Food review: ‘A must for foodies’ - Is this the best place to grab a roast dinner?
- Credit: Archant
From its idyllic setting on the Norfolk and Suffolk border, Old Hall Farm, based just outside of Bungay, is said to serve the best roast dinners for miles. Reviewer Donna-Louise Bishop went to find out just how good they are.
To say I was excited about visiting this place is an understatement.
Almost everyone I'd mentioned Woodton-based Old Hall Farm to said the mouth-watering roast dinners, served up by owners Rebecca and Stuart Mayhew and their team, were a must.
After years in the planning, the couple opened the café last year, alongside a shop and butchers, in a bid to create their idea of a foody paradise by producing home grown produced and sourcing locally.
The Mayhew's serendipitous journey began three years ago following a stay with a friend in Scotland. Their friend had just started up a Jersey herd and the couple instantly fell in love with the animals. The rest, as they say, is history.
Now the farm is home to more than 20 cows which are fed almost exclusively on grass.
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This place has bucket fulls of delicious things to try, from the farm's own raw butter, raw milk and milkshakes to the high-recommended milk-fed pork and free range eggs.
The new café, which also incorporates the shop, is a restored building dating to the 1850s. Inside there 46 people can be seated, while a further 24 can be accommodated on the terrace which overlooks the recently planted vineyard, and fields of Jersey cows, chickens, goats and even an emu.
For a business which began two years ago as a self-service operation, the set up here is impressive to say the least.
And while many have complimented the "proper farmer's breakfast" or the sweet treats put on, it's the roast dinners which brought me and my family one busy Sunday lunchtime.
We had pre-booked, as advised by the farm itself, but unfortunately our reservation had disappeared. It was not a problem however and the friendly staff soon has us seated and settled.
We quickly ordered and as I was desperate to try the raw milk, priced at £1 for a glass.
The boys opted for milkshakes (£1.50 each) made to a classic gelato recipe, with the youngest one ordering chocolate flavour while the eldest went for vanilla. There was also the option of banana and strawberry too.
When the drinks arrived it was difficult to stop the boys slurping away for fear of them ruining their appetite. But even I struggle to pace myself as the flavour was so creamy and rich. Thankfully our roasts appeared quickly.
The children's portion, priced at a very reasonable £7, was an identical miniature version of our own (£12). Filled with a pork steak and crackling from the farm's own rare breed, roasted parsnips and carrots, cabbage, swede, roast potatoes, a ginormous Yorkshire pudding, stuffing and roast potatoes, it was a feast for the eyes.
Silence descended on the table as we all began to tuck in.
It was a pleasure to taste roasted carrots for a change (as well as have three extra servings of parsnips as I'm the only one in my family who likes them). The vegetables were fresh and flavoursome, the roasties had golden skin and fluffy insides, the Yorkshire pud and stuffing melted in the mouth, the pork was splendid, and the crackling was well seasoned and crispy.
One of the boys had ordered beef but changed his mind when they saw the pork, so my partner delighted in swapping half of his for the beef, which he described as "phenomenal and succulent" with a lovely flavour running through.
It was safe to say we had happy bellies by the end of the meal.
Stuffed and satisfied, we took a walk outside to see the Jersey cows and thank them for their milk. We were also treated to a glimpse of a pair of calves.
I would lightly recommend this place to anyone who wants a fresh and delicious meal at an inviting place which is just as good for couples as it is for families, even those with young children.
For more information visit the website .
Setting and ambience
Located between Poringland and Bungay, Old Hall Farm is easy enough to get to and is just off the B1332 Norwich Road.
Advised to pre-book ahead of our meal, the cafe was a hubbub of noise, activity and delicious smells when we arrived. The greeting from a variety of animals, including peacocks, goats and an emu, was a welcomed touch too as the boys were super excited to see them. Be warned though, the cafe is situated on a working farm so some wellies wouldn't go amiss if they were chucked in the boot of your car.
The staff were pleasant and attentive. Our food arrived quickly and we were well looked after throughout our meal.
A small list which includes the usual offerings you'd expect from a cafe menu with the addition of the exceptionally delicious and creamy jersey cow milk. There are also milkshakes made from the same milk on the menu and the flavours on our visit included vanilla, strawberry, chocolate and banana.
The car park is uneven ground and the shop which is situated as you walk into the restaurant isn't particularly roomy but there is enough space for wheelchair users, as well as a large disabled toilet. There was also food options for vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free eaters.
Clean and exceptionally roomy. Good baby changing facilities and good access for wheelchairs users.
There is plenty of room for parking but the ground is uneven.
Price and value for money
We thought the roast dinners were really well priced (adult £12, child £7). They are generously portioned and had everything you could ever want from a roast. We were absolutely spoilt with a generous amount of gravy and loads of meat, all completely worthy of the price tag. In total we spent £46.50 for a family of four, which included drinks.
The pork exceeded expectations but the crackling was divine and enjoyed by all of us. Despite the generous portion we could have easily crunched and munched our way through more.
A must for lovers of roast dinners and good wholesome grub.
Three great dishes to try...
1. Old Hall Farm pork served with the roast dinner - £12 for an adult £7 for a child.
2. A cooked breakfast which ranges from bacon and sausages rolls, to eggs Benedict or a farmer's breakfast - £3 to £9.50
3. Raw Jersey cow milk - £1 per glass
If you like this then try...
1. Nourish , Norwich - This is also famed for its great food and barely two months old it is quickly winning fans.
2. No.33 Cafe Bar , Exchange Street, Norwich - A roomy cafe with a brilliant range of cakes.
3. The Bell in Brisley , near Dereham - An award-winning establishment which is both pleasing to the eye as well as being known for serving up delicious dishes with fresh, locally sourced produce.
Our food reviews are always independent. They are the opinion of the reviewer based on their experience of the venue when they visited. The establishment is not aware of our visit, is not informed we intend to write a review and bills are paid by the reviewer. The choice of places reviewed is also independent and is not based on venues which do or do not advertise in our publications.