We decided to try out the new coffee shop and restaurant at Knights Garden Centre. Coffee shop first, because that opened first.
The Potting Shed Coffee Shop
We went for lunch on their second day of being open. I phoned ahead to see if they took bookings. I spoke to a very helpful person who walked for several miles to go and find out for me. The answer was somewhat confusing, but they said they would reserve a table for us. When we arrived the man told us that actually they do NOT take bookings, but they had saved a table in the unopened restaurant area for us. I felt bad that I had messed up their system, but no one else seemed to mind.
The coffee shop has a lovely feel – very rustic, cosy lighting, comfy chairs. We lined up at the counter and ordered our food and drink. It was incredibly busy. We had to select our cutlery and wait for our drinks, then they brought the food to the table.
Some people had shepherd’s pie, some had sandwiches. I also had a chocolate orange muffin. This was spectacular. Really, the best muffin I have eaten in a long time – it compared well to homemade ones, not the usual ‘fluff and sugar’ that you get in coffee shops. (I am very fussy about muffins.)
The coffee was pleasant, but not a huge cup for the price. Not sure if they could offer ‘Free Refills with a Food Order’ or if that would blow the budget. At first I thought my saucer was dirty as it arrived splattered with cocoa powder. Then I realised that this was the pattern in the crockery. Son informed me I was old fashioned and it went perfectly with the rustic style of the cafe.
The food was beautifully presented. Tiny flower-pot shaped bowls, and baskets of chips, and milk in a tiny churn. All the food arrived at about the same time too, which is disappointingly rare in most coffee shops.
The portions were an okay size and the vegetables that accompanied the hot food were ‘proper’ veg, not frozen peas!
I think my only word of warning regarding the coffee shop is do not (like someone in our party) wear a pale blue blouse, or everyone will think you are staff.
We booked a table in the restaurant before we left, for the following Monday (their first day of opening.)
The Walled Garden Restaurant
Again, the restaurant is very well presented. It’s a nice space and you feel comfortable being there. It’s lighter than the coffee shop (which pleased my mother. Taking mothers is always bit of a risk.)
We ordered a variety of dishes. Son 2 had the venison and rhubarb starter. He enjoyed the venison and crisps but confessed that he has never liked rhubarb (so it was an interesting choice on his part.) Son 1 had the Mackerel Escabeche and said the pickled veg was very nice. I had the trout main course, mother and sister had the chicken, boys had beef and lamb. All the food looked beautiful.
The service was friendly, with the waitress checking regularly that everything was okay.
The prices for mains were from £12 to £18, and for three courses it cost from £23 to £34. Service is extra.
It is open from 12 til 2 at the moment (but we were there for a while and they didn’t hurry us out, it felt very relaxed.)
We took some photos because the food was so well presented. Mother got a bit carried away and tried to take photos of the room and the people, so we had to remove the camera from her before she annoyed the other diners.
Puddings are always a favourite for me. We made Mother have the carrot cake. I had the lemon tart (and refused to share) Son 2 had the chocolate mousse, which was unexpected but very tasty.
Knights Garden Centre is on the Oxted Road (A25) RH9 8DB – not far from the Godstone junction with the M25.
I phoned 01883 742275 (but I’m not sure if there will be a designated restaurant number at some point.)
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