Sunday, 22 January 2012

Surrey Docks Farm cafe - January 2012

The Surrey Docks Farm is a little drop of hidden London. The Rotherhithe peninsula isn't maybe the best known part of the capital, with poor transport links and some deeply unlovely squatting estates, but there's a little gem here if you do make the trek. The farm is quirky loveliness in itself; cows, pigs and goats wander around gently mugging inner city kids and parents for grain before they get turned over by the aggressive and streetwise chickens who really rule the roost.

The whole thing is run on a shoestring for the benefit of the local community by a team of volunteers who sell the fresh produce on site to bring in some funds. Piles of eggs from the strutting hens in the yard and depending on the season there's goat, lamb and pork available too. It's a working farm after all and regardless how cute the little porkers are, they taste better than they look.

Amounts of this meaty provender end up in the excellent little on site cafe, Frizzante, along with veggies one presumes are also grown here. It's a basic operation with a snug open plan kitchen and mismatching furniture. There's not a huge list on the daily chalk boards, brunches and light lunches mainly, but rewarding enough after a wander round the farm.

Breakfasts and brunches looked superb; thick tubes of sausage, golden eggs and suspiciously homemade looking toasts. A jovial notice announces they are now, once more, serving baked beans - a must for any decent fry. Very local eggs are served scrambled with bacon or thick ham slices.

Controversially, and correctly as it turned out, I went for a roasted butternut squash quiche. Real men might not eat them, but I know all of the words to Defying Gravity from the musical Wicked so felt adequately qualified. Melting roast veggies in a soft eggy duvet came snuggled into a fresh, thin homemade pastry bed. A thick slice of being tucked in at a country farmhouse B&B.

Think twice if you don't like kids. The outdoor space starved ankle biters are prone to run amuck. If you can cope (or you have rug rats of your own), it's well worth the trip.


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