The best bacon roll in Bedfordshire?
SOMETIMES when I hear about a place that I quite fancy visiting for this column, I worry, writes Sally-Anne Stewart.
It might sound nice, but what if they’re let down by their customer service? As regular readers will know, bad service is a particular bugbear of mine, and if I don’t like what I’m met with I’m not going to gloss over it.
So I was as pleased as Punch when Mr Stewart and I turned up to Harpers in Studham, which had come onto my radar the previous week due to their winning an award for their pork and apricot sausage rolls.
Apparently there had been a bit of a fuss about them on Facebook, so the Harper family decided to enter them in the Butchers v Bakers Fair, held at Kempton Park Racecourse in Middlesex, where they took first place.
I was a bit confused when we turned up, as there were lots of cars in the car park but we couldn’t really see anyone about. I soon realised the cars belonged to the wedding celebrations taking place in the barn at the back of the site (I understand this is a fairly recent addition to the business), which is obscured from the view of shoppers/coffee shop customers by a line of tall trees.
We went into the coffee shop first, and must have looked a bit lost as a jolly chap strode up to us and asked if it was our first time there. We told him it was, and he introduced himself – with a very firm handshake – as Mr Harper, and promptly told the young girl behind the counter to give us two coffees on the house. Now that’s what I call customer service!
As we took a seat, a couple on their way out recommended the bacon rolls, so I plumped for that and the husband went wild with a bacon and egg roll.
They were something like £2.50 each and came with salad and crisps, and I have to say that mine was certainly the best non-homemade bacon roll I’ve had in Bedfordshire.
There were plenty of other choices on the menu, too, and the jacket potatoes were more reasonably priced than some of the establishments that have featured on this page.
Fed and watered, we wandered over to the farm shop, which is a treasure trove of fine food. There’s a butcher’s counter, fresh bread, delicious-looking pies and puddings, a large variety of frozen food and ready meals which are made on-site using the same meat sold on the butcher’s counter and include pork medallions in yoghurt and garlic, and chicken in a cream and brandy sauce.
Given their recent accolade, we naturally had to try the sausage rolls, and as the pork and apricot had sold out we went for pork and chilli, which really were lovely.
We also decided to splash out and buy two rib-eye steaks from the meat counter for our dinner that night. They weren’t cheap, but then we knew they were of good quality and provenance, the latter being something I really am interested in.
They also sell a range of sauces, if, like me, you don’t have the culinary know-how (or time) to whip up a creamy peppercorn sauce yourself. Needless to say, dinner that night was hotly anticipated, and didn’t disappoint.
Given the quality of food in the coffee shop, I couldn’t understand why it wasn’t busier when we visited. It’s spacious, easy to get to, with plenty of parking, and the staff are very friendly, so it’s a little gem really in a rural area where eating opportunities are probably restricted to village pubs.
I’d definitely recommend a visit, whether for lunch out or to treat yourself to something nice from the farm shop. And let me know what you think of the bacon rolls.
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Weather for Luton
Wednesday 22 May 2013
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