After hearing about this place from a few sources and getting the impressions of a bunch of farmers, picking the produce and literally carrying it into the kitchen to be served and cooked, I had to pay this place a visit. So on a dark and wet Friday afternoon I made my way up to Bristol to meet a fellow foodie for lunch.
Now having the directional sense of a paperbag in the wind, and having my car with sat nav in for repairs (Damn Torbay Garbage trucks hitting it!) I was forced to rely on the good old AA directions. Following the directions I was amazed to actually found them accurate and arrived in the road which I needed to be at, now as the rained poured down and looking out of my car window, all I could see was houses. Now at this point im thinking this surely cannot be a farm location yet alone a cafe?
Oh how I was proved wrong, as I parked the car and turned the corner, ahead was literally a full field of allotments, which made me start to think this could actually be the correct location. As I moved closer not only was I more shocked by the sight of pigs, ducks, chickens and various other animals, I was pleasantly pleased to see a sign for the “cafe”. As i moved closer I thought surely this cannot be the place everyone goes on about, as the outside looks dirty, not inviting and is literally surrounded by farm life….. However this is the cafe, but how the exterior is masking such a small rustic place.
Upon opening the door you are greeted with a oddly designed room, with clear wooden tables with posters and flyers everywhere, advertising various local things. On first glance I was quite intimidated as the place was full of mothers with children screaming etc, but I found a small table near the door and took my seat. The first thing that I noticed was that there is no menus at all on the tables, infact no cutlery or anything. Looking around I noticed various black boards full of different lovely dishes which some I did not expect to see in such a place. The main board which I started to browse had such dishes as-
- Pumpkin, Black Bean & Goats Cheese Burrito, with herb Quinoa, Mixed Leaves, Roast Pepper and Chilli Salsa and Sour Cream
- Smoked Haddock Chowder, Served with Bread & Butter
Now considering the setting I was immediately expecting to see the standard fare you would expect, such as sandwiches, afternoon teas etc etc, however although sandwiches are made upon request these are not advertised and the seasonal changing menu is pushed to allow the local produced to be used. Now having had a quick scan I returned to my seat and awaited my friend to arrive, during this time you notice various farmers etc in muddy boots walking in for there hearty lunches of hot stew etc. You will also see some even carrying various baskets and bags carrying the very produce which soon will be our lovely lunches, this is such an impressive setup and truely is local people, providing local seasonal food. As you look around the room you will see fake tree like branches used as arching and plants etc which all help to give you a great feeling of the outdoors and the farm (although tacky, but it works).
When my friend arrived, we left out coats on our chairs to make sure our table was not taken as it was fully packed inside. All ordering takes place at the small counter which holds all sorts of lovely treats of cakes etc, with orders taken you are given a wooden numbered spoon with your table number. Within minutes your hot drinks are placed on the side and you are called up to collect. Having now returned to the table we both awaited our food which within 15minutes was served.
The food was served on clay plates which are all made local and have a real identity to them as the imperfections make for a great unique item. With the food served we quickly notice no cutlery was present, with the waiter noticing and stating it was up at the counter, this shows what sort of cafe this is. It is the rustic small cafe, serving good, filling and hearty food with no poshness or niceties needed as the workers move in and out.
Free Range Spicy Pork Burrito , with Rice, Cheddar Cheese, Salsa and Sour Cream. I was not expecting such a large portion of food as my hopes of a light lunch quickly faded away, I started to inspect my plate. First impression was certainly freshness with such an array of amazing colours which all helped to give this farm dish something special. Now hoping for a light lunch I moved the majority of the rice to one side as this would be the most filling item, and decided to leave this as the Burrito wrap would be enough starch I think. The salsa was great with a strong taste of coriander and combined with the sour cream worked great. The burrito itself was soft on top with the cheese generously melted, with the base being brilliantly crisp and giving a great texture to the dish. Inside the wrap hid a lovely and smooth Pork Chilli, packed with kidney beans which were cooked to give a good bite, overall it had good taste, but the pork didnt really come through. The main element of the spicy pork did not have any noticeable spice to me, and could have done with a good kick to really heighten the dish. This was truly a rustic filling dish though and eyeing up the fabulous looking cakes could only manage 3/4 of the burrito and few bites of rice.
Almond, Banana and Chocolate Cake.Now standing at the counter and choosing this delicious looking delicacy, I couldn’t believe as the young lady behind the counter cut such a huge! slice. Carrying it back I was happy to see the slice seemed to be packed full of nice chocolate chips and banana. The cake was unbelievable moist and dense, and certainly filling and something you would need after a good day on the farm. The taste of the chocolate certainly came through when a chocolate chip was in the bit of cake within the mouth, and the whole cake provided a great taste of banana. However the taste of almond was lacking, and with no sliced/whole almonds to be found im guessing a essence was used or ground, but this was not enough and couldn’t be tasted. Now forgetting the lack of almonds this was a great moist and tasty cake, really a stick to your ribs stodgy pud!
Value – My whole meal came to a great value total of £12 with a coffee and dessert, I think this is great value for such local produce. The cafe also pushes that they can make any dish for children and a cost reduction is applied to these dishes which is a great way to help a small family save some pennies. The value here is great with very big portions.
Overall – 7/10
This is a true showing of what can be done with a group of dedicated people providing such great service to the community, local produce and a true seasonal menu. I would love to give this a higher score and if I could score on ambiance and surroundings alone it would be higher. The food itself is good, filling and exactly what a farmer needs at the end of a long day, however some little things let it down such as the lack of kick in my “spicy chilli”. I think for a member of the public, looking for a good lunch, this would be perfect for a cold winters day for a hearty meal, but some of the tastes I think need to be boosted to give the plate something that little bit extra and added flavour.
This place would be great to go with the kids and watch the animals around the farm, and see where the food comes from. Then go for a good hot chocolate and a slice of cake!