Lunch & Tea at Mr. Kipling’s. Sussex, England
Originally called Bateman’s Tearoom, it’s now supposed to be called the Mulberry Restaurant. But regular visitors still refer to it as Bateman’s Tearoom.
We started with a bowl of home-made carrot & coriander soup, with absolutely yummy local bread!
John had sausage and mash, and I chose the cottage pie.
Both meals were freshly-made, nicely presented, and a perfect size; not too huge and not by any means too small!
Sally, the supervisor, has worked in the restaurant for seven years. She loves her job.
The restaurant is open all year round, except Christmas and the menu changes every two weeks.
Bread comes from the Rusbridge Bakery in Tunbridge Wells, and all the meat from Pomfrett the Heathfield butcher’s.
Most of the herbs, fruit and vegetables are grown in the garden at Bateman’s.
The dishes on the menu are chosen to fit in with what the Kiplings would have eaten, with a few curries now and then as Kipling was born and lived in India. But he couldn’t eat rich foods in later life, due to his ulcer, which eventually killed him.
In general it’s a traditional British menu, which the Europeans tourists really enjoy!
We wandered down through the gardens and across the river to the Park Mill.
Dating back to 1618, the present water-mill was built around 1751.
When Kipling bought Bateman’s in 1902, he took away the waterwheel to install a water turbine and electric generator which supplied some electricity to the house.
The mill fell into decay, until 1969, when restoration began.
A new waterwheel was built, but it’s much narrower than the original wheel, as the turbine takes up so much room.
Local wheat is stone-ground for two hours on Saturdays, Wednesdays, and Bank Holiday Mondays by volunteers (water supply permitting!)
You can buy the flour, which is ideal for making bread, at the counter in the Mill.
It’s as organic as you can get, but it costs £600 a year to be registered as organic, so they don’t bother. They use the money elsewhere, where it’s needed!
Before you ask, no, they don’t supply the restaurant for making bread. They can’t produce enough, or guarantee enough, especially during hot summers when the stream is drier.
Having worked up a thirst and a bit of an appetite, we walked back to the restaurant by a different route. We couldn’t leave Bateman’s without sampling a cream tea, sitting in the beautiful garden and admiring our surroundings.
Now there are scones and there are scones, but the scones we had that afternoon were some of the best that I’ve ever tasted!
Apparently the Mulberry Restaurant scones are quite famous, and I’m not surprised!
We walked back to the car, past the orchard. We’d had a very enjoyable, relaxing day!