Have you discovered the Welbeck Farm Shop and Harley cafe yet? We had a lovely walk from there to the bewitching ice-age lagoon and caves of Cresswell Craggs this week. We ended our walk with lunch at the Harley Cafe and then indulged in the little bit of heaven that is the Welbeck Farm Shop.
The Harley Cafe sits in a beautiful courtyard of renovated buildings (including the Gallery which sits in the Welbeck Estate’s restored gasworks, which were originally built in 1860 by the 5th Duke of Portland to light his eccentric network of underground tunnels and apartments. They finally closed in 1928 when the Estate moved over to electricity). The courtyard now beautifully combines the old with the new. We loved the cafe colour scheme, with its deep orange/red and the black wooden outside furniture, modern and minimalist, it contrasts well with the warm hues of the old stonework.
Anyway, the food. The cafe sells a range of delicious -sounding hot dishes, all freshly cooked (and not your usual cafe fare either, more bistro really) and prides itself on using locally sourced ingredients (no wonder, when they have a fantastic artisan bakehouse, brewery, dairy and Farm shop with an amazing butcher right on their doorstep). We wanted something light. I was sorely tempted by the “Tea Cup of Soup and half an Open Sandwich” but on such a sunny day, opted for a choice of salads (potato, mixed leaves, chickpeas, apple, cucumber and radish) served with generous wedge of Stichelton cheese (fabulous, tangy, raw-milk blue cheese made on the Estate) and the smoked salmon and cream cheese Panini with a salad full of pomegranate seeds. The food was fresh, tasty and just right for our post-walk light, late lunch. This really isn’t your average cafe, and it is well worth being really hungry when you visit, so full were we that we skipped dinner later, so the portion sizes are more than generous. The service was great, friendly, efficient and helpful. We loved this place.
We rounded our day off at the Farm Shop, which now also hosts chocolatier Boutique Aromatique (whose gorgeous meringues they are). This is a fantastic shop, with a huge range of foodie delights and the most amazing butchery. The Aged Beef looked amazing, almost black, and the size of a small kennel – but as we are heading off for the weekend, there would be no chance to cook it, next time maybe. We brought home cheese, beer and chocolate – well, it’d be rude not too.
Next time you fancy a bit of food, a walk and a bit of history, you could do a lot worse than head over to Welbeck and the Harley Cafe. We will definitely be back.