Garden Kitchen Cafe, Hoveton Hall Gardens, restaurant review: “The whole experience is totally continental”
PUBLISHED: 12:43 14 June 2017 | UPDATED: 14:08 14 June 2017
Enjoy the magic of summer at Barn & Yard night at Hoveton Hall’s Garden Kitchen Cafe.
Every Friday night is Barn & Yard night at Hoveton Hall during the summer – the al fresco dining area transformed into an outdoor kitchen with a wood-fired pizza oven and grill.
The whole experience is totally continental – if the weather’s alright that is! When we popped by last week it was balmy and the combination of live music, dusky light and smoke whirling around us was intoxicating – romantic even (well it would have been if we didn’t have the kids with us).
To start guests tuck into a huge board of street food, inspired by various reaches of the globe. On the night we visited there was coppa, salami and cured ham dressed with soft, squishy proper olives and habas fritas (fried broad beans) which I couldn’t get enough of. Then there were well seasoned crunchy prawn tempura, skewers of chorizo and chicken finished on the grill, and extraordinarily tasty courgette fritters, which were more like freestyle bhajis, flavoured with garam masala. My husband detests courgettes but wolfed these down.
After, I couldn’t resist the flame grilled half a chicken marinated in fennel and chilli. You get a choice of sides and obviously I had to go for fries, and a garden salad (the healthy bit) as well as a pretty fiery but really flavoursome jalapeno salsa that had a real kick to it. The chicken was still moist and despite quite a good char on the outside, retained all those flavours of chilli and fennel. I liked the salad too which was extremely fresh and filled with little surprises – pickled veg and the odd olive.
Also tried was maple and bourbon pulled brisket in a brioche bun with fries – so tender and exploding with taste.
And the children did what kids do and had burgers, which they declared delicious.
Desserts are kept simple and consist mostly of sundaes made using Lakenham Creameries ice cream. These were pretty big, but we tried our best to chomp through them. One was a mountain of peanut ice cream, peanut butter and white chocolate and peanut blondie, the other was a choc fest with fudge brownies, and there was also an almond and orange cake with coconut mousse – fabulous!
It was quite magical really. The setting is within a red brick courtyard, where every nook and cranny has been planted with flowers. With candles flickering and music and wine flowing, it’s rustic but rather special. There’s a small play area nearby with swing ball for children – so families really can have a good time!
It was nice to see lots of local drinks on the menus. We had a Reepham Golden Panther beer and a jug of Norfolk strawberry and lime cordial (what a great idea –it was only £6.50 for a huge jug). I also couldn’t stop myself from having a mojito, which was absolutely perfect.
The service let the meal down a bit. We had to wait quite a while to get a drink and to order food, but it was the very first night of the season for them. Once they got into the swing of it the team were much more on the ball towards the end of the evening. It was nice to see one of the chefs outside cooking and bantering with visitors.
I think £25 for the amount and quality of food was great value – especially considering everything is sourced locally.
Close to Wroxham on the Hoveton Hall estate. It’s tucked out of the way and feels like you’re going on an adventure to get there.
There’s plenty right next to the café.
Although the food was great, I think it’s the atmosphere and setting that puts this place apart from anywhere else in Norfolk. It is an experience – and one everyone should try at least once this summer.
A family-friendly, fun concept done well by people who care about what they are cooking.
Find out more about Garden Kitchen Cafe here.
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