Ok, I admit it, I secretly quite enjoy a Sunday afternoon at a garden centre. Not that I’m particularly interested in gardening, plants etc, but these days, garden centres tend to have a great selection of housey/gift bits and bobs, decent farm shops and a good range of cake in the café!
A few of our houseplants were looking decidedly worse for wear and we had nothing much planned for a wet Sunday afternoon, so we decided to pop along to Whitehall Garden Centre for a potter. Having skipped lunch, we decided to head straight to the restaurant to find something to eat. The restaurant is fairly standard for a garden centre – fairly large, with lots of fairly cheap, modern wooden tables and chairs. There are large conservatory-type windows overlooking the outside plant section of the centre, so the restaurant is light and airy. As you would expect on a rainy Sunday afternoon, it was busy and most of the tables were filled.
Although we were thinking about lunch, the range of paninis was fairly limited and didn’t really tempt me, the only sandwiches available were packaged and, as we had a big roast planned for the evening, I didn’t want something more substantial, so after much deliberation, we decided just to have a slice of cake. There was a good range of cakes available, including about 4 different gluten-free options. I immediately spotted the one for EHH – an enormous hunk of caramel-covered flapjack. After deliberating between carrot cake, Victoria sponge and apple cake, I decided to go for the apple and cinnamon cake. We also opted for the standard pot of tea for two. In all, the bill came to just under £10, which was fairly respectable.
The tea was standard tea bags in a fairly decent-sized pot. It didn’t come with any additional hot water and the milk jug was fairly small, but the staff were very happy to top up the hot water and provide more milk, when asked. EHH really enjoyed his huge piece of caramel-covered flapjack – it was way too sweet for my tastes but he loved it. My apple and cinnamon cake was rather disappointing: I expect apple cake to be very moist and fruity, this was really quite dry and lacked flavour. The cinnamon icing was too sweet and rather overpowered the rest of the cake.
In all, the restaurant is acceptable but not exceptional. We’d probably pop in again if we were back shopping at the garden centre, but wouldn’t visit specifically for the restaurant.