A F T E R S
aving a rather switched-on and energetic five-year-old for a nephew, pre-planned activities are a bit of a must when he comes to visit. So, having Windmill Hill City Farm a fiveminute walk away from my flat has come in pretty useful on several occasions. After checking out all the animals (the ducks get multiple visits each time – they’re a particular favourite, apparently), the greenhouse and the veg patches, I get to have my treat. (Lunch in the café, in case that wasn’t clear.) Having undergone some substantial work earlier this year, the dining area reopened recently, with much more indoor seating and a new little retail section, where it sells everything from eggs (which come from the farm’s chickens) to seasonal veg (also from the farm) and homemade condiments. When we last went along, there was many a jar of pickled cucumber on the shelves, the kitchen having made good use of the seasonal glut they were harvesting. There are also wares from other small, carefully chosen producers, including fresh bread and organic dairy. The offering at the caff is concise and family friendly. Breakfasts and sarnies sit alongside a seasonal soup and stew on the blackboard, with options for both kids and adults. No fish fingers or burgers in sight. The team are great at accommodating the kids and their culinary peculiarities, too – because what five-year-old could possibly eat a cheese sandwich without a sausage on the side? (Legit previous order, there.) The counter is well-stocked too, with salads, a frittata of the day, Scotch eggs, homemade sausage rolls et al. There are a number of freshly baked cakes on display too, which we can rarely avoid going back for after lunch. Of course, many of the ingredients used in the kitchen are grown and reared on the farm, but these need to be supplemented – there are only so many eggs you can lay in a day, as the hens will tell you. What is bought in adheres to the same principles as that of the farm: bacon comes from Sandridge Farm in Wiltshire, for instance, and those extra eggs come from happy, local, free-range hens (the ones from the farm are sold, as opposed to used in the kitchen).
( F A B F A M I LY C A F É S )
WINDMILL HILL CITY FARM CAFÉ DON’T TELL HER NEPHEW, BUT WHILE HE WAS AT SCHOOL, JESSICA CARTER VISITED HIS MUCH-LOVED CITY FARM WITHOUT HIM... Breakfast was the order of the day at my most recent visit, which was sans fiveyear-old. This time, I was the child instead, with Mrs C in tow. The City Farmer (£7.95 for adults) is the café’s own version of a full English. That Sandridge bacon was thick cut and wellcooked, and the sausages lean and wellseasoned. The fried eggs had wonderfully sunny orange yolks, and the mushrooms were served plump and with bite. Baked beans, grilled tommies and rich, meaty spinach (the latter two having been grown on the farm) give the brekkie some fivea-day value, too. Everything was very clearly fresh and carefully cooked; it hit the spot, basically. There was a City Grower too (£7.50 for adults), which is the veggie version. On this
plate, the meat was substituted for a couple of good-quality veggie sausages. Some of those homemade condiments are available for café diners to make use of, too – so I forwent the brown sauce in favour of hot chilli jam, which contained the farm’s own birds eye chillies. There was sweetness and spice all in good measure. It just happens that Windmill Hill City Farm celebrated its 40th birthday last year – a notable achievement for a charity-run outfit – and remains a great place to tire out the kids. Happily, it’s also pretty good for refuelling all of you afterwards.
Windmill Hill City Farm Café, Philip Street, Bristol BS3 4EA; 0117 963 3252; windmillhillcityfarm.org.uk
Published on Sep 29, 2017