Lotts Tearoom in Hambledon has recently had a major transformation as well as a name change. It’s now called The Old Forge Tea Room and inside is light and bright, tons more room, a good menu, friendly service and great cake. What more could anyone wish for?
I’ve visited on many occasions now, all in the name of research of course, mainly on cycle rides for cake and coffee.
There appears to be different cakes each time, which is a good thing, with some quite unusual ones too such as a honey & lavender cake, which sadly I didn’t get to try as I saw another cake that I wanted instead. Of course, there are classic favourites which are there each day like the flapjack and chocolate brownie, plus they offer a gluten-free and vegan cake. Local ice-cream from Bere Dairy in Southwick are available now too, I’ve yet to try it.
Geoff and I went one lunch time to try The Old Forge Tea Room’s lunch menu (they also have a breakfast one). I had prawns in Thousand Island dressing on granary bread (thankfully it wasn’t just one prawn as the menu suggests 😉 . I recently went to a very popular place on Southsea seafront and had an added extra of ‘roasted mushroom’ for £1 and it was just one medium sized mushroom! It could have been worse I suppose, it could have been a button mushroom).
An ‘opulent’ bun was also available, it read on the menu explaining that this was a ‘Viennese layered bun, glazed and topped with poppy & sesame seeds’ but it didn’t stop everyone asking what it was anyway 🙂 (I must confess, I wasn’t quite sure what it was either but have since seen similar buns in M&S, they look similar to the brioche buns but without the sweetness – I presume).
Both our sandwiches were served on fresh bread containing plenty of filling with a small side salad and a handful of crisps. Geoff went for a sandwich from the ‘special’s’ board, pulled BBQ pork or something (I can’t remember). I did take a photo which Geoff said was daft because it looked the same as mine but with a different filling. They had other specials too, omelettes with various fillings, buttermilk pancakes, Coronation chicken as a sandwich or jacket potato filling.
Upon one wall of the tearoom are some lovely old black & white photos of Hambledon village which are very interesting – here’s a link about the history of The Old Forge, – although as it was published back in 2011 the information about the new tearoom is obviously incorrect, for example the opening times and they don’t sell groceries. I love to see what places were like years ago and how they’ve changed but are still recognisable. Other walls have coloured photographs and paintings which add a splash of colour, these are for sale and I presume are by local photographers/artists.
Above are a few more of the cakes I’ve sampled so far…
Clockwise from top left: carrot cake; I think the next one could be a flapjack with a caramel topping, I can’t remember; polenta cake.
The chocolate brownie in the photo above was from my very first visit, on the second visit I was offered it served warm with a sauce made from a melted bar of Galaxy and cream. Oh boy, it made the brownie even better, but so naughty!
The ‘cinder’ cake I had only last week, this had a chocolate base, chocolate mousse, cream and caramel sauce. It was very nice.
How pretty is this cake? It just needed a photo all of it’s own. It’s courgette & avocado which is gf and dairy free. It was delicious.
Now this one was really lovely. One of the young weekend staff members made this, I had seen it on their Instagram page earlier that day and it was like a work of art. As I’m not a particular fan of chocolate mint things I didn’t think about having it until I saw it in the flesh, then I knew I just had to have it. It didn’t disappoint, it was really really good and so fresh. Thankfully the mint wasn’t too overpowering, it was perfect.
Hambledon is a beautiful area, home of cricket and Hartridges, it has plenty of walks on public footpaths or narrow country lanes on which to cycle along with wonderful views of the South Downs. If you turn right and right again out of The Old Forge, go up Cams Hill and in less than a mile on a sharp bend you’ll come across the ‘Murder Stone‘. Next right at a crossroads you’ll see spectacular views across the South downs. On the same road is a farm with a few alpacas and a sweet ‘shepherds hut’ style chicken coup… I’m giving away all my secrets places to go to here… shhh… keep it quiet.
Hambeldon Vineyard is in the village, they offer tours and tastings which are bookable and priced at £15 per person, that’s on our list for the summer. The Vine public house is also in the centre of the village and The Bat & Ball is not far away either, which is a nice country pub.
Living life, loving cake