Katherine MacAlister passes an old favourite place to eat to sample what may become a new one

It takes a lot for me to drive past The Milk Shed. A massive human endeavour actually.

But that’s exactly what I did, hands gripping the steering wheel, avoiding the overwhelming urge to turn down the dusty farm track in Weston-on-the-Green.

Instead I continued on for several hundred yards until I reached The Old Flight House, an antiques emporium with a cafe on the other side of the road.

I’d eaten there before and it was nice enough but nothing to write home about, until I heard that Sarah Barkin had taken over the cooking there.

A good sign.

She cooks lovely rustic, locally sourced, homely, comforting food, much of it from her own garden. Ringing her up she told me the special of the day was a Turkish kebab with a yoghurt dressing and pomegranate salad.

Tick tick tick.

In indecent time, the following lunchtime I was there, disturbed to see that news had obviously got out and the place was steadily filling up.

The cafe spreads out into the main shop making you part of the exhibits, and nabbing centre stage we quickly sat down before anyone else did, and let the pageant unfold before us.

The menu itself is impressive enough, not impressive in a jus, coulis and tuille kind of way, but it covers all the bases while allowing for a little imagination.

As the cafe isn’t open at night, it caters for a mainly lunch crowd with soups, salads, sandwiches, burgers and toasties.

But dig a bit deeper and you can see the flair. Smoked salmon, dill and watercress sandwich anyone?

Tomato, mozzarella and home-made pesto toastie?

Chicken and tarragon salad with mustard vinaigrette?

Cajun spiced chicken with sweetcorn salsa and fries?

The couple next to us for example were having ham, egg and chips, and the house burger which is obviously what they came in for, but as good as their food looked, we wanted to try Sarah’s more adventurous dishes.

The specials board provided that.

The soup of the day was a spinach, pea and watercress.

The cheddar, apple and coleslaw sandwich (£4.45) sounded like a nice variation on a ploughmans so we threw that into the fray, plus the Spanish omelette with marinated peppers, olives and mixed leaves (£7.25) and the quesadilla with sour cream and guacamole (£6.95), accompanied by lots of Earl Grey tea.

The bright green soup (£4.95) was wonderfully fresh and vibrant with a lovely hedgerow flavour, the granary bread the perfect accompaniment.

The generous sandwich was simple but the quality of the ingredients and the softness of the bread and dressed leaves, made it really enjoyable.

Having already overeaten, the mains were more of a challenge.

But oh, that potato tortilla was heavenly.

Huge, chunky and proud, we dutifully sawed away at it, enjoying the softness of the egg and the oily potato and onion, highlighted by the roasted pepper strips and piquant olives, a beast of a dish.

The quesadilla was equally as impressive, the Mexican pancake oozing with cheese and Mediterranean veg.

Utterly stuffed we stopped for a breather but spotted Sarah emerging from the kitchen to place a new cake on the counter.

Unable to help myself I wandered up to have a look and there it stood, still warm – a rhubarb and custard cake, the rhubarb picked from Sarah’s garden that very morning.

And I had to have it.

As enjoyable to eat as it sounded, the soft sweet crust contrasted with the gentle sour rhubarb and creamy vanilla custard.

Staggering up to the counter we paid and embarked on a long walk around The Flight House’s many rooms of antiques to enable us to continue our day without having to lie down, but it was worth it.

So there we are.

The Flight House is now a firm contender for a relaxed unpretentious lunch, but then you know that already don’t you, because you got there first.

01869 343441
Northampton Road, Weston-on-the-Green, OX25 3TJ

Cafe open: 10am to 4.30pm Monday to Saturday; Sunday 11am to 4.30pm
Parking: Outside
Key personnel: General managers Sally and Michael Dunseath, head chef Sarah Barkin
Make sure you try the... Tea and cakes, in fact I insist.
In ten words: A new contender for the cafe/lunch crowd with antiques