Northney Farm Tea Rooms, Hayling Island – Restaurant Review
It doesn’t seem that long ago that field-to-fork was the latest foodie fad. Thankfully – unlike serving dinners on slate plates – the ethos has evolved from fashionable to a serious foundation for many of the great eateries.
Northney Farm Tea Rooms, Hayling Island, is one such example.
The menu rightly celebrates its heritage (which spans more than 100 years) and highlights that the dishes boast locally sourced meat, veg, fruit and free range eggs.
There is something special about being met in the car park by chickens which makes it clear you are somewhere which does things a little differently.
We arrived hungry, curious and bang on time for the 10am opening when the only other lifeforms around were grazing cows.
Despite the fact it didn’t stay that way for long, as the other hungry Sunday brunchers arrived and added to the friendly buzz, there was also a sense that the tearooms remain somewhat of a hidden secret.
After all, we were there after a chance discovery by family members out on a bike ride, while it was clear others were acting on word-of-mouth recommendations.
Bar set high and stomachs rumbling, we quickly scanned the menu and plumped for two full English breakfasts – large (£8.95) and vegetarian (£6.95).
The rest of our party followed a similar line but thanks to egg and bread options each had flexibility to be tailored to taste.
Keen to try the farm’s well-known Ayrshire milk and homemade ice-cream, I thought a milkshake might be the most socially acceptable form for a morning but sadly the machine was out of order.
This turned out to be one of only two tiny faults I could pick with our visit – the second being one of my fried eggs was overdone. I did say tiny. The food was served promptly and piping hot, the bread was freshly baked and portions were generous.
My carnivorous companions complimented the sausages and I was really happy to see the meat-free options were meat-style, which I prefer over mashed potato and vegetables masquerading as bangers.
Needless to say, before the final smears of bean juice had even been chased down with the last bread crumbs, talk had turned to return visits.
After all, in addition to the lovely setting – aided by a recent extension and refurbishment – friendly staff and great food, there’s a wealth of options and very reasonable prices.
Aside from our fry-ups, breakfast (served from 10am to noon) also offered sandwiches and ‘on toast’ options, as well as a ‘make your own’ with three items £3.95 or four £4.95.
The lunch menu (midday to 3.30pm) ranged from light bites to signature burgers, all topped off with a tempting array of cake, ice-cream and afternoon teas.
Plus, it is worth noting, there’s a lovely, rentable space for functions, it’s dog-friendly and claimed the title of Best Tea Rooms 2019 in the Restaurant and Bar Awards earlier this year.
I can’t think of a reason not to visit – but I can think of lots of reasons to return, after all, I still need to try that milkshake.