Food review: Sunday lunch didn’t hit the spot for our reviewer at Jimmy’s Farm, Wherstead

Review Jimmy's Farm March 2017. This plate of roast beef was a bit mean on the meat and needed bette

Review Jimmy's Farm March 2017. This plate of roast beef was a bit mean on the meat and needed better spuds and some greens to elevate it. 7/10 - Credit: Archant

Charlotte Smith-Jarvis doesn’t quite find the dream Sunday lunch she was hoping for at Jimmy’s Farm, on the outskirts of Ipswich.

Review Jimmy's Farm March 2017. A tasty pork Wellington, but where are the veg and potatoes?

Review Jimmy's Farm March 2017. A tasty pork Wellington, but where are the veg and potatoes? - Credit: Archant

Atmosphere

The restaurant at Jimmy’s is absolutely perfect for families (who are, after all, the key demographic). The bunting and fairy-light draped barn eaterie is huge and has plenty of room for parking buggies. While a funky soundtrack played in the background, it was nice to hear the buzz of families, children and babies enjoying their food and chatting. A fab vibe that’s really quite unique.

Food

I last ate here about three years ago and had a memorable lunch that included the most tender beef rillettes and pickled baby beets, plus a mouth-puckeringly good lemon meringue pie. I’d been wanting to come back for an age to try the Sunday lunch.

Review Jimmy's Farm March 2017. Our reviewer said this was one of the best sticky toffee puddings sh

Review Jimmy's Farm March 2017. Our reviewer said this was one of the best sticky toffee puddings she'd eaten in a while - light, not too sweet and not overly rich. 10/10 - Credit: Archant

We skipped starters and decided to pig out (sorry) on Jimmy’s pork scratchings, which we had high hopes for - the farm is known for its rare breed animals after all. The wait was a bit excessive (around 45 minutes) but the scratchings certainly lived up to the hype. They weren’t chewy and bone-crunching like some, and had a good wedge of flavoursome fat to them. Loved the vinegar-spiked apple sauce on the side, which cut through the grease.

Another long wait followed before we were served our main courses. I’d been building myself up to this. I wanted rare meat, lashings of gravy, fluffy spuds, bright greens. But, sadly, I have to say on this occasion the restaurant missed the mark a bit. It was busy, which could explain away some of this, but I still felt a little cheated. The roast beef, although tasty, was cut exceptionally thin (almost like that pre-sliced stuff - which it wasn’t), and was pretty much brown all the way through. Where was the succulent, melting pink middle I’d been dreaming of?

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Roasties had spent far too long either sitting, or under a hot plate and were difficult to cut and rather chewy – a shame.

The parsnips were nicely done, though. And the Yorkshire was blooming massive and tasty. But the star of the show was the gloopy, butter-fed, caramelised mass of crushed carrots, swede and butternut squash. With better spuds, some greens to brighten the plate, and either thicker cuts of, or more meat (after all, this is meant to be the star of the show here) it could have been a good lunch.

My husband’s pork Wellington was nicely cooked. Tender, very flavoursome pork fillet, its sweetness rounded by earthy mushrooms.

However, the peppercorn sauce was lacklustre. While the consistency was good, and there was a background of booze, it needed a bit more welly on the pepper front. If you’re going to serve peppercorn sauce, be fierce with the seasoning – give it some phwoar!

The portion of Wellington was really rather small considering, at £14.50, its only accompaniment was a tablespoon or so of kale, a smear of onion puree and some sauce. Roasties and other veg had to be ordered at £3.50 each, which, if you wanted both, took the price of this plate up to a staggering £21.50!

Desserts on all fronts were excellent. I plumped for the sticky toffee pudding and it was one of the nicest I’ve had for a long time. The sponge was dense but not too rich, and had a light touch to it. It was also just the right side of sweet. A plentiful bourbon sauce over the top didn’t hold back on the booze front. And the ice cream melded it all together.

Review Jimmy's Farm March 2017. Our reviewer said this white chocolate blondie couldn't be bettered.

Review Jimmy's Farm March 2017. Our reviewer said this white chocolate blondie couldn't be bettered. 10/10 - Credit: Archant

Hubby’s white chocolate blondie was equally appreciated. Chewy, moreish and gooey, with the requisite crackle on top, he devoured it quicker than you can say “cake”.

Drinks

A good, concise menu including local beer and bubbles from Adnams. Mr Jarvis had a pint and I ordered the yummy sounding prosecco with blackberries and vodka. I’d expected a jammy, fruity cocktail with a kick. But it was strangely astringent and sour from the berries, which gave it a sharpness that lacked any real fruit flavour. It needed sweetness badly.

Service

Although busy, service was courteous. We would have appreciated to know about the long waiting times as we went in (especially as we had pre-booked), but the staff were obviously keeping an eye, as an effort was made to come and tell us when our food was nearly ready.

Pricing

Three courses on a Sunday would set you back about £27 if you had a roast. For that price I really would expect bigger pieces of meat and a more rounded selection of vegetables – all cooked well. Mid-week the most expensive main is £12, which is reasonable.

Loos

Busy, so not the prettiest in Suffolk, but functional and clean.

Location

A haven for families, Jimmy’s Farm has lots of lovely furry friends to visit and a woodland walk, making it an ideal spot for an afternoon out. We stocked up on meat for the week in the butchery, which was surprisingly less expensive than we expected. You have to buy a pack of sausages to take home.

Parking

There’s loads.

Overall

I can’t help thinking that at a less busy time the accompaniments to my beef would have been better. But a little bit of thought needs to go into the pricing structure of main dishes that don’t have garnishes. If a plate needs carbs and veg, put them on the plate, charge for them there!

I want to go back to Jimmy’s to give it another go during the week, as I did have fond memories of the place. I’m hoping it hits the mark on that occasion and that we just happened to visit on the wrong day.

Jimmy’s Farm’s executive head chef Jon Gay says: “We’re pleased that you chose to come on a Sunday lunchtime which gave you the opportunity to see why our roasts are so popular and why families love a special meal at the farm.

“We take on board all feedback and are glad that our service was courteous and informative. Any feedback given during your time at the table is gratefully received and we act upon it immediately. Please do come back and try our menu from Monday-Saturday which is a different eating experience.”

Have you read our review of the Barn Cafe at Alder Carr Farm yet?