Decent coffee, home-made food AND gorgeous gifts... let me introduce you to a charming new rural eaterie
Decent coffee, fresh and wholesome food and a warm welcome… If you like the sound of that then let me introduce you to your favourite new rural café. Have you discovered Hamerton + Jones yet? It opened just a couple of weeks ago in Goudhurst and it has spoonfuls of everything mentioned above, as well as quirky local gifts all under one roof. Come on, go grab me a hot chocolate with all the bits, while I show you around…
Now if you don’t know Goudhurst that well, this café has taken the place of the old Vintage Room & Café. The village is incredibly pretty but a bit of a cut through to put it mildy so this is not the kind of eatery that you lazily pull into as you happen upon it by chance because it’s on a narrow busy bit of lane. But no bother, the very next turning after it on Balcombes Hill, as you head towards the village, has a FREE car park where there’s always plenty of spaces. From here, it’s less than a minutes’ walk around the corner.
Run by Kali and Sarah two friendly, local ladies who love all things creative, this has that perfect blend of rustic chic that I love. Inside you’ll find a local clientelle that bridges every generation and has a warm friendly fuzzy feeling that all good community cafés should have.
And the food? The menu, like the venue, is small and perfectly formed. With everything from basic soft boiled eggs and soldiers (£5) to surely the dish of the moment – smashed avocado, poached egg and chilli flakes. I went for quiche and salad (£7) and it was delicious – just to be clear when I say salad, we’re not talking a bit of iceberg on the side here but proper mouth-watering couscous, pinenuts and mango. Mr Muddy likes the home-made Sissinghurst Pigs Sausage Roll (£6.50 with salad), from a local supplier of that very same name.
Yup. Highchairs are available, along with toys and books. Both the owners mentioned to me that they have kids of their own (of various ages) so they understand the needs of mums. If you have particularly tantrum-y toddlers, eating here might make you nervous because it’s intimate and cosy. Providing your dog isn’t caked in mud, and reasonably well behaved, they’ll be very welcome too. The owners are installing a bowl and hook outside as well so it’s definitely a possible pit stop after a doggie walk.
OUT & ABOUT
Goudhurst, one of Kent’s highest villages, is great for walks and offers amazing views across the Weald. Grab your kids, dog, girlfriends and do a circular walk around the village and here’s one I’ve personally tried out (because I’m kind like that). I walked through the church grounds to avoid a busy part of the road that has no footpath – you might want to do the same. A fab little find to add to your arsenal of perfect walk/lunch combos.
Well that’s a bit of the great outdoors and tasty refreshments ticked off the list. What else constitutes the perfect outing? Ah yes, shopping. So, what are you in the market for? Antlers wearing necklaces? Ostrich feather dusters? These are the cute and quirky wares on offer as well as some sparkly jewellery (from local designer Rikke Line) and a great selection of greeting cards from hh designs (I stocked up). I’ll be keeping this place in mind for last minute birthday gifts when I want something special but can’t face the trip into town.
THE MUDDY VERDICT
Good for: a cute, little rural café with a chic urban vibe to enjoy with friends or family. A cycling/walking refreshment stop or perfect for grabbing last minute gorgeous birthday gifts. Somewhere to go for a relaxed girlie lunch or when you can’t face feeding yourself/your other half/the kids. A lovely little modern curiosity shop.
Not for: Big groups – it’s an intimate cosy affair, or anyone with kids who just can’t sit still (unless maybe you’ve exhausted them with a decent walk first) as there’s no outdoor area. And also not for anyone without four/two wheels (unless you live in the village of course) – Goudhurst is a very rural spot.
The damage: It’s fairly priced for home cooking this good. Cakes start at around £2, lunch around the £6 – £7 mark.
Hamerton+Jones, West Road, Goudhurst, Kent TN17 1AB, Tel: 01580 211846, hamertonjones.com