It might have been teeming down with rain, but Goats on the Roof at Fontburn still managed to look like a haven of tranquillity.
Tucked away in the middle of the countryside about 15 minutes outside Rothbury, the coffee shop has recently changed ownership and is back up and running for the summer.
And while the menu might be a little limited, the experience is not, although, sadly goats are currently not on the roof.
The living sedum roof has been relaid , but it needs to grow as lush as possible for the goats to go up and play.
But you can still see the goats in the field, the cows on the drive up to the coffee shop and sheep out on the veranda.
And while on the veranda, the views are stunning – even in the rain and fog.
Overlooking the Fontburn reservoir and out to the vast expanse of countryside, you could while away an afternoon sat outside.
For parents with young children, it is also ideal.
Not only do they serve animal-shaped sandwiches, which of course include a goat, but they have an area set up just for kids, pun intended, with a toddler-height table and chairs, an easel for drawing, numerous books and wooden toys. It means parents can enjoy a meal knowing that their child is occupied.
It is also a haven for walkers and cyclists who want a nice stop for refuelling before they carry on their tours of Coquetdale.
And, of course, the food is just as good as the rest.
While the new owners are settling in – and I guess because they are only open for business at the weekends – the menu is quite limited but what they do, they do well.
Goats on the Roof serves a small selection of breakfast-type items, sandwiches, paninis, quiche, soup, cakes and scones alongside soft drinks and hot beverages.
Needing sustenance after a very early morning with a toddler, I opted for a BLT (bacon lettuce and tomato) sandwich while my cousin, who was visiting for the weekend, chose the cheese and tomato panini (both £4.50).
And for the youngster we could look no further than the animal-shaped sandwiches with a ham and cheese filling (£2.95).
The specials board also featured homemade quiches with salad and coleslaw as well as soup and beans on toast.
The food arrived quickly and was nicely presented.
My BLT came in a lovely, soft, poppy seed knot roll, with fresh salad and freshly-cooked bacon with a smidge of mayonnaise.
It was served with a pot of delicious coleslaw and a bowl of crisps – all of which were devoured. It’s possibly the best BLT I have ever had.
The panini across the table also seemed to be going down well. It was oozing with cheese and came with a side salad and crisps.
But the star of the show had to be the little one’s sandwiches. A pig, sheep and a goat on a plate decorated with little cherry tomatoes and cucumber.
While the sandwiches were enough for us, we had spied the cakes on our way in and decided it would be rude not to try them.
With a bit of a sweet tooth, the chocolate fudge cake was my choice, while my dining partner decided on the Victoria sandwich cake. Other options included scones, tray bakes and toasted teacakes.
We’d only just returned from ordering them at the counter when they were presented at the table.
The chocolate cake was gooey, rich and very moreish. It was a triple-layered with two layers of buttercream and topped with chunks of brownie. It came with a blob of squirty cream and was divine.
And the same could be said of the Victoria sponge. Filled with jam and buttercream, it was served with a little jug of pouring cream.
It was soft and moist and again delicious.
Both cakes were clearly homemade and while we struggled to finish them, a certain little toddler managed to clear our plates.
The customer service we received was also top-notch.
While there were only a few members of staff, they were very friendly, polite, helpful and even spent time playing with the little one, despite having other customers.
Goats on the Roof is a great place to visit for families with young children.
It’s a hidden gem and I hope the new owners manage to make it very successful.
It is certainly on my list of regular places to visit with kids.
LOCAL FOOD AND GOATS TO GO BACK ON ROOF
At present, Goats on the Roof is only open at weekends until October when the summer season comes to an end.
It was bought by pharmacist Jessica Taylor, from Ponteland, when she bought Fontburn Farm with her fiance.
And while it has a good children’s area inside, there is also a play area outside for youngsters to enjoy.
A lot of the food is supplied by Rothbury Bakery and most importantly it is hoped that the goats will be back on the roof within the next month or so for visitors to enjoy the full experience.
SELECTION FROM THE MENU
Scrambled egg on toast......£3.50
PANINIS AND TOASTIES
Ham and cheese......£4.50
Cheese, tomato and onion......£3.95
Tuna and cheese melt......£4.50
Tuna mayonnaise with lettuce and cucumber......£4.25
Prawn marie with lettuce and cucumber......£4.50
Children’s animal sandwiches (cheese, ham or egg)......£2.95
Quiche with salad......£4.95
Soup and roll......£3.95
Quality of food......9
Value for money......8
Use of local food......9
Access for disabled (a few steps to climb)......4
Toilet for disabled......yes
Verdict: A lovely coffee shop in a brilliant location.
Contact: 01669 621 739