicious scones and no more cake; I was full to the brim.
They obviously have an artisan who makes these cakes; especially as they have recently opened a little cafe opposite the restaurant serving only their pattiseries and cake delights (plus an awesome looking waffle on a stick with a million toppings), so I will certainly be going back for their cakes and sweet treats again at their cafe L’Atelier.
During lockdown their afternoon teas were available for home delivery; which I think they still offer. However they do have a lovely alfresco area which would be perfect this time of year.
My only niggle with French Affaire is that their service is not as warm as I would like, perhaps it was a language barrier, as the server was French. They were not rude though and it would certainly not put me off from trying their absolutely delicious cakes and pattiseries.
The afternoon tea cost £25 per person. I think this was on the pricey side but the food really was special so it is worth it.
It’s my husband’s birthday so as a treat we decided to try brunch at Nonnas; in their new outdoor area which includes a garden bar. It looked beautiful and so inviting; like an English country garden in full bloom. The outdoor alfresco dining area has now tripled in size (however, they no longer have any on-site parking) and they have a mix of booth-type seating, and tables in the sun and under a canopy; so an array of choices.
We were seated and then asked to order at the garden bar. They have quite a large breakfast menu but to the disappointment of my husband and children, they only serve sourdough bread/toast across all their dishes. I love sourdough, but it is an acquired taste. I think they should include regular bread on their menu, at least for children.
That being said, what arrived for us all looked magnificent, a real work of art. I ordered the poached eggs, bacon and brie on sourdough toast. I’ve never though of that combination, but it tasted delicious. The only downside was that the poached eggs were not runny (even though I asked for it). Hubby ordered green eggs and ham, the kids had yoghurt and cheese on toast.
I really enjoyed my breakfast; and the atmosphere was so relaxing, I felt like I was on holiday. The kids found a way to entertain themselves, playing with their ice-cubes. My 4 year old said look mummy I have made a ka-bob (out of her ice cubes).
On display at the garden bar were the most sumptuous-looking doughnuts. Now, I am not a big fan of doughnuts, but they had four different flavours on display and none of us were able to resist. Between the four of us we tried all four flavours: jam, chocolate, passion-fruit and cream and lotus biscoff. They were utterly devine; so good we took some home for later. In fact I think we spent half of the bill on doughnuts!
Nonnas has always been a favourite for dinner, but now with their new outdoor area and quicker serving times, it has now become one of my favourite breakfast/brunch places. The kids loved it too, and they can be moany about going out for meals. So win-win. I cannot wait to go back.
You can book a table using their online booking system. Post code: MK17 8SY. They have no on-site parking, so I have always found a space on Hardwick Road, there are no double yellow lines so it is okay to park there, if you can find a spot. There is also the square by the town council and the library on the high street as alternatives.