Broomfield`s Wildflowers Restaurant is located off the beaten path in the Hilltop Inn, a guest house situated a stone’s throw from the airport. Inside, you’ll feel you’ve been transported to a homey British inn. Sure, the traditional antique furnishings and old school fare may not be everybody’s cup of tea, but for expats or home-cooked meal aficionados, this venue delivers.
Run by a British-American family, Wildflowers serves breakfast, lunch, dinner and high tea. There’s also an impressive selection of scotches, beers including Tetley Cream Ale, the classic Bass, and my college favorite, Strongbow cider. Unsurprisingly, the owners plan to open a pub this month.
The dinner menu reads like a greatest hits album of British Isles specialties, including bangers and mash, fish and chips, and shepherd’s pie. The Welshman, which doesn’t involve Tom Jones, consists of slow-roasted prime rib over veg and mashed potatoes. Its cousin, the Irishman, features house-cured corned beef prepared in Guinness and whiskey, with traditional cabbage and potatoes. Entrees come with a choice of soup or salad. Our amiable server explained that the soups and dressings, like most menu items, are prepared from scratch.
Evidence of scratch cooking presented itself in a Yorkshire pudding appetizer. This eggy popover arrived hot, and after friend
Kon and I cut them open, our server drizzled them with brown gravy. The gravy had a distinct homemade flavor, while the pudding was crisp and soft in all the right places, serving as a welcome alternative to bread.Kon’s green salad was a straightforward affair, although I am intrigued by the prospect of trying the Bass Ale dressing on a future visit. The family-recipe clam chowder benefited from a dash of pepper, although it was properly creamy and brimming with plenty of clams. The crowning touch was a smattering of bacon, which provided an enticing smoky aroma.
Seafood made a starring appearance in Kon’s $15 Fisherman’s Pie. This dish featured fresh-tasting scallops, shrimp and fish in a creamed sherry sauce. Two pieces of airy puff pastry floated on top, contributing crunch, and while the sauce was indisputably rich, it didn’t detract from the delicate tones of the seafood.
Being a Wallace and Gromit fan, I had to sample the $15 Lancashire Hotpot, a hearty lamb stew braised in Guinness and ladled over buttery mashed potatoes. The inherent bitterness of Guinness makes it a difficult ingredient to work with, but Wildflowers’ gravy lacked any whisper of harsh flavor. The lamb itself was surprisingly lean, happily lacking the fat one typically encounters in stew.
We ended with a $5 Guinness chocolate cake and a $6 trifle, also made from a family recipe. The cake wasn’t overly sweet, and the beer contributed an earthy complement to the chocolate. The fact that the cake was served warm didn’t hurt anything, nor did a heaping whipped cream garnish. Both decadent and refreshing, the trifle consisted of sherry-soaked ladyfingers, custard, whipped cream and strawberry puree, attractively presented in a parfait-style glass.
More a spot for the traditionalist than the hipster, Wildflowers ably succeeds in providing traditional British fare of exceptionally high quality. Its secluded location doesn’t do it any favors, but it’s worth a trip for the food-loving Anglophile. Of course, if one simply craves a substantial dish of meat and potatoes, it’s also a rewarding stop.