Kiwis know their coffee

It’s official; our barristas and our coffee drinkers are among the best and most sophisticated in the world. We have sophisticated tastes and we demand quality, a report in the Sunday Star Times quoting various industry players confirms. See http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/editors-picks/10388391/Kiwi-coffee-is-up-with-the-best “New Zealand has a young coffee culture by international standards with demand for quality coffee having risen dramatically over the past decade. But our roasters and baristas are already competitive with the best in the world in producing “specialty coffee”, with many of them having brought back experience and knowledge gained on their OEs to our shores,” it says Now
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Front Room Disappoints: food was bland

When four old friends gather for lunch there is much talk, laughter and enjoyment. That’s what meetings of old friends are about; a catch up over food, coffee and whatever other liquids we fancy. So the Front Room (www.frontroomcafe.co.nz) on the beachfront at Waikanae seemed ideal; casual, not likely to be too crowded, a good reputation and we had all been there before, and enjoyed it. To be blunt this latest experience was disappointing and perhaps even a bit overpriced. We agreed to share the Spanish tasting plate ($18), because we just fancied a nibble to start. There was one
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Can the French make good coffee? Peut-être.

You’d think that the French would know how to make good coffee. L’espresso may be an Italian word, although that is contested. The French claim it too. Certainly an Italian called Angelo Moriondo registered an Italian patent for a steam driven “instantaneous” coffee beverage making device in Turin in 1884. But hey, Italy is just next door and the French spend hours sitting in cafés drinking the stuff. My recent experience in France makes me disinclined to believe that making good coffee is something the French know or care much about. And even if they do, that knowledge has not
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Reason for airlines to worry

There’s reason for airlines and the travel industry to be concerned about public attitudes to travel. An on line poll on the Yahoo website in New Zealand on 24 July attracted over five thousand responses, and 72% said they were concerned to a greater or less extent about travel. The poll asked if the respondent’s perceptions of airline travel had changed. A third (32%) said they were concerned and another 40% said their perception had changed a little, “but it wouldn’t change anything.” Only 27% said their perception had changed “not at all.” On line polls are not reliable because
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Asian Carriers “best” say travellers

The world’s best airlines as rated by travellers have been named overnight and the ratings reflect the shift in power that has taken place in world aviation over the last decade. Cathay Pacific was named as the world’s best airline, and significantly five of the top ten were Asian based carriers. Four were from the Middle East and only one – Lufthansa- was a European carrier. No American carriers were in the top ten. In the Skytrax awards more than 18 million passengers were surveyed between August 2013 and May 2014, and the surveys covered more than 245 airlines. The
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A weird place to stay; Z hotel in Piccadilly

I’d like to say nice things about this place. But it’s hard because so much didn’t go well, though the staff always apologised. They were willing to fix things and to try and make up for the various lapses with offers of wine, beer, coffee and food. The Z hotel in Piccadilly is one of the new breed of micro hotels, well situated and with some amenities but with tiny, and I really do mean tiny rooms. The length of the bed was the entire width of the room. The suitcase goes under the bed and the clothes pegs on
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A fine breakfast at Simpsons in the Strand

Simpson’s in the Strand is a name that connotes luxury, empire, tradition, majesty and upper class-ness. In London recently I didn’t have the time for lunch, for which they are rightly famous for their servings of beef or lamb carved off massive haunches at the table. But I can manage breakfast. I know what I am having well before I get there. It’s a treat I have promised myself. The Great British Breakfast at Simpson’s is “Cumberland sausage, streaky and back bacon, Stornoway black pudding, fried mushrooms, baked tomato & egg (fried, poached or scrambled)”. It is just wonderful. Beautifully
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Hop On Hop Off bus is a good way to see Noumea

Like many tourist destinations Noumea offers a dedicated hop on hop off bus service at a modest price to encourage visitors to see as many of their attractions as possible. In Noumea it is called the Explorer Bus and costs 1000 Central Pacific Francs (XPF) which is about NZ $15 for a whole day’s travel. There are ten stops on the route and with the normal bus charging a uniform XPF 210 per journey, the Explorer is reasonable value. Its best feature is that it goes to the zoo, which is not on any bus route, and also to the
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