Wyken Vineyards and The Leaping Hare restaurant, Suffolk : August 2017

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This is a working farm which has successfully diversified and is collectively known as Wyken Vineyards. The Leaping Hare comprises a classy interiors shop, cafe and restaurant, and there is a vineyard and lovely gardens which are open to the public and all are part of the private estate of Wyken Hall.     

Wyken Vineyards is located approx 11 miles from Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk and it had been highly recommended by a friend as a splendid destination for a day out in the countryside.

Wyken Farmers’ Market which is located in the old stables block was open from 9-1 when I visited last Saturday with a companion. After a look around the stalls, we found the Leaping Hare restaurant for a spot of lunch. As an aside I have to say that the name of this restaurant appeals to me almost as much as ‘The Giggling Squid’ Thai restaurant in Bury St Edmunds. (Unusual names must be a Suffolk thing!)   

It was one of those typically changeable English summer days when there was a heavy rain shower one minute followed by bursts of bright sunshine the next, so we were wearing macs and sunglasses!IMG_0831 (2)

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The Wyken Farmers’ Market features an impressive mix of stalls from local producers
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The Leaping Hare restaurant is located in the 400-year-old barn
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We started our lunch with ice-cold sparkling orange and cranberry drinks
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We both chose the Eggs Benedict dish for our lunch
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Still thirsty and enjoying a leisurely-paced lunch we ordered a pot of tea each 
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My companion chose a slice of light and moist carrot cake instead of a dessert
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I chose a delicious slice of Blueberry Cheesecake for my dessert
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An outdoor seating area was available outside the cafe/restaurant for days when it wasn’t raining!
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I couldn’t resist bringing home a bottle of Good Dog Ale for Steve! An English Pale Ale style beer brewed by Wyken Vineyards

Wyken Vineyards restaurant, The Leaping Hare, is located in the 400-year-old barn. A Bib Gourmand in the Michelin Guide and now in its 15th year in The Good Food Guide, the restaurant tries to source their ingredients from a five-mile radius, so the beef, lamb, game and eggs are local (and when possible from the Wyken farm and estate) with fruit, herbs and vegetables from the kitchen garden.

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Curious sign on the entrance door into the restaurant!

Wyken Cafe, which serves breakfasts and lunches daily, is also located in the barn and offers a lighter menu choice with the same quality of food and service as the elegant restaurant. Prices were on the high side but the food was exceptionally tasty. We paid £20 a head for our lunch which included two soft drinks each, cake/dessert and service.

There was also a Summer Exhibition in the Leaping Hare Cafe Gallery of limited edition prints of watercolours by Eric Ravillious.

Wyken Shop – The Leaping Hare Country Store wyken store

This very attractive and stylish shop apparently sells wool throws and blankets from Scotland and Ireland, braided rugs from North Carolina, French grape-picking baskets, Panama hats from Ecuador, and much, much more. The Leaping Hare Country Store also included the book room which houses a selection of books from small specialist publishers. I particularly liked the designer pottery, the chic and classic clothes and accessories, and their range of unusual cards and gift wrap. This veritable cornucopia of beautiful and useful household items and consumables was an ideal place to buy presents. I came home with a bottle of Good Dog Ale brewed by Wyken Vineyards for Steve!

The Wyken Farmers’ Market

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At The Wyken Farmers’ Market, there was an impressive selection of stalls from local producers including farmers, bakers, and a distillery. I noticed fish, artisan cheese and fine tea stalls, and an abundance of organic fruit, veg, plants, flowers and herbs for sale.
The Market is open from 9 am to 1 pm every Saturday.
The Vineyard
 
Wyken is a 1200-acre working farm which includes a flock of Shetland sheep, a small herd of Red Poll cattle and in 1988 they established a 7-acre vineyard with some 12,000 vines. It has produced award-winning wines, including the English Wine of the Year, and in 2009 their ‘Wyken Bacchus’ won the East Anglian Wine of the Year,
On average they produce some 12,000 bottles a year, and these are all sold through their Shop and Restaurant. From the Leaping Hare, you can take a walk to the vineyard over Home Meadow and through the beautiful ancient woodland of the estate.
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Wyken Hall Gardens

wykenThese beautiful formal gardens surrounding the Elizabethan manor house are crammed with topiary, herbs, roses, and fruit trees and you may see meandering peacocks, guinea fowl and chickens too!

The gardens are open from 27th March until the end of September, from 2 – 6 pm daily (except Saturday unfortunately, but all the more reason for a return visit!)

 
 

 

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The delights of Nancy’s Vintage Teashop, Newmarket, Suffolk: June 2017

Last week my daughter and I enjoyed a delightful Afternoon Tea at Nancy’s Vintage Teashop in Newmarket. It had been recommended to me by two people recently so I was keen to try this local independent teashop for myself and I’m pleased to say it didn’t disappoint.

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Nancy’s Vintage Teashop is located on Old Station Road in Newmarket, at the Clock Tower end of the High Street.

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Nancy’s classic Afternoon Tea was served on a vintage three-tiered cake stand full of tasty treats. I was very surprised by this as it’s unusual to be given a stand each and very generous too!
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This classic Afternoon Tea featured a selection of finger sandwiches, freshly baked scones with jam and cream, a mini dessert and petit fours. At £15 per person, it was excellent value for money.
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All Nancy’s food is home-baked on the premises and she pointed out that even the Battenburg cake was made in the colours of their own pink and brown livery – a cute touch!
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The delicious strawberry and cream mini-desserts and the scones were fresh, light and tasty and I was so busy eating them I forgot to take photos before I tucked in!

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IMG_0691.JPG At Nancy’s a choice of 20 unique blends of tea or coffee are available to accompany the food
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We were too full to eat all the cakes so we both brought them home in a bespoke goodie box!

Nancy’s Teashop in Newmarket has been serving specially blended teas, with Afternoon Tea being a speciality for four years now, and it’s deservedly created a brand with a good reputation. At Nancy’s it’s obvious that traditional standards of service and quality are paramount, and all the food is homemade on the premises and locally sourced. If you are visiting Newmarket, I can highly recommend Nancy’s to enjoy tasty treats in this elegant and comfortable vintage-themed teashop, which is styled with an eclectic mix of mismatching antique teapots and china, patchwork sofas, pastel pink dining chairs, and hand-sewn collages and bunting. Altogether bright, attractive and highly effective, and I would say that Nancy’s is the best value quality Afternoon Tea I have come across yet!

Due to popular demand, the owner and founder of the teashop Nancy Clack has recently opened an Afternoon Tea Lounge above the teashop. Seating 24 people and plushly furnished it reflects the same quirky vintage hand-crafted feel as the cafe below. Bookings for the Afternoon Tea Lounge from parties of four upwards are available from 27th June. I suggest that this venue would be perfect to enjoy Nancy’s Classic Afternoon Teas for special occasions like birthday parties, anniversaries, baby and bridal showers.

Nancy’s Vintage Teashop

18 Old Station Road

Newmarket

Suffolk

CB8 8DN

Tel : 01638 667064

http://www.nancysteashop.co.uk

enquiries@nancysteashop.co.uk

Celebrating National Afternoon Tea Week (2) The Assembly House, Norwich

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   Frontage of The Assembly House, Norwich viewed from Theatre Street

In late August last year I spent a day in Norwich with a friend, where we enjoyed a splendid Afternoon Tea at The Assembly House. This grand Georgian building is a historic venue with an illustrious past, and the perfect setting for a classic afternoon tea which was beautifully presented, with superb food and service. We had a choice of Loose Leaf tea or coffee from Wilkinson’s of Norwich, and were assured that we could enjoy a second pot of tea at no extra charge. (As the saying goes once bitten, twice shy, – see my review of Peacocks in Ely!)

The set traditional Afternoon Tea included a choice of dainty finger sandwiches, savoury and fruit scones, a selection of miniature cakes, and a dessert by The Assembly House’s pastry chef extraordinaire Mark Mitson.

We were impressed by the freshness and fillings of the sandwiches which were clearly made to order, and additional sandwiches were offered free of charge too. The scones were home-baked and still warm, (and appropriately as Norwich is the home of local company *Colman’s ) the savoury scone was a cheese, *mustard and chive version, served with butter. The fruit scone was served with Norfolk strawberry jam and clotted cream. Both types of mini scone were light and equally delicious. The classic sandwich fillings were of Norfolk ham, smoked salmon, free range egg and cress, cream cheese and cucumber.

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Chandeliers and elegance were hallmarks of The Assembly House restaurant lounge area dining room

We were seated in what must surely be one of the finest and most opulent dining rooms for our Afternoon Tea

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The traditional Afternoon Tea was served on a classic silver three tier cake stand
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The miniature desserts on the top tier looked most tempting and tasted delicious!
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The Assembly House has everything, including bespoke napkins, and even a cake box to take away any leftovers!
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The Assembly House is set in beautiful grounds, where you will also find The Noverre Art Gallery which is well worth a visit
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When in Norwich The Assembly Rooms is the perfect place to enjoy al fresco refreshment!

Interesting fact – Did you know that Afternoon Tea was originally the brainchild of the Duchess of Bedford who was a Lady-in-Waiting to Queen Victoria? Apparently she thought there was an intolerable length of time between luncheon and evening dinner, so she arranged for tea to be brewed and served with a selection of sweet and savoury snacks, midway between the two meals. The habit soon became established and before long this quintessentially  English tradition was being enjoyed by all!

My friend commented “I would highly recommend The Assembly House as the service and the ambience matches the fantastic food”

Granny Apples says – Regular readers of my blog will know that over the last 12 months I have been searching for the best value afternoon tea. For the second of my posts in celebration of National Afternoon Tea Week I am more than happy to recommend The Assembly Rooms in Norwich. This Afternoon Tea was close to perfection, there was nothing to criticize and it was the best value for money at £17.50 for 1, £32 for 2.

 

The Assembly House, Theatre Street, Norwich, NR2 1RQ

Bookings are advisable on 01603 626402 or admin@assemblyhousenorwich.co.uk

http://www.assemblyhousenorwich.co.uk