This is my 30th lunch report: so far I have given you posh restaurants, chips on the beach, a supermarket, and just one totally gruesome place that remained nameless! So where now?
A farm shop! This is (reputedly) the best, and it’s near where I live and I have been told about it over and over again – but never been. From the outside it’s a large silver-grey building which can almost be seen from the A140 just south of Long Stratton. Oh! but inside!!! As Howard Carter said - peering into the Tomb of Tutankhamen - ‘Yes, wonderful things’.
We had gone there to eat – of course – but had to inspect the tempting retail goods on offer first. Delicatessen cheeses and meats, and gourmet ready-meals; epicurean loose teas, and oils, vinegars and dressings (take your own bottle for a refill); homemade cakes and biscuits, and veg of course... oh you get the picture. And it’s so big!
And so to eat: we had reserved a table, but as there were about 20 pine tables in the spacious Food Hall booking may have been unnecessary. Lunch options were chalked up on boards including all-day breakfasts, and various baguettes for about £6.50. There was a ‘Today’s specials’ board from which we chose Pork Curry with rice and garlic bread, quiche with chips and salad for me. Evidently the quiche came in three different varieties; with Feta and Olives, Quiche Lorraine, and a cheese and tomato one; also I could choose hot or cold. I chose hot. They sell wine by the glass, and the cost of a ‘Large’ one was a reasonable £4.20.
Once seated we didn’t have to wait long for the food to be brought; it looked splendid but my portion of quiche looked as if half of it had dropped off, and I mentioned this to Lara – our waitress – who trudged back and forth the length of the dining room to the kitchen to ascertain if I wanted (a) another bit, (b) hot or cold and (c) would I accept a different filling as the cheese and onion one had expired. ‘Yes, hot, and the one with olives’ secured me not just a top-up but a whole nother piece at no extra charge, and done willingly.
My friend with the curry, meanwhile, pronounced it a decent level of spiciness for ladies; just right and plenty of it. Mango chutney was sourced (sorry!) to accompany it. We had already seen and inspected the puddings; there were at least a dozen cake-type slices to choose from, and sizeable portions at about £2. Also banana splits, and meringue delights. We chose one Chocolate Brownie and one Maple and Pecan Slice (both very tasty and big enough), and coffee: when I mentioned I took mine black she returned to the coffee pot and filled me up to the top! I do sometimes feel a bit cheated by the three-quarters-of-a-cup effect that you get with black coffee and this was literally the first time anyone has ever done that. Thanks very much Lara. The service here is bright, quick and cheerful; the place is clean and tidy, and the loos are very spacious and there is one for disabled. Access to all areas is good for disabled.
I really like this place and will return to do some serious shopping in the delicatessen part of the shop, then try another one of those cake slices.
Two mains from ‘today’s specials’ £15.00
Two glasses of wine £ 8.40
Puddings and coffee £ 5.50
TOTAL £28.90 609 words (including the address)
Goodies Farm Shop
French’s Farm, Wood Lane, Pulham Market, Norfolk IP21 4XU
Phone: 01379 676880