UPDATE: see bottom of post
Anyone over the age of 45 will immediately think of The Two Ronnies when you hear the words ‘Fork Handles‘ surely? If you’ve no idea what I’m on about then click on the above link, it’s a sketch from the television show from 1976, very famous and quite funny, even now.
Fork Handles Kitchen (it’s full name) is just around the corner from The Square in Petersfield, Hampshire. I first went a few weeks ago, it was a very hot sunny day – a rare occurrence – I couldn’t get a table outside of Cloisters which is my usual haunt when in Petersfield (mainly because they have lots of outdoor seating plus it’s easy to park the bike and be able to see it and I like it there too of course), so I thought it was a good opportunity to try out Fork Handles instead. I could see my bike clearly from where I sat, locked to the churchyard railings opposite.
I had a nice flat white, they use Moonroast Coffee which you can buy bags of along with packets of tea, picnic hampers, etc., I enjoyed a raspberry sponge cake topped with fresh raspberries but also a bite-size taster of their fig & ricotta cake which was very nice.
On my second visit, with Geoff this time and again on our bikes, we sat outside and Geoff had two cakes(!) whereas I only had one and a half. We could have had breakfast, ‘build your own’ but we wanted something sweet.
Geoff chose a very fresh custard croissant which comes from the John The Breadman at the weekly market held in the Square and we each had a normal sized fig & ricotta cake, so far it’s my favourite. The mini bite-sized cake they had that day was lemon meringue which I also had.
We returned again a couple of weeks later, this time for lunch and without the bikes. It was a miserable day so we sat inside. It was gone 2 o’clock and wasn’t particularly busy. Yummy Mummies seem to like the place quite a lot as it is spacious and easy to manoeuvre buggies.
The soup of the day sounded nice, butternut squash with a hint of chilli I think it was, which is something Geoff would normally go for but this time he ordered a lamb and rosemary Mud Pie which was served with lovely roasted vegetables. No fat or gristle in the pie, ‘a good quality pie‘ Geoff said.
I had the pulled pork burger which came in a fresh, slightly toasted brioche bun with a few salad leaves on the side.
This came on the narrowest wooden board ever and I almost lost my burger as I cut into it, I had to lay a serviette under the board so if anything fell off it would fall onto that.
For dessert I had a bite-size lemon & poppy seed cake which was okay but at £1 I think this was rather steep for what it was. My main cake was the berry cheesecake, not your normal cheesecake, this was more of a sponge with berries inside and a berry/cheese topping.
Geoff had the lemon meringue cake which was a sponge with a blob of lemon curd in the centre, topped with meringue. I like the idea that they have bite-sized portions, great if you only want a small sweet treat, or for the kiddies, or if you’re not sure if you’d like it and can perhaps have it on your next visit which of course is what I did.
There was music playing when we first arrived but unfortunately after only one or two songs it went off. We looked at the evening menu posted in the window and it has two fish dishes and two vegetable dishes but no meat dishes. I meant to ask them why this was as this put us off coming in the evening. I’ve since looked online and a sample of their evening menu does include meat.
The staff have been very friendly and helpful on each visit and service has been very good. Upon the walls (even in the loos) are some paintings which are available to buy. Along with normal tables and chairs there’s also couple of settees and a few games such as dominoes and some books. There’s a small outside seating area to the rear of the café. They have classic movie nights and film shows for the kids, take a look at their website for more information on these and other events. Petersfield is a very pleasant market town with plenty or eateries, Annie-Jones, The Natural Apothecary, to name but a few.
Ambience 7 – 8 if they’d kept the music on
Value – 7
Quality – 9
Service – 8
Living life, loving cake
UPDATE: I have returned several times since this review. I then hadn’t been for a while until I returned in November 2016 taking a group of 6 cyclists with me and we had bad service, not the correct order or missing orders. No one was impressed unfortunately, which was quite embarrassing for me having suggested the place and saying how nice it was. In the same week I took my other cycling pals there, four of us this time and again, the same problems. I emailed them telling them of the problems we had and received a free meal for two which was very kind of them – we ended up paying for over half of it as it is an independent business after all. It was ok but no one acknowledged who we were ie., that we had complained etc., even the owner didn’t talk to us until I approached him to pay, which I thought rather odd. Needless to say, we haven’t returned and nor have any of my pals.
The Mud Pies are still very nice and I purchase them at the monthly Hampshire Farmer’s Market in Southsea.