I am told that the only food available at Flatt’s Farm for many years were cabbages and potatoes on a roadside ledge with an honesty box.
Since the farm was sold it re-emerged as a delicatessen and then a deli-cum-cafe, but neither flourished. For the new owners of what is now The Barn Bistro, things look more promising.
Three of us, plus my 22-month-old son, visited on a warm Saturday lunchtime to experience a one-day wonder: an American Diner menu on offer from noon until 8pm.
There were also remnants of the regular menu to choose from, including an array of sandwiches for those wanting a light bite to eat and three vegetarian main courses.
The feast, however, lay in the American Diner specials.
Six starters were priced fairly given the substantial portion sizes. We opted for buffalo chicken wings (£4.95) that came with a choice of barbecue bourbon or ‘Death by Wings’ chilli sauce and a portion of cheese fries (£4.50).
While it is difficult to get too carried away with what is essentially chips and cheese, the wings were excellent; nicely seasoned, sizeable, juicy pieces of meat.
We ate three main courses, two of which were extremely well received.
The Barbecue bourbon pulled pork burger (£11.95) was succulent and the pork could be tasted through what was a fairly spicy sauce.
A chipotle smoked beef steak burger (£10.95) came with guacamole and Monterey Jack cheese.
Though the accompanying salad leaves had wilted, the burger was gorgeous, the chilli heat balancing well with the sweetness of tomatoes and aided by a small bowl of sweetcorn relish.
I opted for a 20-spice crumb fried Harlem chicken burger (£12.95) which was anointed with sour cream, Swiss cheese and smoked streaky bacon.
The sour cream, of which there was far too much, was presumably there to counterbalance all the spices in the coating, but if there were two spices, let alone 20 in the mix, I’d be surprised.
The overall taste was bland. The sour cream, rendered superfluous by the lack of any detectable flavour, only served to make soggy the chicken and the sesame bun that housed it.
The quality of the breast meat could not be faulted however, and with a bit more flavour and a little less cream this could be as good a chicken burger as you’ll find this side of Kentucky.
Two of us chose from the four dishes on the somewhat limited American dessert menu (all priced at £5.95).
The homemade cherry pie ice cream sundae was good. There was nothing to dislike about the marinated cherries and double cream, although the pastry/shortcake that had been blended into the ice cream jarred in terms of both taste and texture.
Wholly successful were blueberry griddlestone pancakes served with fresh blueberries and ice cream.
Overall, the food was largely impressive, the service good and we dined in pleasant surroudings. The menu promised gourmet burgers and that is exactly what was delivered.
Having left The Barn impressed by this one-off event, I expect that I will be returning sometime in the near future to sample their regular fare.
Ratings out of ten: Food 8; menu choice 8; service 8; decor 8; ambience 8; overall 8.