Hockey's Farm, North Gorley, Hampshire
By Alan Russell
What A Shame
Hockey’s Farm is in an idyllic location in terms of its rural ambience and attractiveness. It is not so good for access unless you are either local or are passing trade who has been persuaded that its reputation is strong enough to draw you away from the main roads around the western end of the New Forest.
We went there for a late light breakfast on a Sunday morning in mid-summer. The main food area is called ‘The Farmyard Cafe’ and seats about thirty covers. There is also ample seating dotted around the site for those wanting to eat al fresco. In the cafe is the kitchen which is clearly visible from the customer area.
The place did not look busy when we arrived.
We ordered baked beans on toast, a bacon bap, a bottled fruit juice and a coffee. Both of the drinks were served almost instantly. There then followed a discussion behind the serving counter during which a member of the team remonstrated with the young man who served us about not charging the right price for our fruit drink. Her final comment was about how because of his error they were not going to make any profit on our order.
I prevented my wife from proffering the value of the undercharge.
Following that real life and embarrassing drama we waited, waited some more, finished both our drinks and waited a bit longer. As the last grounds in the coffee mug settled and silted its bottom our food arrived.
The baked beans were in the best tradition of IKEA. Four half slices of processed bread, two pats of foil wrapped butter and a bowl of hot baked beans. The only thing missing was a diagram and a set of instructions on how to construct the dish. Without instructions, a diagram and any domestic stress we managed to build ‘baked beans on toast’. Half the pleasure of a bacon bap on a sunny Sunday morning is the sensation of melted butter escaping from its breaded cavern in a trickle yellow lava down your chin and fingers. What was in front of me was a bacon bap in the truest sense of the word. A bap sliced in two encasing a couple of rashers of bacon.
What a shame that our first visit Hockey’s Farm did not create a good impression with us. They can’t say they were busy as any form of excuse for slow service; they weren’t. As for charging the wrong price then yes, tell the person who made the mistake but in a quiet way away from where the customers and other members of staff can hear. After that is done put something in place so the same mistake doesn’t happen again.
On the plus side not only is there an eatery on site but there is a farm shop, second hand shop, horse feeds and a small display of animals that visitors can get close and personal with. As I mentioned earlier, there is ample parking. The site is quite level so anyone with mobility problems should be able to get around without too much difficulty.
Unfortunately it will be sometime before we return.