Fresh and seasonal – made with love. It is a great tagline for a food business but also infiltrates every aspect of a popular little cafe in the heart of Nether Edge.
Everything about Homemade by Thelma is created with care – from the welcome you receive, to the menu options, the bold combination of ingredients and the heartfelt presentation of every tasty dish.
This labour of love is run by Becky Furber and Emily Rowley, who are clearly doing a great job.
Our trip to the weekly Friday Bistro Night was only my second visit. Although it is years since we were last there, memories of my young children happily tucking into courgette cake stay with me. We really shouldn’t have left it so long to return.
There were four choices for starters and mains, including a couple of veggie options. We nibbled on olives while we made up our minds because, to be completely honest, we fancied trying them all.
The smoked mackerel and creme fraiche pate was served with dill pickled cucumber and toasted Irish wheaten bread. Beautifully presented and delicious – the only thing that stopped it being our favourite dish was competition from the baba ganoush. This aubergine pate was accompanied by pitta crisps and pomegranate seeds. The final touch came from dukkah - a glorious combination of ground nuts, seeds and spices – on the top.
The traditional French onion soup came with one, large garlic and gruyere crouton. It wasn’t quite as phenomenal as the other two starters but still good.
All of the starters, in fact all of the dishes, are served as generous helpings but we managed to polish them off quickly.
For mains, I opted for the Indian Thali board. The fragrant carrot salad was exquisite. The combinations of flavours leapt off the plate, quite unlike most salads you’ll try. The daal was also great alongside the paratha bread, but I wasn’t too keen on the saag which just tasted a bit samey.
The only meat dish on the menu was harissa marinated lamb, loosely shredded and presented on a wonderful salad. The combination of very different textures were brought to life by a tahini and sumac dressing, alongside cashews, pomegranate and caramelised carrot.
Sprinklings of nuts and lashings of herbs are a delightful touch, done so well. These dishes are bursting with goodness, which just adds to a delightful experience.
Too full for pudding yet too impressed to bear missing out, we had desert as takeout. Now, I’m very fussy when it comes to cheesecake – so many are just not worth the calories. However, the offering of blueberry, lime and ginger was too irresistibly good to share. Sorry kids! The cardamom and condensed mile panna cotta with an orange shortbread biscuit was almost as good.
Bistro night has a set price of £21.50 for three courses, and is worth every penny. This is a cafe which has such a positive vibe and attitude to food, you can’t help but fall a little bit in love with it.
They treat every customer as an individual and every ingredient as an adventure to be explored. We left wanting to do our bit to make this lovely independent business thrive. If that means treating ourselves to gorgeous treats every now and then, well, it would be rude not to wouldn’t it?
Thelma, in case you’re wondering, was Emily’s grandma. The cafe is named in homage to her. Emily describes her gran as “a great eater”. How proud she would have been of two women who have taken their dream and made it into a bustling reality for us all to enjoy.