IF you’ve not been to the Hawarden Estate Farm Shop you’re missing out on a very individual culinary experience.
The food hall is a proper Aladdin’s Cave for the discernable diner with everything from fresh fruit and vegetables grown on surrounding farm, unbeatable asparagus, freshly handmade cakes and chocolate, chutneys, relishes, jams, juices made from estate-grown fruit and cheeses from the best artisan cheesemongers.
And all this before you get to the deli counter and traditional butcher.
Every time I’ve been there it’s been for a flying visit but this time I had a bit of spare time and a hungry toddler to entertain (there’s a brilliant playground too) so we decided to stop and try the Farm Shop’s cafe with the reasoning that if the shop’s food tastes good so must the cafe’s!
The café itself is a lively, welcoming hub that serves warming breakfasts, delicious light lunches, and tea with scones and cake. Breakfasts, sandwiches and snacks are freshly made or cooked to order, while over at the deli-counter you’ll find the cafe’s famous monster sausage rolls and pies which are created in-house at the deli.
The bread is made the night before in a local bakery and delivered each morning and in the summer months, the café spills outside, the barbecue is fired up and they serve home-made lemonade and local ice cream. Better still, there’s even free wifi.
For a cafe the lunch time menus is extensive with everything from steak sandwiches and Welsh rarebit to sausages and mash and seasonal frittata with cumin roasted heritage carrot and sweet potato.
There’s a kid’s menu too and just £4 gets you a soft roll with a choice of fillings or half a sausage roll, served with crisps, a biscuit and a drink. My four-year-old went for a ham roll and even managed to eat it first before grabbing the biscuit.
Feeling slightly more sophisticated I went for the salmon salad which was ‘citrus marinated’ and came with baby gem, croûtes, parmesan, mint, radish and spring onion.
I thought £10 was a bit steep for salad but when it arrived it was enormous.
The parmesan and mint really gave it a zest and the spiciness of the radish gave it a pleasing kick but what was really noticeable was the fresh taste of the salad which could have come straight from the surrounding fields for all I knew.
We finished off with an 8oz pot of ice cream (£3) each with my daughter absolutely loving her topping of broken brownie while my delicious choice of mixed nuts and honey fooled me into thinking I was somehow making my ice cream healthier.
By the time we’d finished the cafe was packed with all ages from mums taking their kids for a half-term treat to pensioners having a good natter over a pot of tea. We could have stayed all day if wasn’t for that playground...
How it rated:
Food quality: 9/10
Children welcome - yes
Disabled access - yes