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Review: The Copper Kettle cafe, Kersey

PUBLISHED: 19:25 08 October 2018

Rosie's quiche Lorraine  Picture: Archant

Rosie's quiche Lorraine Picture: Archant

Archant

If you’ve got a thing for quiche and brownies you’re going to love The Copper Kettle.

Fishcakes with hollandaise sauce, salad and coleslaw  Picture: ArchantFishcakes with hollandaise sauce, salad and coleslaw Picture: Archant

Food

When The Copper Kettle opened a few years ago my young family and I were regular customers. But, alas, life/work/football get in the way, and it slipped off our radar. So when a friend of mine insisted I make a return visit because there’s a new chef, I could hardly refuse could I?

The heart and soul of this vintage-style café, surrounded by independent shops and businesses and a wedding venue, is the owner Rosie. Rosie just glows with Irish charm. Even though she was in the kitchen on my visit with pals, her genteel, welcoming presence could be felt though the service from the front of house staff.

We greedily spied loads of cakes as we made our way to a free table around the back - and my eyes wandered to the specials board where I instantly knew I had to order the quiche Lorraine, made to Rosie’s own recipe.

Chocolate brownie  Picture: ArchantChocolate brownie Picture: Archant

Drinks arrived to the table sharpish. “Ah that’s lovely,” my friend Sarah said of the tea cosy hugging her brew. Cold tea’s no good to anybody. And I thoroughly enjoyed the dainty, sugar-crusted heart-shaped shortbread with my rich, creamy mocha. Usually I’d have to halve that with my kids so it was nice to get a look in!

So to the food. All homemade, hearty, seasonal and fresh. Vegetarian Debbie, who doesn’t mince her words when it comes to veggie food, was mightily impressed by her cauliflower soup. Cauliflower is one of those veg you can either get really right or disappointingly wrong. I can’t tell you how many bowls of watery, insipid, lump cauliflower soup I’ve been dished up over the years. This one was creamy and thick without entering the realms of baby food, and had an earthy, savoury flavour that was nicely satisfying. Bread on the side (locally sourced) was plentiful too.

I’m quite fussy about quiche. The benchmarks are: it has to have a light filling; it shouldn’t be watery; you have to be able to taste the flavouring; the pastry must be buttery and crisp – no soggy bottom.

Rosie’s version passed muster for sure. Served with hot potato wedges and a dressed salad, the quiche was on the eggier/richer side in flavour, with soft flecks of onion and rustic pieces of bacon. But that golden, rich colour and taste didn’t impact the texture of the filling, which was light as air – almost comparable to a thickened, set soufflé. The pastry, despite the quiche being served warm, was excellent.

Victoria sponge  Picture: ArchantVictoria sponge Picture: Archant

My only gripe was that the potato wedges weren’t quite cooked in the middle. They needed a few minutes more to take out that graininess.

Sarah (the one who implored me to visit) hadn’t expected quite such a large portion when she ordered the fishcakes. Served as a duo with salad and homemade coleslaw, she raved about the crispness of the breadcrumb coating, and thought the filling underneath that crust was “ace”. The hollandaise sauce covering the fishcakes was creamy, buttery and lighter than first appearances, cutting through the cakes wonderfully and adding a bite of acidity. She’d definitely order them again.

We were all full up but I said we couldn’t leave without trying the cakes (I’m a bad influence). There were some kind of energy balls, flapjacks, caramel slices, big wedges of cake – so much choice. The classic Victoria sponge was pretty, and swelled with the brightness of strawberry jam and vanilla, but was, I felt, a little too heavy in the baking. I want a Victoria sponge with an open, bouncy texture and this one was just a tad on the close side, although the flavour was definitely there.

However the brownie was absolutely exceptional. In fact, Rosie, I want the recipe. It had all the elements I was looking for. A crunchy top. A rich proper chocolate flavour to counteract the (very high) level of sugar. A gooey, chewy, molten centre. Oh, and it had chocolate chunks in too. Now that made my day!

Drinks

There’s an excellent selection of teas (including Barry’s from Ireland), coffees, hot chocolates and soft drinks. I had a mocha which was very rounded and rich and most importantly not too sweet. The others appreciated their tea (which came with a delightful tea cosy) and lemonade. I loved the touch of teensy homemade shortbread on the spoon with the hot drinks.

Service

Absolutely charming. Nothing was too much trouble and we were made to feel really welcome.

Ambiance

Almost every table was full and there was definitely a happy, friendly vibe to the whole place. The back conservatory dining area where we sat is a little bit odd as it feels separate to the rest of the café but there’s not a lot they can do about that and it certainly didn’t put a dampener on our meal.

Parking

There’s loads of parking in front of the café. It’s quite gravelly so don’t wear your best heels.

Price

Just over £37 for three main courses, three drinks and two pieces of cake.

Toilets

Clean and functional.

Accessibility

You may need help getting across the gravel car park but shouldn’t find it an issue to get into the café. The seating area at the front is quite small so wheelchair users could struggle. There’s much more space in the dining area in the conservatory where we sat so if you need more room call ahead and book in here.

Highlight

The brownie because it was simply divine.

In summary

Good, old fashioned, friendly proper service with a smile. We liked the little touches like the biscuits with the drinks and the tea cosies, plus the line-up of cakes as we walked in the door. The food was jolly good too and reasonably priced.

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