Ambience - 8/10
Service - 9/10
Food quality - 9/10
Children welcome - yes
Disabled access - yes
THERE are few things I enjoy more in autumn then a bracing walk followed by some hearty food and some decent beer.
Thankfully you can get all three at Loggerheads Country Park in the form of the park’s brilliant cafe, Caffi Florence, where my wife and I found ourselves last Sunday after persuading the kids that some fresh air was preferable to watching another episode of Paw Patrol.
The country park and the cafe sits below the dramatic limestone cliffs of the Alyn Valley, where the river enters steep wooded gorges and open and secluded grasslands. It’s a beautiful setting for this cosy eatery which is run as a workers’ co-operative where the employees contribute towards the running of the business.
Caffi Florence make much out of how their food is locally sourced and made on the premises, with even the bread baked freshly each morning.
The place was packed with walkers and families when we walked in, with only one table free and we instantly recognised some friends who lived nearby and told us they come every Sunday. It’s hard to ignore a recommendation like that and we were soon eagerly awaiting our orders, which you make after queuing at the counter.
The lunch menu is dominated by sandwiches and soup, but with homemade bread and Welsh cheddar among the attractions it’s far from boring. My wife went for a toasted sandwich with Welsh feta and oven-dried tomatoes, with a basil and walnut pesto and added the soup of the day, which was spicy Thai coconut (£8.50).
With the autumn chill still in my bones, I glanced at the specials board and noticed the liver and onion gravy served with mash potato sounded particuarly warming (£6.95).
The chance to sample a can of Hafod Brewery’s Dark Times black ale (£1.95) only made it more appealing and with my wife able to order a glass of shiraz (£4) and the kids happy with their mini English breakfast (£3.95), mixed beans on toast (£1.95) and glasses of milk (85p each) we settled in for a suprisingly relaxed lunch.
With the cafe so packed we were expecting a bit of a wait but our food came after 10 minutes.
It was hard to fault anything: my wife said the sandwhich was one of the nicest she’d had in a long time and after tasting the soup, I can confirm it was fantastic and perfect for a cold day.
The liver, which is so easy to overcook, was perfect and the gravy was packed full of flavour. Even better was the chance to smother it in Caffi Florence’s brown sauce, which the waitress informed me was, like their jams, chutneys, ketchup, all homemade.
Quite how my other liver will fare after having my first taste of one of Hafod’s beers and deciding I need to have more is another matter entirely, but this was a fantastic, simple meal in a beautiful setting. Who could ask for more?