Pinnock’s Coffee House, Ripley - On the Tea Shop Trail
PUBLISHED: 09:37 05 January 2015 | UPDATED: 14:12 05 January 2015
A winner at the recent Surrey Life Food & Drink Awards – for the second time no less – Pinnock’s in Ripley is well worth a visit, says Louise Johncox
Originally published in Surrey Life magazine December 2014
Pinnock’s Coffee House, High Street, Ripley GU23 6AF. Open Monday to Saturday, 8.30am to 6pm; Sunday, 10am to 5pm. Tel: 01483 222419 / pinnockscoffeeouse.com.
Ripley is becoming known as something of a foodie’s paradise: the Ripley Farmers’ Market, Drake’s restaurant and Pinnock’s Coffee House all came first in their respective categories at Surrey Life’s Food and Drink Awards in October.
Opened by Russell James and Andy Shaw just over two years ago, the idea behind Pinnock’s was to create a traditional coffee house and meeting place for the local community – and the formula certainly seems to have proved a hit with readers of Surrey Life. This is the second year in a row that they have won the award for best Tea/Coffee Shop.
So, what makes Pinnock’s, a former sweet shop, stand out from the crowd? Well, the quality of the cakes are on a par with Mary Berry’s creations, ingredients are locally sourced where possible and the service is warm and welcoming with Russell and Andy making you feel instantly at home.
The 17th century listed building is straight out of a BBC period drama, with an upstairs lounge, similar to a country-style gentleman’s club, comfy sofas, library book swap and games area.
The place seats about 70 inside and 20 outside. I sat at a table downstairs opposite the bar where you can watch Russell in action as he prepares the drip coffees (£2.40 a mug). He is clearly passionate about coffee and offers eight varieties with beans ground fresh for each cup.
Alternatively, if you are planning to enjoy the special High Tea (£12.50 a head) with cakes, mini canapés, cucumber sandwiches and scones, served on the classic three-tiered cake stand, then I suggest choosing a table upstairs and one of those comfy sofas. Tea-lovers can choose from ten varieties of loose leaf tea (£2 a pot).
Cakes and pastries…
There are plain cakes, fancy cakes, trendy cakes and traditional cakes (£2.50 a slice) but according to Russell, the retro cakes are the most popular. The top three cakes are chocolate and raspberry brownies, Victoria sponge and polenta & orange cake.
If you fancy something different, why not try the Earl Grey and lemon cake, Malteser cake or chocolate scones.
Most of the cakes and savouries are made by Andy Shaw, baker Richard Brown and Russell’s mum, Shirley James.
On the menu…
The menu has evolved over the last two years and offers breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea. In the morning, the toasted bagel with smoked salmon and cream cheese (£4.50) is a comforting start to the day, while the home-made quiche (£6) and sausage rolls (£3.50), made with sausage meat from the local butcher, Graham Turner, keep regulars more than happy. There is also a great ploughman’s (£6) with generous portions. For sandwiches, there are all sorts of breads (white or brown, gluten-free, baguettes, ciabatta, wraps) and a mix of fillings (from £4.50). Festive offerings include mince pies, Christmas cakes and winter spiced brownies.
Pinnock’s has become the heart of the community where all sorts of groups meet – from the Knit and Stitch Club to the local History Society. In December, why not take the chance to explore Ripley Christmas Market and then pop into Pinnock’s for a little taste of foodie heaven?
If you want your family vintage crockery to go to a good home then Russell and Andy are keen collectors, and would be delighted to use your china in the coffee house.
Louise Johncox’s parents, Peter and Frankie, ran Peter’s tea shop in Weybridge from 1958 until 2000 when they retired. Louise has written a book about her parents’ tea shop, The Baker’s Daughter, which is out now in all good bookshops (see louisejohncox.com/index.htm)