Happenstance…something that happens by chance bringing about a good result. This isn’t a word I use on a regular basis but it describes perfectly my visit to Back to the Garden, a farm shop, café and restaurant in Letheringsett, near Holt. My husband Paulo and I were on our way to Holt and Back to the Garden’s clean, modern signage from the A148 caught my eye. I have a penchant for visiting farm shops so we decided to stop and have a look.
I was immediately impressed by the majestic barn and its double-height windows set against traditional barn doors, which give the illusion of being flung open.
Everything about the building said “come on in”. You can’t get a better welcome than that.
The inside of the barn boasts exposed brick walls and beam ceilings. All sections are well laid out and organised, which encourages browsing. The restaurant is separated by a half wall, which lets in even more light. A stunning wheel-shaped pendant lamp hangs over the eating area.
One look at the welcoming restaurant and its appetising menu and I knew this was somewhere I wanted to stay!
We had dinner plans that evening so we reluctantly declined the substantial Sunday Lunch menu and we were able to order from the regular menu. We couldn’t help but notice the Sunday Lunch items being served to nearby tables and the beef, pork and lamb dishes were beautifully presented and looked delicious. We will definitely be returning!
The drinks menu included several organic options. Paulo’s Christopher Hald organic German lager and my lightly sparkling elderflower drink from Whole Earth were a fresh and natural way to start off the meal.
It was difficult to choose a sandwich as they all seemed so tantalising. I settled on an organic hard-boiled egg and cress sandwich on fresh granary bread. The pepper and mustard flavours in the mayonnaise complemented the egg beautifully. The little bowl of gourmet crisps was a nice touch.
Paulo ordered a poppy seed bagel with Cley smoked salmon, cream cheese, pickled cucumber and honey mustard dressing. I thought he was being adventurous as the pairing of cream cheese and pickled cucumber sounded a bit odd to me but this all went together quite naturally. The plump and juicy caper berries served on the side added a bit more zest.
Desserts were from the Sunday Lunch menu so these were quite special. Paulo had the chocolate and cherry brandy truffle cake with praline and vanilla ice cream and found it rich and satisfying.
My dessert was the iced honey parfait topped with winter berry compote and served with a tuille biscuit. It wasn’t as filling but the flavours complemented each other quite nicely. The strong, intense taste of the dark berries balanced out the sweetness of the honey and biscuit.
After our wonderful lunch, we browsed through the farm shop. I struck up a conversation with Ben, the super friendly butcher who is quite the food expert. The rare breed pork caught my eye and he explained that their pork comes from a local farmer, only 7 miles away. We were staying overnight at a hotel so we couldn’t buy any that day but Ben spoke so passionately about the meat on offer, we returned the following day. The pork tenderloin was cut fresh from the pig and we also picked up some treacle and smoked bacon as well as a lovely fillet steak. Ben was even kind enough to provide us with an ice pack for the long drive back to Cambridge. With such beautiful cuts of meat, we are certainly looking forward to our next few meals!
So there you have it. An unexpected turn off the A148 resulted in a memorable visit, complete with a delicious lunch and the discovery of new local fare. Now that’s pure happenstance!
The owners, managers or staff did not invite me to visit this establishment and were unaware that my experience would be the basis of a written review. It is based on my experience at my own cost and I did not receive compensation for my review.
Unless otherwise noted, I am the legal copyright holder of the content and images on this blog. Please contact me for permission if you wish to use, reprint or publish any material.