Beckett’s Farm Shop and Restaurant, Wythall
Right on the edge of Birmingham – in fact, just outside Birmingham proper and in the green fields of Worcestershire – is Beckett’s Farm Shop and Restaurant. After leaving the city, which always amazes me with its ability to turn from crowded suburbia to rolling green fields across the course of a single roundabout, it is only a short drive further to Beckett’s Farm.
The actual building is superbly unprepossessing, a long low modern brick building designed for practical purpose rather than architectural merit, and is set in a large car park which wraps around a series of large warehouses and industrial units; after you have had breakfast, you can order a bespoke sofa, pick up some golfing equipment, or visit the discount warehouse, currently pushing garden furniture at bargain basement prices. But the attractions here are inside, so that is where we headed.
Inside, the restaurant is spacious and – on a Sunday morning – absolutely heaving with people. On the advice of friends who had visited before, I booked a table, and I’d advise anyone to do the same; it might have been fairly empty when we arrived at ten o clock, but by half past nearly every table was full. The restaurant is simply decorated, with plain wooden painted chairs and tables, and large photographs of farmers at work decorate the walls. The key branding message – this is an old established family-run business – blares at you in large red letters high above you.
The breakfast menu offers a range of classic English options, from products sourced locally. The sausages come from a farm in Kidderminster, the eggs hail from Tardebridge, bacon comes from Stourbridge, and the bread is made in the onsite bakery. There is a full range of tasty sounding egg-based dishes from eggs Benedict, to salmon and scrambled eggs, to omlette, but the main attraction here is the full English, or ‘Old Faithful’. The Old Faithful itself is a hefty portion, combining 2 eggs, 2 sausages, 2 bacon, tomato, toast, mushrooms, fried potatoes, fried bread, and baked beans. This is an excellent breakfast, especially for £7.95.
But if you are in a group, you can order it as a ‘Harvester Family Platter’, which comes as a combination platter to help yourself from, really highlighting what a mammoth amount of food is on the plate here (and with added hash browns). Each person can have eggs as they choose, and then fill your plate from the main platter. This is perfect if you – like us – have a range of people who object to some elements of the full English. Rather than passing mushrooms, bacon, tomatoes and more around from plate to plate, each person takes only what they want from the main platter.
Eggs were perfectly poached, everything was piping hot, and as noted, it was exceptionally plentiful. However, you will find higher quality individual ingredients elsewhere; the food was solidly tasty, with nothing to criticise, but no individual ingredients to inspire either.
A final note on the food: as part of the harvester platter, drinks are included in the price, so at a set price for the food you see above of £28.50 and drinks for 3 people, this is a very reasonable breakfast. We easily had enough food for a fourth person as well, which would bring the individual price down further.
Toilets were disappointingly dingy and dated looking, and one toilet cubicle had a floor covered with what appeared to be rabbit food.
The real enticement of Beckett’s farm for breakfast is the farm shop. Here you can buy anything and everything you need for your Sunday roast, from a well-stocked grocery, to the Beckett’s farm butchery, and their own bakery. We were assured by the butcher that the beef we bought ‘won’t shrink – our beef is real beef!’, and in the fridges you can pick up game packs for a pie, or a brace of pheasants. The interim shelves are rammed with ‘farm shop’ products, from every kind of jam and chutney imaginable, to local craft beers, and more.
Price: mid range: £28.50 for the Harvester family platter, including drinks, at £9.50 each if 3 eating. £7.95 for the standard full English
Atmosphere and design: practical and plain, filled with visual reminders of the local sources for the food on offer
Food: classic English dishes, with the emphasis on locally sourced and produced ingredients
Toilets: drab and dingy
Enjoyment:worth a trip out of town, especially if visiting the farm shop as well. Don’t forget to book!