If you open a farm shop, or virtual any rural business, these days you need to have a café. When Roaming Roosters opened, they didn't mess around. They opened the Olde Spot Bistro, which is without doubt one of the busiest restaurants I've seen in a long time. Vast numbers are attracted by a no-nonsense menu of local produce, cooked in a straightforward, almost homely manner, but above all - and this is what is particularly notable - cooked with genuine feeling and no little skill.
Roaming Roosters is primarily a butchers, with chickens and pigs reared on-site: if you go to the toilets, at the end of the corridor a (locked) door provides a viewing platform on to the next generation of roast chicken and bacon.
|Chicks not yet ready to go outside|
As it's owned by livestock farmers, the menu is consequently meat heavy, but with a coy "don't tell the boys next door" fish section and a couple of token vegetarian dishes. The style tends to the homely and familiar, with a bit of a hint of the sort of dishes you last saw at a 1980s dinner party, but none of this is in a bad way.
Our starters included a really rather good prawn cocktail. Prawn cocktail has made something of a comeback in recent years, but generally in an ironic or deconstructed mode. Here it's unashamedly un-deconstructed, and in a large portion, complete with hunks of good bread. My only criticism would be the use of pre-pack butter portions, which (however many of them you're given) always look mean and are a waste of packaging - both things which really seem to be out of synch with the way Roaming Roosters and the Olde Spot Bistro operate. Odd.
|Creamy garlic mushrooms|
|No problem getting a properly rare burger here|
A rib eye steak was a little thin for my tastes, but that's a factor of the size of the original beast and cutting the steaks to a price point. It was, however, very good steak (as you'd expect having a butcher's attached) and cooked exactly as requested.
|Rib eye steak|
|Belly pork, fried I think. Looks like a tomato or red pepper sauce?|
There is a brief dessert section on the main menu, but this is supplemented with lots of special desserts on the blackboard. Desserts are very much in comfort food mode too: large, filling, calorific and traditional. The star for me is the really terrific jam roly poly pudding: excellent roly pudding, lots of jam and it all comes in a lake of custard. Satisfied-sigh-inducing stuff.
|Jam roly poly|
|Bread & butter pudding with a whisky glaze|