DISH DETECTIVE: Follow a muddy country lane for a stand-out carvery

Westlands Farm, Pricketts Hill, Wickham
Westlands Farm, Pricketts Hill, Wickham

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Westlands Farm, Pricketts Hill, Wickham

I had a craving for bacon. It was one of those miserable January Sundays where only a crispy bacon sandwich will do. And where better to buy it than straight from the farm?

The delicious apple crumble and ice cream at Westlands Farm, near Wickham

The delicious apple crumble and ice cream at Westlands Farm, near Wickham

Westlands Farm, on the outskirts of Wickham, is probably most famous for the Wickham Festival held in its fields.

We stumbled upon it a few years back during one of the most gloriously hot and sunny years the festival has ever seen.

After overindulging in the real ale tent the night before, Dish Detective had eaten a full English there, so already knew that the bacon was good.

Today though, as the rain hammered down, those halcyon festival days seemed a million miles away.

The farm is tucked down a muddy country lane. From the outside it looks just like any other farm building but – thanks partly to EU and Defra funding a few years back – there’s also a tearoom, shop and butchers, which sells the farm's own beef and lamb, plus free range pork and chicken.

As chance would have it, we walked in just as the Sunday carvery was being set up and, oh my, did it smell delicious.

After buying our bacon and bread and heading home to indulge, the smell of the carvery lingered on, tantalising my tastebuds.

It had piqued the Dish Detective’s curiosity so we booked a table for four plus baby for the following Sunday.

If you want to eat here on a Sunday you have to book. For once you’ve eaten this Sunday roast, you won’t want to visit a Toby Carvery ever again.

This tiny little tearoom, down a small winding country lane, outperforms most pubs too.

The place looks smart and clean, no hipster clutter here. There are standard wooden tables and chairs, with pictures of pigs and cows on the wall, and doors opening out onto the field (lovely in summer).

Today there’s one woman busily taking the orders, serving on the counter and fending off people who haven’t booked. Every table is either occupied or has a reserved sign on it.

The waitress takes our orders and brings our drinks – a collection of local real ales and a wonderful crisp Meon Valley Cider (all bottles from £3.80).

Then we head up to the counter, where there’s a chap in charge of the food. It’s laid out like a traditional carvery in a hot cabinet. Today’s choices are pork or beef – we opt for beef (£9.95 – or child size £4.35).

I had a craving for bacon. It was one of those miserable January Sundays where only a crispy bacon sandwich will do. And where better to buy it than straight from the farm?

It’s served with greens, peas, carrots, roast parsnips, roast potatoes and a beautiful looking Yorkshire pudding.

This roast doesn’t disappoint. The portion is large and every element is tasty – with a special mention for the Yorkshire pudding. This is the kind of roast that you aspire to cook at home.

Afterwards we are given the two choices of pudding – much like you’d be given at your parents' – of crumble or ice cream.

After eating every single piece of our main, we knew we’d be fools to miss out on dessert so all of us readily agree to the crumble (£3.49). It’s worth it too. Mouth-watering apple (you can taste they've have had happy lives) with a perfect crumble topping, served with either ice cream or custard.

This is a stand-out roast dinner. It’s not posh, it’s not trendy, but it is deliciously homemade with quality local ingredients.

By eating here not only are you supporting a local farmer and their family, but you’re also supporting all the small businesses that supply the veg and stock the shelves of the shop.

This place and its food makes you feel good.

It has to be one of Dish Detective’s most recommended places to date.