67 St. Johns Street. Farncombe, GU7 3EH
An award winning cafe where owner Kay has created a wonderful eating and meeting space, for the local community.
The Upside: Gorgeous coffee, freshly prepared traditional all day breakfasts, contemporary salads, savouries and freshly baked cakes.
The downside: This café is so busy you need to book in advance to guarantee a lunchtime table. It’s closed in the evening but they do run events.
The flipside: Buy tickets for one of their infamous supper clubs where you can BYO and indulge in some great food at prices that won’t break the bank.
Natter café is the type of success story I would wish for any new independent starting up in this challenging market. Winner of the Muddy Stilettos best cafe in Surrey award I can tell you why this business is making waves!
Kay is the creative force behind the Natter Café and her story starts with coffee beans. Her original foray into coffee was stall in Guildford’s North Street Market which she started with a business partner in 2002. They parted company but the stall was very successful and its still at the market today. Kay’s passion for coffee retailing saw her start a coffee van service and a kiosk at Farncombe station. Her standards of service are legendary. Ring the kiosk from your mobile and they will have a latte and a bacon butty ready to pass to you on the platform as your train passes through.
Adoring customers always asked Kay when she was going to open a café. It wasn’t she says really on her radar, but when friend and estate agent John suggested a property he had would be perfect for this purpose it was a defining moment. Going on holiday the next day she had time to think it through and the rest is history. Kay is really pleased she took the plunge. Its clear she has really invested in this business the premises have been refurbished to a high standard and the result is a really lovely comfortable space.
Coffee comes from a roaster in Winchester and Kay uses single origin estate for filter coffee, which is brewed at your table. You can choose from single or double shots (from £1.50). Teas are from Canton teas known for their delicious blends many of them from Taiwan (from £2.50).
Food is also freshly prepared on site apart from some of the cakes, which are made by local producers. Since opening Kay has never had to advertise for staff. She has she says been lucky enough to have lots of locals (mums, students, teenagers) regularly popping in asking for work. In addition she also has lots of expert cake makers offering to supply her too! I expect the welcoming warm space Kay has created has everything to do with this.
Food is prepared by two chefs in a compact kitchen hence the need to buy in cakes but also because this café is always busy. Come late for lunch and expect to wait for a table. Kay and her team have the formula just right here. A core menu with breakfasts and sandwiches are complimented by seasonal specials. Expect soup in the winter and salads in the summer. A full English breakfast with local butcher Wakelings sausages is £8.75 and a generous plateful. For smaller people or appetites you can go for a half size portion at £5.75 (I wish more eateries did this). Smoked salmon bagels are also on offer at £5.00.
Arriving for lunch I ordered a salad of the specials board. It was a warmish autumnal day so it was a toss up between that or roasted carrot and butternut squash soup. The salad won as my favourites were featured here; beetroot, rocket, pine nut and feta with salad leaves and a light tasty dressing. I have a pet hate of salad leaves served naked (read my article here) but these were perfectly dressed. My plus one had bacon muffins with melted brie and salad, which he said was tasty, light and gooey. I didn’t really get a look in there but I trust his judgement.
We were too full for cakes but we did have coffee, which was full flavoured and served really hot. We watched the other customers around us being served equally good-looking plates of food.
I love this café its got good coffee and food at its core. Kay supports other locals by procuring her stock from them wherever possible (produce from the local greengrocer and meat from Wakelings and Black Barn) and she provides local employment too. Her staff recently for her birthday treated her to a day spa when she thought she was just going to work. I think that says it all!
Go and give Natter a whirl – opening hours and menu on the website- link below.