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Muddy eats: The Green Dragon Eco Farm Restaurant

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I’ve enjoyed watching the quiet evolution of the Green Dragon Eco Centre & Rare Breeds Farm near Quainton since it launched early this year. As the business grows, they add bits here, try different things there, come up with big ideas and work out how to bring them to life.

Originally the cafe by the Reception started life as the one and only Eco Centre cafe, but as a family-friendly eaterie popped up in the soft play area, this original cafe has evolved into a more grown-up space that that they’ve renamed the Restaurant (though it still is very much a cafe feel), and one that doesn’t require entry into the Eco Centre at all.

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It’s a neat, welcoming but traditional space with heavy cottage-style pine chairs and you’re unlikely to visit with admiration of funky interiors in mind, but it does have pleasing  modern touches like the long bar-style central table and industrial chairs.

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What the cafe does have is a surprisingly good menu that’s delivered with panache. I’d definitely been expecting JPs and paninis but nope, it’s about pulled lamb, braised beef, hake, that kind of thing, and they’re offering home-grown or locally sourced ingredients – so depending on the time of year Dexter beef, lamb from their rare breed flock, pork coming in the New Year and fruit and veg from their garden and orchards. Seriously wasn’t expecting that.

I ordered the goats cheese with cauliflour and roasted red onion salad…

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… and my brother had pulled lamb on sourdough bread with balsamic salad

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Beautifully presented, don’t you think? They took a little while to come – the food is generally a little slow here I find so don’t come if you’re in a mad rush – but when plate hit the table the goats cheese was beautifully mild and creamy, and I didn’t even get a chance to try some of my brother’s pulled lamb because he became incredibly territorial about it (*sniff*).

There's a small deli that they're hoping to add to over the next six months

There’s a small deli that they’re hoping to add to over the next six months

I’m far away to use the Green Dragon cafe as a coffee-stop – even I won’t travel 30 minutes for a cappuccino – but the food elevates the Green Dragon cafe into a possible brunch or lunch spot for those close-by. Well behaved children are also welcome in here – I’d probably choose this cafe that I’d take my kids to next time we come up, rather than the more simple menu in the kiddie barn.

Also – very excited about this! – there is also a brand new outside clay pizza oven, open on Saturdays, and  shaped gloriously like a dragon. Just three simple toppings so hold that request about the artichokes and anchovies. A fun fast way to eat now, but even better I suspect come the spring when you can sit out and munch in the countryside.

It'll be awesome when you see flames coming out of his mouth

The pizza oven: it’ll be awesome when you see flames coming out of the dragon’s mouth

Green Dragon Eco Farm Restaurant, open seven days a week (last orders for cooked food at 4pm).

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