Woodham Park Road, Woodham, Addlestone, Surrey KT15 3TH
A delightful farm shop, restaurant and garden centre which although slightly off the beaten track is more than worthy of a detour!
The upside: You’ll find fresh produce, an English cheese counter, fresh bread, artisan products and a great range of gluten free ingredients and goodies. The restaurant has four chefs and makes virtually all they sell in house!
The downside: Limited range of fresh meat in the farm shop but what they do have is from a local butcher.
The flipside: Whilst the farm shop is small they pack in a range of carefully selected farm shop favourites and a few less obvious choices too. You can cook a meal from scratch after shopping here; always a bonus in my book.
When this business contacted me via the blog I had to confess I had not heard of them before. They weren’t surprised it’s a geographical issue for them as they are off the beaten track and not on a major route since the M25 was built. However they have a stronghold in the local community who love them. My visit was full of surprises starting in the modest but well thought out farm shop. It was lovely to meet owners Paul and Joanna Elding whose enthusiasm and hands on approach to their business shone through. Pauls family have had this business since 1952 but Joanna joined after marrying Paul leaving a career in advertising to do so. First Joanna took me around the farm shop (which was her project from the outset) and then we joined Paul for lunch in their restaurant.
The farm shop opened up just 8 years ago has a loyal customer base. Fresh produce, English cheeses, bread and cakes are all stocked here and provide the core of their offer. A chiller cabinet provides some charcuterie, dairy products and local milk. The cheese counter is dedicated to English Cheeses and they even offer small wedges at 65p each; which their customers love for sharing boards. To compliment the cheese there is a small range of cheese biscuits including favourite such as Peters Yard and Stockans.
Fresh bread here comes from the Christmas bakery and the Gingerbread man in Walton-on-Thames. They also have some part-baked bread, which is baked off in the kitchen every day to sell in the farm shop too.
A proportion of their offer here is from freezer specialists Field Fayre and COOK. I am a huge fan of Field Fayre and use their berries for winter jam making, desserts, smoothies and more. Helpfully Joanna and her team have prepared a really useful leaflet with cooking instructions for many of their products. For those who like a night off the pans COOK of course make a more thoughtful alternative to a supermarket ready meal.
There are plenty of fresh cakes, biscuits and even some of their home made pies and tarts (treacle on my visit) from the kitchen too.
The restaurant is located in the garden centre and has evolved many times since it opened fifteen years ago and today is a large open plan space with 170 seats. Additions include a conservatory area overlooking the plant centre and a large till area with a stunning display of their home-made cakes. Paul ran the restaurant with his mum for the first five years of its life. Busy from the outset they have tried various set ups including a franchise. When that ceased to deliver top quality food and service they took it back in house. Today they run a tight ship with four chefs who prepare all the food in house apart from bread and pastries. Keen to stay true to their opening ethos of preparing home made style food from local ingredients in pace with the seasons this became their best option going forward.
Sticking to their local food agenda their fruit and vegetable wholesaler sends them a weekly list identifying where they point of origin is. This means they can choose produce from the South East whenever possible. Traditional tea comes from Tregothnan who blend tea grown on their plantation in Cornwall with imported leaves. Served loose-leaf in a filter pot strong tea drinkers like me can enjoy a proper brew. Herbal infusions come from Pukka teas and coffee from Chertsey based MIKA. For coffee Joanna and Paul have chosen a fair trade coffee Puro Fuerte which is a blend of beans from 5 growers in South American and Uganda, it produces a rich dark medium strength drink. Meat too is from local butcher who supplies the shop and restaurant.
On the menu is a range of breakfast dishes (from £4.290 Panini, sandwiches (from £3.99) , salads and a changing specials board (from £6.49). Fresh soups, casseroles and quiche feature here too. I chose smoked haddock and leek risotto with a poached egg and rocket (£7.99). It was really tasty for a pre-cooked dish (but without the waiting time of 20-30 minutes). Joanna ordered a red pepper and pea frittata, which came with a generous portion of new potatoes and salad (£7.49). The cakes looked so fantastic that Joanna asked the manager to cut us a selection of them; having lunch with the owner came with added benefits here (not on offer generally). They are famous here for cheesecakes and butterscotch tart. But all the cakes here are made by in-house baker Zoe who was too shy to come and say hello but take it from me they are brilliant. All the morsels we samples were great but the butterscotch tart stood out. It must have been something to do with the crispy biscuit base with a caramel gooey topping; impossible not to like.
This is a great restaurant, with keen pricing and an interesting menu. Lots of the classics are here but they also add more interest on their specials board. As it’s all made in house too it doesn’t have the predictability of other venues. To get to the restaurant you have to walk past the well-stocked gift area, stove shop and cook-shop. As we walked through Joanna told me that as well as being a third generation family business a lot of the employees families have been with them from the start too.
This venue is well worth a visit making sure you leave plenty of time for the garden centre and shop too. It’s perfect for a Surrey day out and supporting the local economy.
01932 342 013