Holloways Cafe Worcestershire Review
Philippe Boucheron discovers where to go for a Good Light Lunch and Delicious Afternoon Teas The Greenhouse at Holloways
Nestling neatly in the folds of the Suckley Hills, beside the church, for over 20 years Holloways has been a destination for the conservatory cognoscenti. From near and far they have been winding their ways along the narrow lanes in search of some new item of garden furniture or a classical Grecian urn or statue.
Two year ago husband and wife team, Edward and Diana Holloway, built their own traditional wood-framed conservatory as a much-needed watering hole. Called the Green House, because it is painted that splendid National Trust shade of almost eau de nil, it is a splendid café serving morning coffee, light luncheons and delicious afternoon teas. It has quickly become a haunt for ladies who lunch as well as those who enjoy a really good old-fashioned afternoon tea.
The other day, following a specially testing restaurant review, I needed a relaxing afternoon. So with my publisher we wended our way through those tree crowned hills seeking a little light lunch. Jill, who runs both the restaurant and the adjoining gift shop, took us to our table, pointed out the specials on a chalk board and handed us our menus.
Now, I have to admit that up to now the last thing I needed was more food. However, the temptation of one of the Specials, a Rimini Salad of prosciutto, feta cheese, locals leaves and Suckley strawberries with a Balsamic dressing sounded sensational. As indeed did a Hereford beef salad with horseradish and a honey and mustard dressing. Warm fresh rolls with proper butter and a couple of glasses of quite acceptable white wine, and we were off! Two proper slices of just pink beef, from Legges of Bromyard, quickly restored my appetite and my faith in myself as a proper trencherman. The salads were so obviously made from fresh local leaves and, thank goodness, absolutely free of onions. Why is it that in Britain onions and that awful malt vinegar based dressings are the accepted thing for salads? As farmers the Holloways insist that everything they serve in their Green House is as fresh as if it came form their own garden – as some of it, no doubt, probably did.
I should be ashamed to tell you that in spite of our very best intentions we both fell hook-line-and-sinker for the desserts. But I am not. The sharp blackcurrants of a superb summer pudding were beautifully balanced by a spoonful of proper whipped cream. The cream-laden strawberry pavlova, with a gorgeous gooey meringue and those fabulous Suckley strawberries was truly the way to this man’s heart. Congratulations to Ann and Pam in the kitchen who prepare the dishes and bake all the cakes
‘While we are here’, said my publisher, who is a hard task master and an absolute tyrant when it comes to ignoring my protestations, ‘we may as well have a look around for an hour and come back for tea’! And that is what we did. Looking around Holloways outdoor displays of stone and metal statues and other ephemera is always a pleasure, while the furniture showrooms make you want to throw everything out of your home and start anew.
It would be nice to tell you that we then sat down to a full afternoon cream tea. But even I cannot tell a lie that big! But duty called so a large pot of proper English Breakfast leaf tea and a couple of huge warm scones with homemade jam and (sorry, but I have to admit it) and cream were our ‘test pieces’. One fruit and one plain scone – and I only ate less than half of mine. A word about the tea pot; it was a huge glass affair with proper tea leaves in an integral strainer, and it poured from first to last perfectly without one drop being spilt. If they can do that at Holloways then why for goodness sake can’t they do it everywhere else?
What we missed was the set afternoon tea of a selection of savoury finger roils, scones and homemade cakes at only £15 for two. Our scones and tea cost us £4.50 each, while our lunch bill came to £29.35. All-in-all excellent value and a wonderful way to while away a very pleasant afternoon.
We agreed that the Holloway formula of local fresh produce kept supremely simple is the perfect antidote to an excess of fine gourmet dining. The setting is delightful and the food is the freshest available. Oh, those spectacular Suckley strawberries!
Check Out Hollloways Greenhouse Cafe Events Calendar HERE
For more information visit Holloways Website HERE
© Philippe Boucheron MMX