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Eat My Words: We review The Crafty Cafe at Fulbeck Craft Centre





Who hasn’t fallen into the trap of just going to the same places to eat? It’s nice to have favourites but it’s also nice to try somewhere new.

So when a reader suggested that the Advertiser give The Crafty Cafe at Fulbeck Craft Centre a try for an Eat My Words review, and I found myself not too far away one sunny Saturday, I thought why not? Heading down country roads, the craft centre is signposted and easy to find.

Driving through the gates and into the small car park was a challenge in a relatively large car but my husband Richard managed to park up and we went into a delightful gravelled courtyard with bunting flapping in the breeze and surrounded by stone buildings.

The Crafty Cafe at Fulbeck Craft Centre
The Crafty Cafe at Fulbeck Craft Centre

As it was such a lovely day - and those have been relatively rare so far this ‘summer’ - we decided on a spot outside with the menus on a clipboard on the table. I tried to concentrate despite being distracted by the trinkets in the window of the shop nearby - I’m like a magpie for a shiny item and often wander off into independent gift shops.

A perfect spot for brunch or lunch, I mentally banked the fact they serve brunch until 3pm but wasn’t overly in the mood for it on this particular occasion. My husband and I both selected a sandwich, with my husband choosing a milkshake to drink from the board on the table, and I headed inside to order. So far so good.

The lunch menu
The lunch menu
The sandwich menu
The sandwich menu

Inside, the barn-style building has low ceilings and little nooks and crannies, with a small deli near the till and a stunning array of cakes in a glass cabinet. It was at this point I spotted a chalkboard above the till with specials and, despite the glorious weather outside, I immediately had my head turned by a Yorkshire pudding wrap with roast beef, horseradish and gravy.

My husband had selected a bacon, brie and cranberry sandwich and although the menu said these were available as toasted sandwiches, it wasn’t offered to us by the server (although he did ask what kind of bread he’d like).

I chose a refreshing can of Fanta Lemon from the fridge and I ordered a chocolate orange milkshake. “It’ll be a hot chocolate,” came the reply from the server.

I was perplexed — there’s a menu on the table with a selection of milkshakes on it. I explained this.

The chocolate and orange milkshake
The chocolate and orange milkshake

“We only do hot chocolate,” said the server.

“OK….” I said and paid for what I’d ordered.

Heading back outside, I spotted a gelato shop on the craft centre and headed there to see what the score was.

“Oh yes — we’re the ones that do the milkshakes,” the woman behind the counter said. It was a little confusing to say the least but I paid for the milkshake and headed back to the table.

The waitress from the cafe arrived with our cutlery and my can of drink, except she’d brought a can of Fanta Orange. She placed it on the table and then quickly swooped it back up again, heading back inside for a lemon without a word.

The sun was shining and this patchwork of niggles wasn’t going to stop us enjoying our lunch.

The milkshake arrived next to the table and was met with a seal of approval from my husband — although I’m not entirely sure chocolate orange with a bacon and brie sandwich is a good fit.

Then finally our sandwiches. There was a little handful of salad with a dressing and some crisps with the bacon and brie sandwich. It made the plate look full and appetising.

The Yorkshire pudding wrap
The Yorkshire pudding wrap
The brie, bacon and cranberry sandwich
The brie, bacon and cranberry sandwich

My Yorkshire pudding wrap had no gravy but instead had rocket inside. I didn’t mind the omission enough to query it but it did mean it was slightly dry overall. A bit more horseradish, or the gravy that was promised on the menu, would have made the world of difference. I also wondered if represented particularly good value for money at £12.95.

My husband enjoyed the first half of his sandwich but, when it came to the second half, he complained the bread was a little stale, so much so he left some of it.

After we’d finished our lunches, we took the time to wander around the craft centre. I particularly liked The Old Coach House Store — the gift shop that had caught my eye earlier — and a jewellery shop. There was also a pottery shop running adverts to paint your own pottery and a leaflet advertised an upcoming Artisan Market on July 13.

Advertising an upcoming event
Advertising an upcoming event

I would definitely return to Fulbeck Craft Centre but it would be the shops that would draw me back rather than The Crafty Cafe. I can imagine The Old Coach House is stunning at Christmas time and I’d definitely keep it in mind.

Eat My Words, a review
Eat My Words, a review

All in all, it was fine for a lunch but I definitely don’t feel I’ve discovered a gem of a food location that would keep me coming back. The reader that recommended we give it a go though couldn’t disagree with me more, saying it has “great food and excellent service”. She told me afterwards that she always takes visiting friends there as the menu varies and they do special theme nights. Maybe I should give one of these a go?

Out of five:

Food: It was fine cafe food — it was neither outstanding, nor terrible. ***

Drink: It feels harsh to rate a Fanta Lemon but my husband thought his milkshake was “delicious”. I’m knocking a star off for the confusion over where to order it though ****

Decor: The courtyard was beautiful and, from what I saw inside, it looked cosy and clean. ****

Staff: Friendly enough but the confusion over the milkshake left me a little meh. ***

Price: I’m not overly sure I felt my wrap was worth £12.95 but I am willing to pay for a treat — my husband’s milkshake set us back £6.50. The total bill to £29 for two sandwiches and two drinks. ***



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