Review: The Grumpy Goat, Bardwell - 'A modern, exciting and stylish café'
- Credit: Mark Heath
Our food reviewer Mark Heath took his mum Gill to lunch at the Grumpy Goat café in Bardwell. Here's what they made of it...
Back in my formative years, I spent a lot of time in Bardwell. My best mate used to live near the windmill, so I spent many a happy day in the small Suffolk village.
But that was more years ago than I care to admit, and I haven't been back since leaving school.
Now though, there is reason to return. The Grumpy Goat is a wonderful success story, a brand new café based in the village's sport pavilion, looking out across the scenic cricket field.
It was made possible by numerous grants from various sporting bodies and is quickly making a name for itself on the Suffolk foodie scene.
We visited for lunch on a Wednesday afternoon. The Goat, as I shall henceforth call it, gives a great first impression as you pull into the sizeable car park - it's an impressive, modern looking building which feels even larger inside.
There's an attractive bar serving all manner of drinks - alcoholic and otherwise - while the décor is industrial in style and inviting in feel. Think pipe work and wooden tables, fresh and modern.
With the sun shining, we opted to sit outside. There's a large marquee area to the left of the Goat plus tables which could easily seat eight at the front of the pavilion, overlooking the cricket field.
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That's where we plonked ourselves, and - given my day job as sports editor for this esteemed journal - one couldn't help thinking what a tremendous place this would be to watch a game of cricket.
Anyway, to business. Given we were there for lunch, we were picking from the coffee shop menu. There's an evening menu too - we'll get on to that in due course.
For lunch, you're looking at all-day breakfast options - sausage and bacon rolls, avocado on toast etc - or sandwiches.
Tempting as a sausage bap was, we decided to go with a sandwich. I actually wanted the Grumpy Goat Salad, which sounds delicious. Unfortunately, it's a popular option and by this time - 1.30pm - it had sold out.
Mum had already plumped for the ham, cheese and mustard on seeded batch and, flustered by the lack of salad, I went for the same, on sourdough.
Having discussed just minutes before about how we must order different things, mum could only chuckle at my lack of composure.
Drinks-wise, I had a pint of Diet Coke, while mum went for a soda and lime. Then I noticed the smoothies on the menu and ordered up a raspberry version. Hydration is important after all - and the smoothie was superb.
Our sandwiches duly arrived, looking very presentable, along with a side serving of fries and what one could only describe as a suggestion of salad - clearly it was indeed in very short supply!
As is the case with much of the Goat's ingredients, our bread was locally sourced - the award-winning and excellent Wooster's Bakery is just down the road in the same village.
The cheese and ham slices were thick and generous, and the fries were spot on - not greasy at all but crunchy, salty and very satisfying.
We both thought there was a little too much mustard applied to the sandwich but, on making that observation to our cheerful, friendly waitress, we were told that some patrons ask for more.
I can only assume these hardy souls spend their days eating Monster Munch and curries, and thus have melted off their taste buds. It certainly cleared our sinuses out!
Anyway, all in all, a good sarnie. Next up, when one is enjoying a café lunch in the sun outside a cricket pavilion, can only be cake.
Fortunately, the Goat is well-stocked there too. We wandered inside to peruse the multiple sweet treats on offer, again all baked locally.
I went for the classic Victoria sponge, while mum picked the coffee and walnut.
Coffees were taken too, mum going for a flat white, and me the latte. I must say, they were both excellent.
Now, the cakes. You can't whack a good Vicky sponge, and I'm pleased to say mine was a good one. Moist, tasty and generously proportioned.
Mum, meanwhile, polished hers off too. Another classic cake flavour combo.
And thus, our lunch in the Suffolk sun was complete. All told it came to just over £30, which seemed good value to me.
Before we part ways, I promised details of the evening menu - the Goat offers proper evening meals on Friday and Saturday nights.
That includes a range of burgers, pasta and fried chicken, plus desserts. It sounds, and looks, like cracking fare.
One final note too. There's a fun-looking children's playground just at the side of the Goat, which would certainly add to any family outing.
These are things that I notice now I have a two year-old nephew!
Anyway, I digress. The Grumpy Goat is a brilliant creation, of which Bardwell should be proud.
A modern, exciting and stylish café - it deserves to succeed.
Our food reviews are always independent. They are the opinion of the reviewer based on their experience of the venue when they visited. The establishment is not aware of our visit, is not informed we intend to write a review and bills are paid by the reviewer. The choice of places reviewed is also independent and is not based on venues which do or do not advertise in our publications.