The Farmhouse (West Malling)

It’s New Years Eve and everybody wants to do something a little special and exciting for the night. It’s a chance to get a little bit more glam and have a memory with an experience of what you did to bring in 2016.

So my partner, his sister and her partner and their parents went to The Farmhouse in West Malling. We’ve gone there before and knew it to be a really good and enjoyable place and as we managed to get a table booked for 9pm it was perfect to head towards the New Year.

We took the 30 minutes, or so, walk there and back meaning anybody that wanted to have a drink could. But it was also nice to get out into the fresh air, have chats and just relax. The place ended up closing before midnight but that meant that as the clocks struck for 2016 we were walking along and able to see so many fireworks in the distance. Being by the side of a road, overlooking a field with fireworks beyond it and in good company was actually magical in its own way.

Because of a stack of medication I’m on I wasn’t able to drink alcohol so instead I had two mocktails. Both were very nice and enjoyable as they were balanced between sweet, fruity and refreshing too.

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The second was probably my favourite as amaretto is one of my go to alcohols so being able to have it as a syrup in a mocktail was great as it made me feel like I fitted in more and was super tasty (and a bit more interesting than a standard soft drink).

Neither of them messed around too much with my palette either when it came to having something to eat. I’m normally fairly quick to decide what to eat when looking at a menu but I struggled quite a lot. After finding out that the seasonal vegetables were bean (and therefore allergy free), swede and turnip free I went for the steak and guiness pie with seasonal vegetables on the side.

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When it arrived I was amazed. I absolutely love the little copper style pans and one day, when I’m much older, I hope to have some of them hanging down from a shelf. I was wondering to begin with how the pie was going to arrive and if the pastry would be all the way around or just layered on top in that ‘modern’ (or perhaps lazy cooking?) way.

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Actually though this is one of those times when I was super pleased it was just a small round cooked and added to the top as the pie itself was rich and filling enough without added buttery and flaky goodness. The dish was filled to the brim with steak, mushroom, onions and the guiness sauce. It was cooked fabulously as the sauce was thick but not gloopy and every mouthful was full of flavour and good seasoning. With a walk back planned on a possible cold, grey or even rainy night I was pleased to have something so warming and comforting inside my.

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The vegetables that came with the pie were brilliant as well. The mini carrots, roasted parsnip, sprouts, curly kale and new potatoes were each done to perfection and still had there own unique, fresh and fullfilling flavours. They really helped to cut through the richness of the pie whilst also making it feel even more comforting and delightful.

I don’t think a New Years Eve meal out would be complete without a pudding though. Even though I was slightly overwhelmed by the seemingly neverending richness of the pie I was super tempted by the apple crumble and custard on the menu.

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Luckily the crumble wasn’t that large and made eating it managable. It was extremely hot, as apple fillings tend to be, but the top had managed to remain crunchy and as small particles rather than forming into the soggy mess we all dread from an apple crumble. The only thing that saddened me was having to eat half of it before I could put more than a quarter of the custard on. If I am going to have custard then I want it all! The custard itself was very creamy and not quite as rich as some custards are but it helped to keep the dish balanced and allowed the apples, cinnamon and other flavours to burst through.

A delightful meal and evening out in a great atmosphere. Certainly a welcoming in of the year to be remembered and enjoyed for a long time to come.

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