What better way to spend a Saturday afternoon than to wander around the charming Welbeck Estate.
It was a crisp winter’s day but the sun had taken the chill out of the air as my partner Liam and I approached the Limehouse Cafe.
We sat outside on one of the picnic style tables. It was a good job too, because inside the cafe was full to bursting.
Right next to the Harley Gallery, the Limehouse Cafe is modern yet cosy. Stepping inside you are greeted straight away by the aroma of fresh coffee and home made food.
The building itself harks back to its previous life as part of a 19th Century gasworks, built by the fifth Duke of Portland.
It was used to store limes which purified the gas used to light the Duke’s famous network of tunnels beneath the Welbeck Estate.
Sitting at our picnic bench, we perused the menu which had only sandwiches and drinks on it.
They sounded delicious, with fillings like honey glazed Welbeck ham, smoked salmon and cream cheese, and Stichelton blue cheese and pear (all £5.95).
But our taste buds were more tempted by the offerings of the specials board.
I chose the terrine of chicken, pork, spinach, apricot and pistachios, wrapped in streaky smoked bacon (£7.95).
Liam, who goes weak at the knees for cheese, opted for the Limehouse ploughman’s platter (£8.50).
We washed it down with a pot of tea.
Our food took around 10 minutes to arrive, and it looked beautiful when it did.
My terrine was a sight to behold - layers of meat interlaced with spinach and juicy apricots and jewelled with colourful pistachio nuts.
The side salad even looked appetising – and I’m not a salad fan.
Sadly I didn’t get the explosion of flavours I was expecting. The terrine needed more seasoning to bring out its mild flavours.
But with the help of the fantastic salad I managed to clear my plate.
Liam’s ploughman’s came served on a wood platter. There were huge chunks of cheese – Lincolnshire and Stichelton, a blue cheese made at Welbeck by master cheese maker Joe Schneider.
They were served with soda bread, oat biscuits, sticky figs and two tasty chutneys – spicy tomato and Wensleydale.
Despite there being too much for Liam to finish, we bought more Stichelton from the Welbeck Farm Shop afterwards.
Paying at the till, I was asked if everything had been OK. I said it had, but that I wished I’d had room for a slice of cake from their amazing selection.
There’s always next time.
by Hayley Gallimore
Star rating HHHH