The Hambleton Bakery shop on Melton Road in West Bridgford is just one of five retail outlets for The Hambleton Bakery. The other four are based in Exton, Oakham, Market Harborough, and Stamford. The bakery was first opened in 2008 to supply Hambleton Hall and Hart’s Nottingham, and it has grown steadily ever since. On their website they talk a lot about the ‘taste’ saying that “Initially the aim was to rediscover the taste of good bread. Not the taste of sugar, malt, cheese, onions, olives, sundried tomatoes, poppy seeds etc etc, but the magical flavour that can be conjured from unadulterated organic flour, salt and water using the slow, traditional processes that made the bread that fed our ancestors.”
When I first walked in I thought that it was an ‘actual’ bakery and was looking forward to that freshly baked bread smell. It turned out that it was just a shop outlet, which was a slight disappointment, but I still figured that it was fair to give them a whirl, so I popped in on occasion to try out some of their offerings.
What did we eat?
The Rutland Pippin
The Rutland Pippin is one of their famed flagship items, originally I understand that it was developed during the ITV show Britain’s Best Bakery (which they won!). in the show they had to create a product representing their region’s best ingredients and the result was this, the Rutland Pippin, described as “a crusty dough filled with ham hock, sausagemeat, Colston Bassett Stilton and a handmade Bramley apple puree.”
When you cut into the ‘Pippin’ you are faced with that crusty dough filled with ham hock, sausage meat, the Colston Bassett Stilton Cheese and a handmade Bramley apple puree. Now I think that this must have been a clever concoction using the ingredients. Do I like it? You know what I am not sure, but then you see I am not a massive blue cheese fan. I wish I was as everyone raves about that Colston Basset Stilton. I liked the sausage meat and the ham and although I found the apple puree a bit much and the cheese overpowering, I cannot dismiss this savoury item as it clearly has merits amongst and for those with a different palate than mine.
Another one of the savoury items being sold at the Hambleton Bakery shop is the Ploughman’s Parcel.
This is described as a ‘savoury focaccia dough filled with Lincolnshire Poacher Cheese, Fresh Apples, Celery and homemade Chutney topped with seeds.’
On the face of it that sounds like it might be OK but it isn’t a combination that I would necessarily have put together.
I liked the outside of the parcel especially the seeds, but sadly I didn’t like the filling at all and I abandoned eating this savoury item after a couple of bites. It just wasn’t my ‘cup of tea’ but it might be yours. I will be honest and say that I don’t think I understand the flavour combinations of some of these savoury items. Luckily they do serve things that I do get.
I find that I often gravitate towards a good looking home made sausage roll and so I was most certainly going to be trying the ones that they make for the Hambleton Bakery Shop. I quite liked the sausage itself. Just take a look at the picture, you can see the flecks of herb in amongst the meat. I like my sausage meat a little looser, but this is still a fair offering filling wise. and the pastry was fair enough, perhaps a bit too soggy in the middle this time, well when I say middle I mean that lopsided section alongside the meat. I can see Mr Hollywood pulling that bit out as he munched though the rest of the roll with flecks of golden pastry adhered to his cheeks.
On the sweet side I do like their Treacle Tart mainly because it is not ‘too‘ sweet. It reminded me of the treacle tart that we used to get for school dinners back in the 70’s. I like pretty much everything about this tart, and it goes very nicely with a dollop of ice cream alongside. I know it sounds strange when I say ‘not too sweet’ as it is a sweet pudding in theory, but this is kind of perfect, I think that the key is probably the addition or rather use of the lemon that cuts through any potential sweetness from the syrup in the tart. But I am just guessing that is the way that they made this. Its is good though!
Something that cannot be resisted is their Lemon Tart. There is not too much to say about it, except that as expected it is nice and lemony, and it is has a nice tangy and tart taste on each bite. All encased in good flaky pasty. I always loved a good Tart Lemon Tart, but I don’t eat too many, mainly as I would just keep on eating them if the chance arose. Luckily I have the sense to wait until I see a good one, and I will tell you that the Hambleton Bakery does serve a good one!
Although I do prefer to bake my own bread their Basic White Loaf was quite acceptable and is just one of the more simpler offerings at the shop. Described as “a perfect sandwich loaf made the way the old masters used to make it with long fermentation. It has a springy texture unlike modern bread and is excellent toasted”. Unsurprisingly they also sell some more adventurous breads including a Borodinsky which is a ‘kind of’ Russian rye bread with added malt and coriander seeds, and a Date and Walnut bread which they tell us is ‘a sourdough infused with walnuts and stoned dates.’ topped with ‘pumpkin and sunflower seeds to finish it off.’
I have had mixed moments with the Shop, I like the bread, the sweeter items (which is unusual for me), and some of the savoury items. Some are just too ‘grown up’ for me. It is also conveniently located on that strip of excellent food outlets on Melton Road in West Bridgford. If Central Avenue is becoming ‘restaurant row’ then Melton road could be the place for the artisans and the local foodies.
As I said earlier, what I do miss though is that smell of freshly baked bread when you walk in through the door although that is probably because It is a bakery shop not a bakery.
The Hambleton Bakery Shop in West Bridgford is located at 101 Melton Road and is worth stopping at just to see what you think of what they have to offer.