Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Prior Park Garden Centre: Secret Garden Cafe

We decided to make the most of the beautiful autumn weather  on Saturday and walk around part of the Bath Skyline Walk. Needing a bit of sustenance first, we headed to the Secret Garden Cafe at Prior Park Garden Centre for a bite of lunch.

We’ve been here several times before and have always enjoyed the food and cake. It’s just out of the city centre and has free parking outside (although this is very carefully monitored and they will fine you if you are found to have left your car here and gone off site). It is also one of my favourite places to buy Christmas decorations as they always have a lovely selection of really tasteful decorations – I’d definitely recommend a look. The gift shop also has some lovely bits and pieces and the farm shop has a fantastic selection of foods.

We arrived just after 14.00 and it was fairly quiet in the cafe, which was surprising as it has always been busy when we have visited before – although this has generally been in the week. It may well have been because we arrived just after lunch but before the afternoon tea crowds.The cafe itself is fairly simple, with metal table and chairs and a few comfy sofas. There's a nice little outside patio, fab on a warm, sunny day. The cafe provides a good selection of magazines and offers free wi-fi, making it a nice place to sit, drink tea, eat cake and chill.

The menu includes home-made soup (the day’s version was Roasted Vegetable – which sounded tempting); salads; jacket potatoes, wraps and toasties – with a range of fillings. There were 3 specials: a chilli, a burger and a delicious sounding tart – but I can’t now remember what it was! We weren’t incredibly hungry and I was going out for dinner that night, so I convinced the EHH to go halves with me on a brie and bacon toasty (£6.50), which came with a choice of fries or side salad. The toasty was delicious and the portion of fries was generous and lovely and crispy.

I had a pot of tea and EHH had a latte. The tea came in a little metal tea pot and did about 2.5 small cups of tea. EHH’s latte was in a medium-sized coffee cup (which I’m always disappointed to see – I strongly believe that lattes should always come in a glass!), which was, in EHH’s own words “Alright – not the best I’ve ever had, but certainly not the worst!”. Both drinks did, however, come with a delicious little amaretti biscuit – which reminded me how much I love these! Must make some soon!  

My half-portion of toasty and chips was plenty for me, but unsurprisingly, the EHH was still hungry and so decided to peruse the cake offerings. There was a choice of two large cakes – looked like carrot and lemon – which looked delicious with generous servings (I think these were about £2.60 a slice – which I think is very reasonable). There were also scones, muffins, doughnuts, and a number of traybakes, including a couple of different flapjacks, an almond slice, Millionaire’s shortbread and others, as well as a couple of gluten–free choices. EHH opted for an almond slice, which was a bit like a Bakewell slice, but without the raspberry/cherry layer. The pastry layer was a little thick on this and it was a little dry, but it was tasty overall – a little sweet for me – I felt it missed the jam layer!

Overall, a good lunch – service was friendly and efficient and the food was good. We’ll definitely visit again – fairly soon I imagine – so that I can buy the Christmas decorations that EHH dragged me away from this time! 

View of Bathampton from the Bath Skyline Walk
Views on the Bath Skyline Walk

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