May 21 2013 Latest news:
Monday, August 1, 2011
Recently praised as one of her favourite eating places by Delia Smith no less, Wiveton Farm Café is the epitome of field-to-fork. COLIN WILSON visits one of his personal favourites in North Norfolk.
With views across the marshes to the sea in the distance, on a summer’s day there is no better place for lunch than Wiveton Farm Café.
With its multi-coloured tables and chairs strewn amongst the dappled shade of the trees, or lapping up the sunshine, alternatively if the weather is not on side, then snuggled indoors against the elements, this establishment really does demonstrate “field-to-fork” at its best.
Visiting on a Saturday lunchtime, without a reservation (but which I would strongly recommend you to do), we found a table with enough sun and shade to keep us both happy, kicked back and took in the surroundings.
Set in the grounds of Wiverton Hall and the “pick your own” Farm, we only discovered the Café last summer, having trundled past the road-side stall selling their own fruit and vegetables many times as we passed through to Blakeney – but what a find it’s been.
Freshly-cooked local produce is on offer every lunchtime and after dithering over the daily-changing blackboard selection we finally made our decisions.
Foregoing the delicious sounding starters, which included Weybourne Crab Bisque or Wiveton Garden Vegetable Soup, to allow space for a dessert, we chose a French Onion, Black Olive and Basil Tart, served with a selection of salads and Hot Honey and Mustard-glazed Ham with spinach, new potatoes, beetroot and poached egg, washed down with a Yetmans beer, brewed nearby in Holt, and a glass of their own Wiveton Elderflower cordial – all were superb.
These came out on top by a whisker when it came to making up our minds, as we were swayed by a Weybourne Crab Salad, Basil and Chive Pancakes filled with spinach and ricotta baked in cream and parmesan, or the fabulous Wiveton Salad – a concoction of their own carefully prepared salads including beans, pulses, leaves and grated vegetables – which can also be recommended from previous experience.
As we had purposely missed the starters to make room for a dessert it would have been remiss of us not to indulge, so we selected both the Gooseberry Fool and the Meringue with strawberries, raspberries and whipped cream, both very worthy winners, whilst passing-by the delicious-sounding vanilla pannacotta with strawberries, the summer pudding and the raspberry jelly with
raspberries and cream, which would have no doubt been equally worthy of the prize.
Wiveton Farm Café is licensed and offers wine by the bottle or glass, bottled beers and ciders, plus an array of soft drinks including their own Wiveton elderflower and lemon cordials, served by the glass or jug, plus a selection of hot drinks.
There’s a separate children’s menu, or the chance to order a smaller portion of anything from the daily specials, to ensure that everyone is catered for.
The café opens from 9.30am, serving breakfast to 11am, as well as afternoon tea, with homemade scones and meringues, with their own fruit (plus cream of course), alongside a selection of eye-catching cakes, from 3-4.30pm.
Ever-popular Tapas evenings, which have been strongly recommended to us, with a delicious sounding pick and mix menu, have been extended to include Thursday, Friday and Saturdays, from 6.30pm.
From the discussions we heard, bookings are necessary as they seem to be very popular, and are definitely on our radar to return for.
The ever-changing menu becomes even clearer when you visit the adjacent farm shop, or go off into the fields to pick your own – on our visit a wealth of strawberries, raspberries and gooseberries were making their way into the punnets of pickers, with fresh beetroot, artichokes and broad beans for sale in the shop.
Our total bill, including main course, dessert and drinks came to £40, and as we left Wiveton Farm on this glorious sunny day, we took with us not only very full tummies from a great lunch, but our own handpicked punnet of raspberries to enjoy that evening when we got home – and you can’t get fresher than that – they were great!
WIVETON HALL CAFÉ AND FARM
A149 midway between Blakeney and Cley
Open: Every day through the summer months, for breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea, from 9.30am-4.30pm
Vegetarian options: Lots
Wheelchair access: Yes
As the gates to the Royal Hospital Gardens at Chelsea opened to the world’s media yesterday, with a frenzy of activity as photographers and camera crews vied for the best vantage points, there was also a very palpable sense of relief among the hundreds of nurserymen and women who have come to exhibit their prize horticultural specimens that their stands were complete and looking their very best.