You don’t often get restaurants specialising in local produce located on business parks. SARAH BREALEY visits a very unusually located eatery in Mattishall.

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You don’t often get restaurants on business parks, but seven years since it opened, Cafe Verde in Mattishall is proving it can be made to work.

The cafe-restaurant champions local produce and is particularly strong on meat – they have their own butchery where they prepare the joints of meat, make the burgers and their famous sausages.

The free range pork comes from Blythburgh, the beef comes from nearby Scarning and the lamb from Elsing. The eggs come from Mattishall and Dereham.

Inside is bright and modern, while outside there is a pleasant paved area with tables with parasols, plus a few pic-nic tables on the grass overlooking a duck pond.

It might be a business park, but it is right on the edge of Mattishall, and you are more likely to hear birdsong than traffic. There is some play equipment to keep the children entertained, too.

The Real Ale Drinker enjoyed his pint of Woodforde’s Sundew, which was the only real ale on draught, while I had a pot of green tea, orange and lotus flower tea from a positively dizzying selection of herbal teas. There is also a wine list, starting at £11.75 and going up to £25, plus champagne.

We started by sharing a mushroom soup, which was home-made, quite thick, and full of the scent of autumn woods. It was £5.25 and came with slices of fairly basic baguette – perhaps home-made bread could be a new ave-nue for them to explore?

The Real Ale Drinker thought the lamb and mint burger could have been a bit bigger, especially for the price (nearly £10) but its flavour was good. It came with some chips, decent coleslaw and some mixed salad, in which the lettuce was looking a bit sorry for itself.

I had a roast Mediterranean vegetable and mozzarella panini, which came with a slightly less wilted version of the salad and some more coleslaw. I had some chips as a side order, which were rather nice, chunky chips, though again I thought for £2 they could have afforded to be a little more generous.

The evening menu includes steaks, hoisin duck, mushroom stroganoff and more, as well as the burgers. I did think that there might have been more vegetarian options – the daytime menu says “see specials board for vegetarian dishes”, but there weren’t actually any, although you could have sandwiches, panini, omelettes or jacket potatoes from the daytime menu. On Friday and Saturday evenings there are also well-reputed pizzas, with modern rather than traditional Italian toppings (meat feast, Cajun chicken and breakfast pizza are among the options).

On a previous visit we stopped for coffee and cake (they do full meals until 3pm and cake until 5pm, plus dinner until 9pm on Fridays and Saturdays). We enjoyed a piece of chocolate cake and carrot cake, which were quite reasonably priced. On our later visit there were various pastries on offer as well as delicious-looking raspberry scones.

There is an attached “food hall”, where you can buy an impressive range of their meat products, as well as a choice of olive oils, eggs, vegetables and ice-cream. I spotted the tubs of Norfolk Farmhouse Ice-cream, from just a couple of miles up the road in North Tuddenham, and asked if we might consume one of these outside.

They willingly provided a couple of spoons, and we passed a very pleasant half-hour in the sunshine, at the end of which we were very full of ice cream and very happy.

CAFE VERDE

South Green Park

Mattishall

01362 857157

www.cafe-verde.co.uk

Open: Mon-Thurs 9am-5pm, Fri-Sat 9am-late, Sun 9am-11am

Prices: Starters approx £5.25, mains from £8.50

Vegetarian options: Lots

Wheelchair: Yes

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