Hanbury Hall Espresso

I stopped off at Hanbury Hall, a National Trust property for a break during travelling. The house was lovely, but afterwards I headed to the stable for a coffee. I went with a double espresso. It was nice and I enjoyed it.

Katsu Fish Finger Bap

I stopped off at Baddesley Clinton Hall a National Trust property in Warwickshire, partly to see the house and gardens, and partly to have lunch.

I had planned to have some soup, but looking over the menu, I decided I would have the Katsu Fish Finger Bap. I placed my order, picked up my coffee and headed to sit down.

A little later the Katsu Fish Finger Bap arrived. It was a seeded bap with three fish fingers, lettuce, pickled slaw, and some Katsu sauce. It was served with lettuce and slaw on the side.

It did look rather nice. The flavours were excellent. I did think that the fish fingers could have been a lot crisper, then were a little soft. I also think it could have had a little more Katsu sauce as well.

Overall it was a nice snack for lunch.

Oh dear, gone downhill somewhat…

Back in February 2008 I wrote a glowing review of the National Trust Heelis Cafe in Swindon next door to the shopping outlet.

Compared to the food offerings in the shopping outlet, if you are out Swindon way, pop over to the National Trust cafe and enjoy a delicious meal in peaceful and pleasant environment.

We visited the cafe again today and was, well let’s just say the quality has done downhill somewhat in some areas.

There were no childrens’ boxes available at the time of ordering, so rather than wait we ordered the children two sausage baps. The sausages were slightly overdone (probably under the hot lamp for too long) and the baps, well one was toasted and slightly burnt, the other wasn’t even toasted! Why? No idea.

My other half went with the Fidget Pie, well it was a pasty, that came with salad and roast potatoes, no not sure of that combination myself to he honest, it’s not as though we were given a choice. The salad was fine, but the pasty was a little short on filling so consisted mainly of pastry.

I went for a traditional roast beef dinner. At £7.50 I expected to get an excellent home cooked roast beef dinner… well I didn’t.

Yes the potatoes were home roasted, and were roasted and not deep-fried as is often the case in some restaurants, pubs and cafes. The carrots were fine, but the brocolli was limp, having spent too much time under a heat lamp. The beef was a real disappointment, wafer thin slices of cooked beef that had been re-heated in gravy. This is something that cheap catering does, and not something I expected from the  Heelis Cafe. The Yorkshire Pudding looked and tasted like it was heated up in the microwave and to be honest I did wonder if the meal was from the day before (as we did order early at midday) and had just been microwaved. I was expecting a proper carvery and proper slices of roast beef, not the equivalent of a £3.99 meal from a supermarket cafe.

Overall having spent nearly £30 at the cafe I was very very disappointed.

Maybe I should have complained, but it’s not as though anything was wrong, it was just that the quality was nowhere near what I have had in the past from the cafe. I am guessing that they have a new chef. They appeared to also have stock problems, as they had no salmon and no flan either; remember they only have a few things on the menu.

As a result I will probably not visit again, or if I do I would check the menu more carefully before ordering.

National Trust Cafe

I had an excellent meal yesterday at the National Trust cafe in Swindon (next door to the STEAM museum and the Swindon shopping outlet). It’s part of their headquarters.

National Trust Headquarters, Swindon

I ordered the pork chop with tomatoes and mushrooms served with vegetables and seasonal potatoes.

The chop (which was boned or boneless) was grilled to perfection, too often with this kind of dish you find some cafes cook it in advance and keep it warm which usually means that the pork dries out and is very tough. This pork chop was full of flavour, tender and delicious. The chop was covered with a chunky sauce made form tomatoes and mushrooms which was well flavoured and for me perfectly seasoned (which means it wasn’t salty).

The vegetables were okay, the carrots tasted as though they were cooked from fresh, but I have a suspicion that the peas and sweetcorn were cooked from frozen (which isn’t surprising and they tasted fine).

The potatoes were roasted new potatoes which were well cooked and very tasty.

My other half went for the red pepper flan (okay read quiche) which was served warm with potatoes and salad. She said the flan was really nice, I was almost too focussed on my pork to ask her for a taste.

For afters I had the treacle tart, too often these can be over sweet, but this was just right in terms of sweetness, but I did find the pastry somewhat tough.

The pork chop dish was very reasonable at £5.95, the flan was only £4.95. I did think the treacle tart was sightly overpriced at £3.25 (especially as other cakes were only £1.50). However overall it certainly was value for money.

Compared to the food offerings in the shopping outlet, if you are out Swindon way, pop over to the National Trust cafe and enjoy a delicious meal in peaceful and pleasant environment.