Review: Holy Cow Café
by Jess Carter
09 August 2018
An impressive contacts book of local artisan makers is kept at this sweet little countryside café
Gosh, it’s nice to get out of the city sometimes, isn’t it? Negotiating those country roads (which was not helped by my mate’s “imagine if there was a car coming the other way now,” as we squeezed down a long and narrow, hedge-lined lane), is a price worth paying for a bit of a change of scene and a reminder that life exists outside of the urban chaos many of us call home.
This little café might not be on your radar – but we’ll forgive you. Set on a centuries-old farm in the village of Chilcompton, it’s probably not widely known among city-dwellers. Locals, it seems, aren’t missing a trick, though.
Family run, this place has a rustic farmhouse vibe, but with a well-balanced contemporary edge; walls are covered in whitewashed wooden boards and low-hanging bulbs glow overhead. The focal piece is an illustrated cow on the far wall, sporting a halo and echoing the sense of fun and creativity that you can also spy in the food.
Several big bowls of colourful homemade salads sit on the counter, alongside one heck of a collection of sweet bakes, both homemade and from nearby makers The Pudding Kitchen and Griffin’s Cakes. This is far from the only locally made produce you’ll spot here, though; bread comes from Hobbs House, sausage rolls from Little Jack Horners, and milk and cream from Midway Farm Dairy, just for instance.
Breakfast includes everything from French toast with bacon and maple syrup to avo on toast, and even breakfast burgers, while lunch involves those fresh salads, homemade burgers and quiches, sarnies and a few specials.
A glass of pale, crisp rosé (great news – they do booze too!) and an iced vanilla coffee were soon followed by a sausage roll with salads and the ‘deluxe’ burger (both £8.75).
The chilli and pork-filled pastry had a lovely balance of sweetness and heat, and was joined by salads of cabbage cashew and mango; carrot tahini and hazelnut; cucumber and dill; and pasta, pumpkin and pesto. The cucumber and dill affair, with that tangy gherkin-like flavour, was especially good to cut through the rich pork, and the cabbage had a moreish savouriness thanks to the cashew. The burger, which arrived in a soft, toasted Hobbs brioche roll, was made with good-quality, lean beef (so I was told by my pal, anyway; I didn’t get a look in).
A gorgeous-looking lime and coconut cake (£3.45 a slice), decorated by curls of coconut flakes, was light and zesty, while the Bruce Bogtrotter creation, topped with marshmallows, nuts and salted caramel (also £3.45), was as chocolatey and indulgent as Bruce’s original from Matilda – albeit far more handsome looking.
Fresh, good-quality café food, friendly service and a pretty garden (overlooking a 15th century church) makes The Holy Cow a really good shout if you’re after a change of scene and some lovely lunchtime scran.
The Holy Cow Café, Manor Farm, Church Lane, Chilcompton BA3 4HP; 01761 410497