Review: Folk Cafe, Fornham St Martin: ‘A buzzing cafe, perfect for a quick coffee, a cracking sandwich or a breakfast treat’
PUBLISHED: 10:36 10 September 2019 | UPDATED: 12:43 10 September 2019
Mark Heath and wife Liz headed to the Folk Cafe in Fornham, near Bury St Edmunds, for a Thursday lunch. Here’s what they made of it...
I've been hearing good things about the folks at Folk for a while, but when world-famous gastro titan Gordon Ramsay was pictured at the cafe on social media last month, I immediately made a review a priority action item.
Mystery still surrounds exactly what big Gordon was doing at the cafe - staff are not allowed to say, other than the fact he was filming in the area - but having perhaps the most famous chef on earth pictured at your eatery has got to be good for business.
I don't know if it was the Ramsay effect, but we actually had to abort our first review attempt on a Friday lunchtime - because there wasn't a seat to be had either inside or out! A very good sign indeed, if frustrating for a pair of hungry reviewers.
Anyway, when we returned the following week there was still a buzz about the place, but luckily enough this time we secured one of their handful of outside tables, perfect to soak up a spot of September sun and let our hound Benson explore.
First important thing to note - Folk is VERY dog friendly, so much so that they have their own dog, an incredibly cute Cockapoo puppy called Edie, who wanders around tables looking to clean up anything which has made its way to the floor.
Indeed, as well as Edie, while we were there, I counted north of ten pooches enjoying the cafe - a massive bonus for dog lovers like us, but something to take into consideration if you're not a fan of having dogs around when you're eating.
Anyway, on that note, let's get to the food. Obviously Folk is a cafe, so the offerings aren't as plentiful as one would expect at a restaurant, but there's still an excellent range of sandwiches, jacket potatoes, cakes, sausage rolls and scotch eggs to choose from.
I went for one of my personal favourite sandwich fillings, Coronation chicken, and was staggered by the amount of options available to me as to how I would like it served - either as a straightforward sandwich, or as a toastie, open on toast or indeed atop one of the aforementioned potatoes.
Oh, and you can take your pick of white, seeded and sourdough bread, all from the much-lauded Wooster's bakery in Bardwell.
When mine arrived, on toasted sourdough, with a dressed salad, it looked very good indeed. It ate well too, meaty chunks of chicken coasted in the creamy, curried Coronation dressing, with the crunch of the bread adding texture and the salad, which boasted, spinach, rocket, raddishes and more, bringing freshness to proceedings.
It was a little messy to eat, but such is life when you're tackling a generously-filled sandwich!
Across the table, and a sucker for nostalgia, Liz plumped for that childhood favourite - a fishfinger sandwich.
But what arrived was significantly more sophisticated than the offerings served up in school days. The breaded fish goujons were fresh and meaty, and were joined in the toasted sandwich with salad leaves and - at Liz's request - tomato ketchup instead of the tartare sauce advertised on the menu. What's not to like?
Service side note here - I'd originally ordered Liz's sarnie on toasted sourdough too, only to be greeted by a very disapproving look when I returned to the table. Back inside I hastened, and was relieved to be told that yes, of course I could change it to white bread. I will make it to my 11th wedding anniversary after all!
Post sandwich, it seemed rude to depart without sampling some of the fine-looking cakes on offer too.
Victoria sponge is one of my many cake-themed weaknesses, so that was an easy pick for me, while Liz has a similar soft spot for carrot cake.
My sponge was beautifully rich and generously filled while Folk's carrot cake offering was tasty, also rich and the portion generous - so much so that Liz had to admit defeat and leave some uneaten.
If we were being critical, one would argue that the sponge was a touch on the dry side in both cases, but certainly not enought to spoil the eating.
Our coffees, too were good - a decaf capuccino for Mrs H (no caffeine after midday lest she go wild in the afternoon) and a full fat latte for me. Excellent.
And thus, with one last pat of any dog in the vicinity which would bid us good day, we were off, well-fed and ready for whatever the afternoon could throw at us.
I can't give you a review here as we visited at lunchtime, but Folk is also getting known for its excellent breakfast offerings.
If you fancy a flashy brekkie but can't be chewed with the washing up, head here for a huge range of options to start your day.
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Folk doesn't serve alcohol, but there's a cracking range of coffee and tea, plus soft drinks on offer.
Our coffees were certainly in the upper tier of cafe quality - smooth and rich.
As already mentioned, Folk is folking popular. You can't book tables either, so there's a touch of jeopardy as to whether you'll be able to eat in or not.
For reference, we were fine at 12 noon on a Thursday on our second visit, but had to slink away at 2pm on a Friday on our first attempt. Folk is open between 8.30am and 4pm, Monday to Friday.
As I've already shared, Folk is very dog friendly, which we loved.
It's also very child friendly, so also great if you're looking for a spot to catch up with fellow parents but, with the dogs and kids combined, be aware that Folk may not be the most relaxing place for a quiet bite!
There's a large car park at the business park where Folk is located, plus a few extra Folk-only spaces in front of the cafe itself.
Parking won't be a problem - finding a table might be!
Our bill, for two sandwiches, two cans of soft drink, two large slices of cake and two coffees, came to just over £30. I'd say that's pretty good - especially for the quality of the offering.
We'd both point to our sandwiches. Point and say they were super.
A buzzing cafe, perfect for a quick coffee, a cracking sandwich or a breakfast treat.
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