My first visit to Northney Farm Tea Rooms was not long after they’d opened, which was a few years ago now. This would have been in the original old barn, in the photo above you can just see part of it on the far left. I don’t recall ever returning, if I did it would have only been for a second time, mainly for two reasons; 1) it’s too close to home to warrant a stop (cycling, plus it’s a bit of a detour to go to Hayling if I’ve been elsewhere) and 2) it was very cold and draughty.
Now they’ve had a lovely big refurbishment, they still have the original barn (behind some curtains where you can hold private functions). The new room is very light and nicely done. There are big windows all along the front so that you can look out onto the fields and see the chickens walking up and down and I presume, come the better weather, there may even be cows in the field.
Just off the Hayling Island bridge take the first left, follow the road around the bend and the tea rooms are on your left, just past the farm where you’ll see a signpost for it and a car park. From there you enter the field and a path leading to the tea room passing several ducks, hens and a very fine looking cockerel.
Helen and I were late that morning (as usual) setting off for our bike ride so we decided to stop at the tea rooms for coffee & cake and return later on (if it was any good) for lunch.
We shared both a cream tea and a slice of ginger sponge.
The cream tea consisted of a pot of clotted cream, a fruit scone (plain were also available) and jam of our choice, we chose strawberry. Swapping the tea for a coffee was no problem. The coffee was good, they use Mozzo Coffee based in Southampton.
When it was just the old barn years ago I remember they had some display boards showing old photos of the farm, some of which you can now see upon the tea room walls which is lovely to see.
There’s quite a bit to chose from on both the breakfast and lunch menus, full English, eggs on toast, sandwiches, panini’s (both served with a handful of crisps and a little salad), jacket potatoes, soup of the day, burgers, quiches, sausage & mash even. A few specials are shown on the blackboard behind the counter too.
We enjoyed the sweet stuff and the coffee so decided to do a loop inland and then cycle around the peninsula’s, Bosham, Chidham and Prinsted, stopping off at Southbourne Farm shop for some veg’ before heading back for a late lunch.
It was 2.45 by the time we arrived so as I was quickly locking the bikes up Helen rushed in to make the order by 3pm which we thought would be last orders. Thankfully lunch was being served until 3.30 so we needn’t have rushed.
Helen fancied a burger and although it was a little too well done and chewy around the edges, the centre was less so and quite juicy. It had that BBQ burnt taste to it and a nice rarebit cheese sauce on top. Helen enjoyed the burger and she said she’d have it again. The beef is from their own home grown cattle. They do a vegetarian burger, however I think this was more like a Linda McCartney type burger whereas I would have preferred something like a halloumi & mushroom burger which I have at Farm Kitchen in Southsea. I went for my new favourite ‘go to’ at the moment, tuna & mayo’ sandwich.
The bread was nice and fresh and there was plenty of tuna and mayo’. I asked for some cucumber inside the sandwich which they very kindly did for me. It came in small but thick chunks instead of thin slices but I guess that was because they’d already pre-cut the cucumber for the side salads.
Northney Farm sell their semi-skimmed milk in the tea rooms and also from several places locally, The Southsea Deli’ being one of them. In fact only a couple of months ago we went there one evening for a talk by the Free Range Dairy Network about the dairy industry. A representative from Northney Farm was there as they are a member – you can read more about this in an article written by Portsmouth News here. The farm also make their own ice-cream which you may have seen around too, this is also available to buy from the tea room along with duck eggs, some jam and I think I spied some fudge there too.
We did like the tea-rooms, the staff were friendly, the decor was nice, the food was good and fresh. However, it’s still cold in there! When we had our cake and coffee we were sat by the window next to a heater which wasn’t on. I was ok but Helen got cold and went outside to get her jacket. Not long after that a customer sitting near us came over and asked if we were cold as she could feel a draught and was going to move to the other side of the room to see if it was any warmer. Then another two customers asked us the same thing as they too were cold.
When we returned for lunch we sat on the other side of the tea room to see if it was indeed any warmer. Alas it was not and looking around we noticed that the majority of the customers had coats on. One woman still had her big furry hat on! This was a sunny day at the beginning of February (hello, it’s winter!) but it was still a rather windy and chilly day – not like the hot weather we’ve had these last few days. One wants to be comfortable when one is eating. I thought it would have been warmer with the new refurb’ 🙁 . If I return, I’ll be sure to take an extra layer.
Although our visit was ok we didn’t think that it was a place where we would be excited to visit, there was nothing ‘wow’ about it, just an average tea room – nothing wrong with that. Our 7/10 is an ‘average score’.
Ambience 6 – cold!
Living life, loving eating in the warmth!