An elegant tea-shop serving homemade classics with provenance
Go there for: Overfilled sandwiches, gorgeous cakes and afternoon tea.
Avoid: Not ordering afternoon tea in advance if you want the full monty.
Is it worth the calories?: Go for a walk first and earn a guilt-free treat.
Tips: Check out the cards and shabby chic home accessories.
It was a delight to learn that this reincarnation of the uninspiring Green Room has been choreographed by Tracey Honeysett. She trained at Westminster College and her impressive CV includes time as a pastry chef at a London’s Mayfair hotel and ownership of a Michelin starred restaurant in Surrey. More recently Tracey launched the menu at the Hothouse Café at the Medicine Garden, Cobham. This café now boasts a stylish interior, and you can pick up a tasteful selection of home-wares and greeting cards.
With a small on-site kitchen there is a manageable sandwich and panini menu using some local ingredients. Tracey bakes most of the cakes at home, supplementing these with cup cakes from Butter and Cream in Milford. Bread is delivered each day from Bread of Heaven in Haselmere ; ham and other meats come from Black Barn butchers at Secretts. Coffee is from artisan roasters Coffee Real (ethically sourced and expertly cupped) and a great selection of teas and soft drinks complement the menu.
We visited on a warm day so we sat outdoors overlooking the green. Indoors we noticed a group of ladies enjoying a full afternoon tea. Served on a dramatic cake stand were macaroons, crustless mini sandwiches, scones with clotted cream and madeleines. I chose a more modest ham sandwich on granary bread: overfilled, fresh and packed with salad, it was robust and hearty but I couldn’t resist asking for a spoon of homemade spicy tomato chutney on the side. A perfect addition, this lent a piquant nudge to the palate. I was also tempted by the hummus and char-grilled peppers (£5.75) and egg mayonnaise made with free-range eggs (£4.50) from Hallgate Farm in Sussex. My son’s hot sausage sandwich (£5.00) disappeared so fast I only managed to get a picture of half of it but he assured me it was on a par with the best. We shared a slice of carrot cake (£2.50); it was moist and spicy and I think Paul and Mary would have struggled to find fault. When Tracey is busy villagers supplement her cakes with their home-baked offerings: she says the coffee and walnut cake is a big hit.
Service here is friendly and efficient and the achievable menu won’t disappoint. Tracey is keen to experiment and develop the menu but is taking it slowly: she wants to get into the groove before doing any serious marketing. Already discovered by cyclists, this café is a jolly good reason to stop off in Chiddingfold.
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