It was a beautiful sunny, warm April day when I took my sister Gill, to Long Barn in Alresford, Hampshire for a spot of lunch. I like Alresford, it’s a nice little country town and one I cycle through fairly regularly, often stopping for a coffee somewhere. Long Barn Lavender Growers, who grow and distil the lavender, is a short distance on the road going out of Alresford, the B3047 towards Bishop’s Sutton.
There’s parking out the front and lots of plants near the entrance, nicely shaped young trees, flowers and of course, pots of lavender with everything looking rather healthy, always a good sign.
We found the large oak barn a little chilly sitting inside, plus the door to the outside was constantly ajar which didn’t help. Outside would have been warmer I’m sure but as they are expanding and building work was in progress (there’s metal fencing up) – which should be finished by next summer it says – we opted for inside. Don’t let this put you off, I think most of the tables were full outside with people less fussy than myself and I didn’t hear any noise. I’m sure it will look and smell lovely once the lavender is out as it overlooks the lavender fields.
The menu was nice and simple and I liked everything on it. Breakfast/brunch is served from 9.30, lunch from 12.30 and afternoon tea from 2.30. Gill and I shared both the egg & bacon pie and the quiche of the day washed down by a rather nice flat white.
On each table is a lovely large flower in a pot, ours got changed half way through our lunch to a lavender one. There are several tables inside plus a couple of long ones, one being taller with high stools. Some ceramic tiles are on the walls with a sunroof and timber frames. All very tastefully done. I must admit that I don’t like their chairs, they’re those metal ones which are very popular with cafés at the moment but I find them rather ugly and cold to sit on.
The egg & bacon pie, ‘inspired’ by Nigella Lawson, was very nice and reminded us of our dear mother who used to make it quite often. The pastry was light and crisp and it was packed with plenty of egg & bacon, served with a side garnish of fresh salad leaves and tomatoes. We paid £1.50 extra for bubble & squeak.
The quiche of the day was goats cheese, spinach & sun blushed tomato. Again the pastry was lovely and we enjoyed our meals.
We went up to the counter to see what cakes they had and of course two or three of them contained lavender. Chocolate & lavender sounded nice but so too did the orange & lavender… I was hoping they would have some of their lavender scones which they serve for afternoon tea but they didn’t.
The pecan & butterscotch brownie was delicious and it contained plenty of pecans and chocolate chips.
With our cakes we had another coffee each, this time I had a tiny piccolo latte just because it was served in a cute little glass. What a sucker I am eh?
The orange & lavender sponge cake, which was gluten free, was very fresh and moist with bits of lavender inside and sprinkled on top. Very nice indeed.
As we went to pay I had to do a double take as who should walk out from the kitchen but the young lady who used to own Tazzina in West Meon – which changed to Springs and is now Cuppacheeno. I thought I recognised the look and taste of the pecan brownie. It was lovely to see her again and funnily enough, she’d made both the cakes we’d chosen.
We had a look around the shop area of the barn which has lavender bath and beauty products of course, scarves, shawls, jewellery and other knick-knacks. There were items for the garden and conservatory but mostly what you would give as a gift, not anything terribly practical (and all rather expensive). Nothing caught my eye that shouted ‘buy me!’ They have a plant nursery which we didn’t have the time to look at unfortunately.
We purchased a packet of lavender biscuits each, which are baked locally, to take home with us and they were very tasty. Thankfully my husband doesn’t care for lavender-tasting things so I got to eat them all myself 😀
Long Barn were advertising a four course ‘Wildcook’ pop-up dinner which is to be held on the 7th May priced at £39.
Service was slow at first but then got better and was friendly.
Living life, loving cake