Let’s meet . . . Edward Halls from the Clockhouse Café at Upton
Award-winning chef Edward Halls, pictured above, has had a long career in the catering industry, including owning a very successful gastropub, cooking in Michelin starred restaurants and being a private chef. In 2013, he also became the owner of The Clock House café and tea room in the beautiful setting of Upton Hall, near Southwell. We caught up with him to find out what it’s like to run this hidden gem.
1) What do you think makes The Clock House unique?
The high quality of the food, service and our attention to detail make coming to The Clock House a more enjoyable experience than going into just another café that is part of a chain. The environment, with our eclectic range of furniture and bone china tea cups, help create that welcoming atmosphere we consistently have. All this comes at great value too – our customers get a lot of ‘bang for their buck’.
The legendary full English breakfast.
2) What is your favourite thing on the menu?
I think our full English breakfast is second to none. We always use the best products, such as free range eggs and butcher’s sausages, which makes it such great quality. A full English is available in many places, but ours is very special.
Another personal favourite is our scones. Scones are simple and classic, but we constantly have people telling us how good they are. I have tried scones served in a lot of cafés and tea rooms – even places in York that have been around for 150 years, but they just don’t measure up. Made by hand, we make fruit, plain and cheese scones. They are warmed in oven to give them a bit of a crunch which makes the perfect texture. The plain scones are the perfect vehicle for jam and clotted cream, but my favourite are the cheese scones, made with strong mature cheddar, pepper and mustard powder – absolutely perfect with a bit of butter.
3) What are the seasonal dishes being served at the moment?
The meat we’re serving includes confit duck and slow roasted pork belly – which cooks for around 12 hours at 90 degrees to make it perfect. Our beef, tomato and thyme stew is also very popular. We’re still using a lot of winter vegetables such as cabbage and swede and we buy or exchange lots of our veg with local growers which is a great connection with the community. If people have an excess from their allotment, we often exchange them for free coffee and cake at the tea room!
Gressingham duck with parsnips and wild mushrooms.
Something that’s even more popular in the colder months is our wonderful Sunday lunch.
Every Sunday we serve local produce with roasted meat of your choice, Yorkshire puddings, roast potatoes, cauliflower cheese, seasonal veg and homemade gravy – not forgetting dessert to finish off a perfect meal.
5) How would you like to see the Clock House grow in the future?
We aim to continue to grow and evolve our business steadily whilst maintaining our level of quality service. We always want to make sure every customer has a great experience and reason to return.