Brunch may well have just become the very best meal of the day, as Jenny Amphlett discovers at thyme kitchen
Opening a new food business in the midst of a global pandemic is either brave or ambitious. Staffordshire’s newest eating place is both of those – and an inspired move too.
Thyme Kitchen has opened in the former Mabel’s Tearoom, a much-loved 30-year-old business at Curborough Countryside Centre in Lichfield.
Mabel’s was looking unlikely to reopen after lockdown so the owners of Sauce Supper Club stepped in to take it on.
The airy, beamed eating areas will now host the club’s monthly pop up events with guest chefs. The award-winning Tom Shepherd cooked for the first.
The venue is also now the base for Dine at Home with Tom Shepherd – a business that creates and delivers restaurant quality three course meals for people to serve up at home.
Alongside all that, Thyme Kitchen is open from Tuesday to Sunday for breakfasts, brunches and lunches created using locally-sourced seasonal produce.
Thyme Kitchen is located on the outskirts of the cathedral city. There’s lots of free parking and you can combine your meal with a visit to the garden centre or one of the other independent businesses on the site.
We’d booked a table for midday on Sunday, when the menus change from breakfast/brunch to breakfast/lunch. It was bustling, with a mix of families and small groups of friends.
The wood beams and log burner give a cosy feel and the series of interconnected rooms mean that you can almost tuck yourself away.
The tables are spaced well apart, so that you never feel you are too close to anyone other than the loved ones you’re dining with.
I took my 10-year-old daughter along and she was immediately offered a colouring book and crayons to help keep her entertained.
This is a family-friendly venue with a children’s section of the menu, definitely designed with tiny tastebuds in mind.
We started off by ordering drinks. My daughter had great fun reading the alcohol menu. She very much liked the idea of a Bloody Mary (£8) or a Dead Man’s Finger (£4) before turning the menu over and spotting the option of a luxury hot chocolate (£4).
This is a hot chocolate and a half, and possibly a meal in itself for some people. The vast mug was piled high with cream and topped with marshmallows and grated chocolate. I think my little girl’s face may well have been the picture dictionary definition of bliss.
I ordered the rather more sedate pot of Earl Grey (£2.50) which comfortably gave me two cups of tea.
The children’s menu includes the likes of homemade fish finger sandwich (£4), boiled eggs and soldiers (£5) and Little Thyme Kitchen breakfast (£6).
My daughter ordered an adult portion of pancakes with yogurt and berries (but without the yogurt) (£5). Her stack of three pancakes topped with red berry compote was beautifully served and came complete with edible flowers.
I opted for the Persian eggs (£7) and they were without doubt the prettiest poached eggs I’ve seen, let alone eaten.
The eggs were perfectly cooked and oozed when I cut into them. They’d been dusted in a Middle Eastern spice mix called za’atar (I had to look it up). The eggs sat on top of Greek yogurt and a beetroot and mint hummus. They were served with toasted sourdough and the plate was sprinkled with pomegranate seeds.
I love poached eggs but tend to serve them on top of asparagus or a good old slice of toast. Who knew that poached eggs with yogurt and pomegranate would be such a brilliant combination? I’d definitely order Thyme Kitchen’s Persian eggs again, even though there were several other dishes on the menu that caught my attention too.
I had also been tempted by the Shakshouka-style baked eggs (£10) served in a rich tomato, spinach and chorizo sauce with toasted sourdough.
I also liked the sound of the sausage hash (£9) made with Thyme Kitchen’s own recipe sausage, pumpkin, rosemary, spinach, caramelised onions, harissa and two poached eggs on toast.
If we’d have booked for the breakfast menu we could have sampled the full English breakfast (£12) or the vegan breakfast (£9.50).
There’s also no reason why you can’t indulge in breakfast or brunch pudding. We were too full by that point but we could have chosen lemon and thyme loaf (£4) or even a warm hazelnut and chocolate brownie (£5).
There is an old saying that you should breakfast like a king. I reckon you should brunch like a king too.
- Thyme Kitchen, Curborough Countryside Centre, Watery Lane, Lichfield, 01543 264050, www.thymekitchen.co.uk