Review: Brunch at one of Suffolk’s prettiest cafés
- Credit: Charlotte Smith-Jarvis
I’m not one for breakfast. A night owl by nature, I’m more likely to roll, beached-whale-like, from bed in the morning, than spring forth like a sprightly gazelle.
The closest I’ll get to a daybreak meal is a handful of nuts and seeds, eaten begrudgingly alongside a cup of herbal tea.
Brunch, on the other hand. Well, that’s a whole different kettle of fish, isn’t it? You get a lie-in. More time to fashion something that looks like a hair ‘do’. It’s less about rushing to get something down your gullet to prevent a mid-morning fainting spell (something I’ve been assured by a Prof. Tim Spector podcast I listened to recently is highly unlikely to happen), and more about pleasure.
That’s part and parcel of eating, isn’t it? Pleasure. Yes, we need balance, and to eat healthfully and mindfully, but we also need to switch on the part of our brains that goes ‘ooh, that’s nice’.
Which brings me to Nourish Café in Newbourne, as those are exactly the words I uttered as we turned into the car park off a country lane on a Saturday morning.
One of the things I love best about the Suffolk food scene is you never know what’s just around the corner – and this café, surely, surely one of the cutest (to steal one of my daughter’s most-oft-used phrases) in the county, is proof of that.
It’s the kind of homespun culinary treasure you might accidentally happen upon. After a walk along the Deben maybe. A dip in the sea at Felixstowe. Perhaps a trip to the nearby Katie’s Garden Plant Centre.
- 1 Road near Ipswich flooded as drivers forced to find alternative routes
- 2 Fire breaks out in café near Ipswich town centre
- 3 VW Golf stolen from Ipswich road after thieves take car keys from home
- 4 Window smashed at Ipswich home in spate of attempted burglaries
- 5 Thunderstorms warning upgraded in Suffolk ahead of rain
- 6 Severe delays on A12 as carriageway floods during extreme rainfall
- 7 Car carrying three passengers not wearing seatbelts stopped on A12
- 8 Ex-Town loanee Bonne looks set to depart QPR
- 9 Pub with 'gorgeous views' named one of UK's best waterside drinking spots
- 10 'Tit for tat' attacks driven by gang members vying for position, police say
That’s not to say it’s quiet. By 9.30am, this place was comfortably bustling with dog walkers, cyclists, couples on dates, and families with young children (the tots fascinated by what I think is the café's pet dog, Bear the Frenchie).
Nourish is a bit like one of those boho wedding venues that’s become so fashionable over the last decade. There’s whimsy in its design...the covered, open dining spaces in cartlodge-type buildings bedecked with benches, pastel-coloured reclaimed wire reel tables, blankets and cushions. Lots of nooks and crannies, surrounded by flowers.
At the back is The Nest – a shed (this description doesn’t do it justice) on a raised platform that can be booked for private get-togethers.
And then there’s the main café building itself, which is a visual feast – every corner filled with something to fawn over, be that a dresser laden with teapots, hanging decorative paper fans, or slouchy sofas, begging to be sat on.
A fridge is loaded with Karma drinks and probably the entire Breckland Orchard Posh Pop range.
There are Simply Ice Cream pots to take away.
But your eyes will most inevitably be drawn to the counter of Harvey & Co pastries, and homemade cakes, from Bakewell tarts and brownies, to enormous smoked cheese scones and fist-sized sausage rolls.
We perched ourselves outside in a sunny, sheltered spot, and it wasn’t until two tracks into the inoffensive brunchy morning soundtrack of Paolo Nutini, Fleetwood Mac and the like that my husband realised the café used to be a farm shop many moons ago, one we’d visited loads of times. Well, it was early.
The menu at Nourish is short but sweet. There’s your pick of the counter, plus some unadvertised pretzel bacon buns, but otherwise choose from the menu, propped against the wall outside.
A member of staff (and I have to say here they were all so lovely and genuinely sweet) had told us the menu was reduced because of staffing issues. Usually there are also things like waffles, pancakes and sweetcorn fritters, but I think this is a sensible approach. A menu filled with sustaining, delicious-sounding things which can all be delivered pretty swiftly.
When we visited it included homemade granola with fresh fruit compote and yoghurt, hummus toast with peperonata, toasted pine nuts and basil, sourdough bruschetta with garlic, tomato, mozzarella and pesto, and the Nourish bowl salad.
Drinks arrived first. For him a respectable, and generously-sized mocha. But for me, something naughty. I’ve been trying to follow a low GI diet, allowing myself a treat day, however even I knew a Nutella-infused frappe would likely send my sugar levels into a state of frenzy.
Surprisingly the cool cool drink wasn’t as sweet as I’d expected. It was like sipping on a chilled, liquid Guylian seashell. Stop a moment to consider that. Yes, really very good. So good it’s a bit dangerous for me to know this place exists.
Putting my faith (probably misplaced) in food combining, I sipped the moreish beverage in between bites of brunch – a behemoth slab of soft, crisp-edged, charred sourdough, big enough almost to fill a dinner plate.
It was covered in citrussy smashed avocado, sliced avocado, splodges of chilli jam, toasted seeds, hunks of griddled halloumi and enough smoked streaked bacon to sink a battleship.
Prettified with edible flowers, it felt like a sophisticated, hearty way to set up for the day ahead. One so satisfying I didn’t need lunch...or really even dinner.
Mr Jarvis, who has a much small stomach (literally) than me, struggled to finish his doorstep of toasted sourdough. On his side of the table, the bread had been liberally smothered in a slick of lemony whipped cream cheese and what he reckoned was a whole pack of Pinney’s smoked salmon (which is probably an over exaggeration, but he wasn’t far off).
Final flourishes came in the form of sprinkles of dill, capers and shallots. Pretty as a picture, and packed with flavour.
We did get cakes (a Biscoff millionaire’s and buttery chocolate chip cookie) but had to package them up to go.
What a beautiful place to visit. Find the café on Mill Road in Newbourne, just past Virginia Nurseries. It's walk-ins only apart from group bookings for The Nest.
If you pop in, please be kind. This is a real Suffolk gem, and likely to get busy at weekends (it’s open Wednesday to Saturday from 9am to 3pm), especially in the holidays. Many hospitality businesses such as these are struggling to get in serving staff in the current climate. We didn’t wait very long at all for our food, but my advice to you, if it’s packed, is to bring along a paper or book, and unwind. Your meal will arrive in good time. And when it does, it will be worth the wait!