IT'S been described as 'York's best-kept secret cafe' - but for how long?

Word is getting out that The Yorkshire Barn cafe at Murton Park is a place worth visiting - if only to try its mighty Coofin (part cookie, part muffin).

Barn owner and chef Jonathan Brown is so proud of the creation that he has patented the recipe!

If you like straight forward, honest, Yorkshire fare - and have a sweet tooth - make tracks for the cafe which is part of the Murton Park visitor attraction, although the cafe is open to the general public and you do not need to pay admission to the Park to visit the Barn.

On my visit, at the invitation of Jonathan, I enjoyed a warming bowl of delicious home-made pea soup (£5.95 with bread) that was just perfect. Warm, sweet and beautifully green, with a gorgeous silky texture, I cleaned my bowl and would happily have come back for more. Every day. Every week.

But I'm glad I didn't have seconds because next came the mighty Coofin. The sight of this goodie - sprawling from its paper cake case like a Mount Etna eruption - set my greed-o-meter to ten.

York Press: The Biscoff Coofin at The Yorkshire Barn cafe at Murton ParkThe Biscoff Coofin at The Yorkshire Barn cafe at Murton Park (Image: Supplied)

Perched on the top of the intriguing giant cookie/muffin were pieces of Bounty bar, chunks of which were also tucked away inside like secret treasure to be unearthed.

It was very tasty - and filling! If I came back with a friend, I might be minded to share with them (but they would have to be a very good friend!) The Coofin range features a choice of chocolate bars including Mars Bars, Boosts and Chocolate Orange.

It was washed down with a delicious hot chocolate (£3.25), the mix for which Jonathan sorts himself.

Over our drinks, Jonathan tells me that his cafe has now been in place for two years - and visitors tell him how delighted they are to have "discovered" the place.

He said: "They say the Yorkshire Barn is a 'best-kept secret'!"

And he understands because this was the exact phrase he and wife Fiona used to describe Murton Park when they used to visit the place when their children were smaller.

The family moved from Bristol back to York, where Jonathan is from, several years ago, and are delighted to be based at such a much-loved venue.

But the past two years have been very challenging, admits Jonathan.

"We started straight after the Covid pandemic, and then the prices of everything have just gone through the roof. Our electricity bill went from £600 to £3,000."

York Press: Jonathan Brown at The Yorkshire Barn, Murton Park, YorkJonathan Brown at The Yorkshire Barn, Murton Park, York (Image: Supplied)

Food prices have rocketed too.

"There is only so much you can pass on to customers. If we charge people what we need to charge, I don't think people can afford it," he said.

It's all about riding things out and hoping prices return to a more even footing, he said.

And so Jonathan, aided by son Marcus, a student chef, and wife Fiona, with some help from his mum and sister, is throwing everything into this place to bring out its full potential.

Besides providing a menu packed with firm favourites including breakfast sandwiches (£5.95), jacket potatoes (from £7.50), pork pies and sausage rolls and burgers, there are winter fillers such as beef brisket, pickle and cheese panini (£10.25); BBQ chicken and bacon panini (£9.95), and Trailblazers cowboy beans (£10.50) to tempt you too.

York Press: The Yorkshire Barn burger with friesThe Yorkshire Barn burger with fries (Image: Supplied)

But as mentioned, DO leave room for afters. Jonathan - who has worked with leading chefs including James Martin and Brian Turner as well as the late Gary Rhodes, specialises in cakes, bakes, and pastries and the sweet counter is a thing to worship. Wife Fiona recommends his brownies - I took away a Biscoff one and have to admit, it had me hooked at first bite.

The Barn also hosts a range of community groups during the day and is a venue for events, such as baby showers, christenings and weddings. Fiona is also a celebrant, making the business even more a family affair.

Fact file

The Yorkshire Barn Cafe

Murton Park, Murton Lane

York, YO19 5UF

Open: Monday to Friday, 10am to 2.30/3pm. Weekends:10am to 3.30/4pm.