The Old Dairy cafe, Bower Hinton
Oh goodie! A brand new farm-based cafe in Somerset with great coffee and laid back nosh, all homemade using (very) locally produced ingredients.
On a veg and strawberry farm in Bower Hinton, a village not far from Martock and South Petherton, and just off the A303 – follow the hand-painted signs. It’s a working farm, with assorted farm equipment and gubbins lying round about and a small selection of fresh veg grown on this farm and others nearby for sale (I snaffled up some excellent cavelo nero).
No nonsense, converted farm building with rough hewn counter and open kitchen, white-washed walls and a ceiling open to rafters decorated with fairy lights.
Simple plank tables and modern chairs, a squashy sofa, blackboards with lists of drinks, ice creams and specials plus colouring stuff for younger kids to play with. WiFi. The fresh daffs are a nice touch.
Emily Hilton has been running her successful catering business My Kitchen at the farm for years and it seemed a logical decision to open a cafe on the same site. The Old Dairy cafe may only have been open for a couple of months but it’s already creating a bit of a local buzz and was packed when we were there.
SCOFF & QUAFF
Currently open during the day for coffee and cake, all-day brunches, lunches and light meals, with occasional supper evenings and more to come. The menu is primarily trad with a twist and street-food inspired dishes, so you get faves like a fry ups, smoked salmon and scrambled egg, egg and sausage/bacon sarnies alongside farm veg laksa, an Indian snack board, salt beef deli sandwich and burgers with sweet potato fries. All of it’s homemade and you can see the chefs at work in the kitchen.
Using local, ethically produced produce is central to Emily’s ethos – so free-range eggs, pork, chicken and other meats like Lower Burrow Farm beef, Holy Cow organic milk – with a long list of suppliers available for you to peruse.
So what did we have? Not just the Millennials’ favourite it turns out: smashed avocado, poached eggs and sweetly roasted toms atop thick slices of multi-seed toast and dusted with chilli and sea salt for added zing.
Tandoori chicken flatbread, a wrap filled with chicken, yoghurt and mint oil, salad, seasonal slaw and chilli/pineapple chutney and poppadoms.
Emily’s take on some classic Indian snacks was a piece of slate loaded with tasty leek bhajis, cauliflower pakora, pea and kale samosa, raita with mint oil and the chutney, salad garnish and poppadoms.
There are handmade ice creams (nice), cakes and desserts. There’s a kids menu but I forgot to have a look (oops).
You could come every day for a month and not have the same drink twice, with everything from great coffee (local Brazier roasted beans), Clipper and Teapig teas and Zuma fairtrade hot choc to mulled juices and fermented kombucha – again, super local, Curiously Kombucha (I had cucumber, mint and lime – delish) – well as naughty Coca Cola.
THE MUDDY VERDICT
Good for: Meeting with your mates, family and friends for good, locally produced coffee, cakes and nosh. There’s Wifi! Gluten-free and vegan options. Child and dog-friendly too (but you’d need to keep an eye on both as it is a working farm) and easy, if a little muddy, parking. I’d book if I were you – it’s popular!
Not for: Kids who need to burn off energy as there’s no safe outdoor at the mo. Anyone who wants to eat after 3pm. At the moment opening hours are Mon to Sat 10am – 3pm but they they run occasional suppers; the upcoming Persian-inspired Valentine’s Day feast sounds good.
The damage: Cheap as (sweet potato) chips. Between £7.95 to £11.95 for most meals.
Bower Hinton Farm, Back Lane, Martock TA12 6LH. Tel 07801 639937. theolddairycafe.uk