The best steak I have ever eaten, in 30 years on the planet, was served at a garden centre just off the A57.
It was rare, as I had ordered, juicy, beautifully flavoured and all 8oz of it perfect.
It was steak so good, I had to let others in our dining party sample it.
To say it was served in a garden centre might be somewhat of an injustice to the venue – the Greenbean Coffee Shop, at Todwick’s Greenscene Side Farm.
Just eight miles from Worksop, and a couple of minutes from the M1, the farm hosts a landscaping business, nursery and a lovely little cafe.
It’s may be in an ideal location, but it is not, however, the kind of cafe you can just pop into when the feeling takes you.
Greenbean is only open for evening meals on a Friday, for their weekly bistro night.
We arrived around 6.30pm, lucky enough to book a table earlier in the day, and having heard good things about the food, expectations were high.
The cafe is in a fairly narrow log cabin, so it doesn’t require too many customers to make a nice atmosphere, but tables evenly spaced out and you don’t sit on top of the next table.
The shared anti pasti starter (£10.95, or £5.95 for one diner) got the evening off to a fine start, with chunks of ciabatta bread, various cured meats, a generous portion of olives and oils.
Elsewhere on the table, a soup of the day offering (£4.25) looked and apparently tasted fantastic.
But it was the arrival of the 28 day aged 8oz fillet of beef (£22.95) that turned the experience from pleasant to spectacular.
While all around me were tucking into what they reported to be an excellent lemon and thyme chicken wrapped in parma ham dish (£11.95), I was savouring each and every mouthful of the steak.
The bed of spinach and spring onions swam in a beef jus, and the dauphinoise potatoes were as good as any I’ve ever tasted.
A side portion of vegetables were crisp and fresh, and all the flavours on the plate worked well together.
With just a small number of dishes on the menu, it’s clear the maestro in the kitchen focuses on the making those dishes excellent, with the quality of the ingredients evident.
Three desserts put the exclamation mark on the meals.
An apple and blackberry pie, treacle tart and chocolate and raspberry brownie were all homemade and all fantastic.
Throughout the meal the staff were attentive, engaging and warm – only too happy to field the machine gun style questioning of a bold four-year-old, or respond to our requests.
One small downside was the need to ‘bring your own’ due to the lack of an alcohol license, but it’s no more than a slight inconvenience for most, and some may prefer to drink their own favourite beverages.
It’s perhaps not somewhere you’d think to take a family for a quick meal, but the venue had no problems with our two small children.
It is, however, the kind of place you would spend an evening, as the staff were in no rush to get rid of us once we’d finished the three courses.
Had the weather allowed, we would have loved to have dined outside, alas it was a bitterly cold May evening.
During the rest of the week the coffee shop is open for trade, promising hot and cold drinks, homemade cakes and freshly cooked meals, including a full English breakfast.
But Greenscene Side Farm’s best in show is undoubtedly their Friday night bistro.
by Graham Smyth