Tag Archives: Cafe

St Werburghs City Farm Cafe – Bristol – Restaurant Review

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!

Pizza Cafe – Newton Abbot – Devon – Review

Having read about “Pizza Cafe” based in Newton Abbot (Devon) several times, throughout many different local food providers, it has been a place that has been on my list to review for a while.

Any establishment I feel that cares and takes pride in the fact, that it goes that little bit extra and shows willingness to find and source the most local produce it can, is a great way to show what a quality establishment it is.  On the Pizza Cafe website it is full of mentions of different suppliers from where they source Dairy to where their smoked salmon is sort from.

The pizza cafe does not seem like your regular local pizza eatery, from there website they pride them selves on quality, and take pride in that they are a family business, which also sponsor many different charities/appeals such as the “Helen Foundation”.  The restaurant is located on the main street of Newton Abbot, but luckily in the part which has parking local to it, and even directly outside.  The building is painted in not the brightest of colours, however the pizza cafe logo is enough to make it standout.

Upon entering the establishment you are presented with a light and airy dining area, with nice wooden tables and laid out well.  We were greeted by a young waitress, who showed us to a table.  The waitresses here are all quite young and dressed in smart black shirts and trousers, and are well suited to the restaurant.  Upon being seated we were then shown the menus and drinks were ordered.

Looking through the menu, I was immediately surprised at the size and some of the dishes here.  Most of the normal pizza place fare is on offer, however some very different things such as “Prawn and Crayfish Salad”, “Peking Duck Wrap” and “Moroccan Tagine”, there are many different elements of the menu with Jacket Potatoes, Pasta, Wraps, Tex Mex, Salad and a host of different starters and then on top of this the Pizza selection, it really is a vast menu.

Having scanned through we decided to go for a starter of “The Pizza Cafe Combo”, followed by a “Big Trouble in Little China – Snack Pizza – Plum Sauce, peking duck, spring onions and pineapple” and a “Porky’s – Sanck Pizza – Westcountry pineapple and onion chutney, slow roasted westcountry pork, caramelised onions, crispy bacon, chorizo and fire roasted yellow peppers” with the idea on splitting each pizza and sharing.  My choice immediately was the “Porky” having such local produce on offer, and from the wording on the menu they make the pizza sound like a work of art.  With my mouth water just at the thought of what was to come.

They offer 3 different sizes here 7” (Snack), 9” Regular, 12” Large.  These sizes are good however it would be good to have a size board on the wall somewhere, just to give customers an idea of size of what they are ordering.  Being an engineer by day I had a good idea of the size and 7” seemed good, however the table next to us at the time ordered regulars each and half of these were taken away in pizza boxes.  However this is a good time to note that you are allowed and encouraged by staff to take home doggy bags etc, this should be shown more willingness to do in restaurants and is a good thing.

The restaurant at the time of entering was quite empty with only 3 tables taken, however by the time our food arrived, within about 15minutes the restaurant was now full with the exception of around 4 tables, which is impressive for a Monday night.  This shows the popularity of the place.

The first dish arrived, which we immediately divided between us and ill break the dish down here.  The chicken wings, were beautifully cooked and spiced well with a small after taste of heat, the chicken was really succulent and tasty.  The Criss Cross fries, had a great flavour and had a small hint of cheese, they were not crispy however had some small pieces which the taste was amazing (Crispy Bits).  Onion Rings, these were pretty standard and im not sure if 100% fresh but again your standard fare on this one, but good non the less.  The only real let down of dish for me was the potato skins which were just as describe, skins with about 4mm of potato, and nothing else as the menu stated, however I feel a small bit of melted cheese of maybe abit of tomato added would give these the edge.  My sharing partner however thought they were perfect and just used alot of dip. The dips added well to the whole event with the BBQ being sweet and not a spicy sauce by any means, however good flavour and quite a musky aftertaste.  The Garlic Mayo, was great and really thick, not watery and had a strong garlic taste, needless to say I quickly stole this pot to myself.

Now onto the Pizza’s

“Big Trouble in Little China”

The pizza arrived and I was very pleased we ordered the 7” versions.  Immediately I was impressed how the pizza based was nice and thick around the edges, but surprisingly the centre of the disk was incredibly thin and had a good crisp bottom.  The filling was certainly PACKED full, and the plum sauce was very sweet and not the traditional chinese, however it worked very well with the base.  The duck was incredible, and if I didnt know better this was from a chinese shop somewhere, the skin was so crisp and crunched in the mouth.  The spring onions had a good slight crisp, and the pineapple added a good sweet element but all this was all brought down to earth with the good base and deep taste of chinese duck.

(Camera decided to Corrupt this, Will get on next visit and update).

“Porky”

Now first I have to try and just describe the smell form this, it was a cross of amazingly crisp pork, mixed with the sweet smell of sugar coated onions and sweet cooked pineapple.  Again the base was well risen around the edges and had even more filling on top than the previous, with the base coated with what must be spoons full of chutney.  The chutney which was incredibly sweet and moorish was the star of the pizza, and I will certainly be asking them for where they source this from in Devon as it was AMAZING!.  The chorizo added a new element to the pizza with a strong taste but mixed so well with the pork and cheese topping.  Overall I could describe very moist, succulent and crispy parts of different pork elements, but I am so far just making my Mouth Water again.  Overall this has to be one my top pizza’s ive had and has even taken the place of which once was the top of the list “Domino’s BBQ Texas pizza”, but this is the new favourite.  The locally sourced and quality of ingredients really did show on this, and I really cant describe how nice it was.

By the time I had eaten above I was needless to say stuffed, and just couldnt eat anymore if I wanted to.  I had my heart set on the amazing “Sin City – Folded sweet pizza with nutella and mascapone, served with vanilla and chocolate ice cream”, however I just couldnt and will need to save this for my next visit.

The service here on this evening was brilliant the waitresses are polite, charming and do their jobs well and dress for a small restaurant very well, and is where the restaurant shines with good personal service.

Overall – 8/10

This is the first meal in a while which has not been at a fine dining establishment, and for once it is a nice change to see a menu which has good hearty food without foams/mouses/foie Gras (Even though I love it so!).  This was a brilliant meal with some truly great local food, the service was great and shows what a good small establishment can do.

The bill came to a respectable £31.00 with drinks 2 Starters, 2 Snack pizzas and a Regular Pizza (Not mentioned about as was not allowed to sample these), this was without service and I payed £36.00 believing that this was very much deserved.

I will definitely be returning to this restaurant, and in a way im glad my camera decided to corrupt the photo as its a great excuse to return quickly.  The only criticism of the evening being the small disappointed with the potato skins but this is nothing to go on about and overall was a great dish.

Look forward to returning.