Last weekend we spent a sunny two days at Brook Farm in Berrington, on the Shropshire/Worcestershire border, a B&B we've stayed before and is now our go-to place for a relaxing break. Ludlow is very close and one of the best foodie spots in the country, when planning our return visit we were excited to learn the excellent Ludlow Food Centre had opened a restaurant, the Ludlow Kitchen.
We booked for afternoon tea on a Sunday afternoon weeks in advance and I was very impatient for it by the time the day arrived. For just £8.50 you get three different sandwiches, four mini cake slices, a fruit scone, clotted cream and as much loose leaf tea as you can manage.
The great thing about the Ludlow Kitchen is that most, if not all, of the produce that goes in to their food is made on site or very local - they bake their own bread, smoke their own salmon, cure their own ham and of course make their own cakes and scones. They even roast their own coffee beans and the tea is blended by a local Herefordshire company. As if that wasn't enough they grow fruit and vegetables in their own walled garden and the jam is made on site too. Suddenly that £8.50 seems ten times better value!
The sandwiches were really impressive, usually they are the most neglected part of an afternoon tea in terms of creativity but not here. The bread was fresh wholemeal and there were three fillings each with salad leaves - cheese and pickle; smoked salmon, cucumber and pickled onion and ham and piccalilli. I particularly liked the salmon and the pickled onion was amazing with the rich salmon and the thinly sliced cucumber. We bought a jar of piccalilli from the food centre, it's great stuff - crunchy chunky vegetables with a good hit of mustard.
One of the cakes was the traditional Victoria sponge, which tasted like the birthday cakes I ate as a child - this is a good thing! It was a lovely trip down memory lane, the sponge was really light and it was sandwich with a little buttercream and strawberry jam. We were also treated to flaky and fruity Eccles cake, dense chocolate cake and a rich fruit cake.
Scones were textbook - very tall and packed with raisins and sultanas - I was able to tear it open, making sure I was using the correct etiquette when eating my scone. Raspberry jam (made on site) and clotted cream were served in little Wenlock Pottery cups.
The afternoon tea we had the Ludlow Kitchen was excellent, the atmosphere was relaxed and each element was made with lots of care and thought. I just can't believe what good value it was, £17 for two of us to eat so well, usually that is what you would pay per person.
If you're in the area (and if you're not I recommend planning a trip, maybe to coincide with Ludlow Food Festival?) do go along to the Ludlow Kitchen, and then the Ludlow Food Centre. They also do breakfast, lunch and dinner. I'm sure we'll be back in the area before too long and I can't wait to go back.