A gallery of delights at Snape Maltings' Metfield Cafe
PUBLISHED: 11:39 25 March 2010 | UPDATED: 16:50 20 February 2013
Sandra Roberts discovers fine dining with a view at Snape's Metfield CafÃ©
Sandra Roberts discovers fine dining with a view at Snapes Metfield Caf
You might not think that a gallery overlooking a bustling housewares department would serve as an ideal location for an upmarket cafe. But then youd be reckoning without the skills of the designers and chefs behind Snapes latest culinary outlet.
The Metfield Caf, an offshoot of Norfolks famed artisan bakery, occupies a large mezzanine with views over the swanky Home & Garden store at the Snape Maltings complex.
Anyone who has ever shopped there will know exactly what a huge hangar of a building it is and, perhaps like we did, fear the caf might be draughty, noisy and even perhaps, lacking in atmosphere.
Happily, on a recent visit all our fears were unfounded. Arriving a couple of Fridays before Christmas for a birthday lunch with my mum and a friend, we were soon settled at a cosy, blissfully draught-free table by a friendly waitress.
Several tables were already occupied by diners enjoying morning coffee, lunch or brunch but the atmosphere was peaceful and quiet with none of the noisy reverberation of sound we had feared from being in such a large building.
As it was a special occasion we each ordered a glass of prosecco. Now, Ive consumed quite a lot of this particular Italian fizz in recent years but this was truly one of the best ever beautifully chilled, delicious and perfect for a celebration. We asked the waitress for the name Dolci de Collini hoping to buy a couple of bottles from the downstairs deli to take home. Sadly they didnt sell it but keeping a few bottles in stock for satisfied customers might be a good idea in future!
Visiting during the festive season, we were able to select from two menus the everyday brunch/lunch menu and the special Christmas menu offering two courses for 15.95 or three for 19.95.
The Christmas menu looked gorgeous, tempting us with Red Poll rib eye steak, sensibly farmed fillet of salmon and slow roast Aylesbury duck and if wed thought in advance, we might have starved ourselves the night before to do it justice.
But we were really after a lighter lunch and through judicious mixing and matching of the various parts of the menu ended up with a very pleasing selection.
For mains I chose the smoked haddock risotto. Delicious, light and slightly creamy, it was the perfect light lunch dish and I was very glad I had chosen the 7.50 size rather than the 11.50 portion which must have been huge! My friend in the meantime chose parsnip tart with honey mustard dressing. A slightly unusual sounding dish which earned the accolade Gorgeous flavour. Lovely light pastry, while my mother went for the really tasty grilled field mushrooms on toast.
The afters were equally as good and I would gladly go back to the Metfield Caf for its steamed marmalade pudding and whisky custard alone. Im a sucker for comfort puds at the best of times and this one was a humdinger. Lots of moist sponge soaked through with a tangy marmalade sauce and drizzled with creamy custard. My mother in the meantime, waded her way through the most enormous slice of baked raspberry and chocolate brownie cheesecake, so delectable she couldnt bear to leave even a crumb.
My friend went down a different path, selecting a generous slab of Suffolk Gold cheese served with the perfect accompaniments of pickled walnuts and salted red onions.
To finish we ordered coffees and lingered chatting while customers started to arrive for afternoon tea, coffee and mince pies. Many gravitated to the tables directly overlooking the sales floor, able to select their shopping or admire the Emma Bridgewater cake tins while enjoying their refreshments.
Eventually, unable to resist the lure of the shop floor, we happily paid our very reasonable 64 bill and headed down for a bit of retail therapy ourselves.
Fantastic shopping and eating all under one roof! What could be more perfect?
The Metfield Caf is open daily from 10.30am-5.30pm offering everything from coffee and tea, to breakfast, lunch and dinner. It is also open before shows and on some weekend evenings. Call 01728 687980.