Squire’s in West Horsley - On the Tea Shop Trail
PUBLISHED: 16:32 23 May 2014
In her latest visit to a Surrey tea shop, Louise Johncox heads to the café at Squire’s Garden Centre in West Horsley to enjoy a super-size portion...
Need to know:
Squire’s, Epsom Road, West Horsley KT24 6AR. Opening times: Monday to Saturday, 8.45am to 6pm; Sunday, 10.30 am to 4.30pm.
Tel: 01483 282911 / Café Bar: 01483 284468. See squiresgardencentres.co.uk
A garden centre with its own nursery, Squire’s at West Horsley grows an excellent range of herbaceous and bedding plants. The shop itself houses a wide variety of plants plus a range of garden furniture and a selection of garden products and gifts. There is also a lovely café – worth exploring for a large selection of cakes with some of the biggest portions in Surrey!
The café is large with over 30 tables in the main seating area. There are plain wooden tables and functional chairs plus four easy chair areas with sofas. There is also a conservatory area, perfect for a warm day. The café is self-service with a big display of cakes from which to choose.
I went for tea with my mum Frankie, sister Fuby, brother Johnny and his wife Sam. My sister, who admits she is a cake snob, is very fussy about her cakes, while Johnny worked as a pastry chef for several years with my dad. So my family have high standards when it comes to cakes and comfort in a café! We chose a large table near the middle of the café, which suited us perfectly as a good vantage point to check out the cake display and to enjoy the café atmosphere. I noticed a mixture of customers ranging from ladies enjoying tea and cake, couples tucking into a jacket potato lunch and single people enjoying a quiet coffee and cake while reading a newspaper.
Cakes and pastries…
There were two counters offering a wide variety of cakes plus a large tray of scones. We counted a selection of 18 different pastries, which was impressive and made it hard to choose. The menu has more than just cakes though. Here you can find breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea – including a champagne tea (see below). As it was a Sunday morning, we opted for teas/coffees and cake. Lots of cake. We chose a slice of elderflower and raspberry cake (£2.95), fruit cake (£2.95) and cherry, chocolate chip and fruit cake (£2.95). The banoffee cake looked so naughty that I resisted it. Sam felt like something savoury and chose the Somerset brie and beetroot chutney tart (£6.95). The first thing to say is that the cake slices are very generous. I enjoyed the fruit cake as it tasted traditional and hearty. Everyone felt that the chocolate chip, cherry and fruit slice ‘made a nice change’. The elderflower and raspberry cake had a delicate sponge and tasted home-made. The cappuccino and latte cost £2.40 each while the Americano cost £2.20. Afternoon Tea, from Monday to Friday, costs £14.95 for two people.
On the menu…
As we whiled away the morning chomping on cakes and discussing the various merits of the different sponges, the lunch menu was brought out. The specials of the day looked appetising: roast loin of pork (£8.99) and seafood pie (£7.99). Other dishes include jacket potatoes with various fillings (£5.75) and classic British meals such as battered fish and chips (£8.95) and sausage and mash (£8.95). I was delighted to see Welsh rarebit on the menu as well served with bacon (£5.95). If you want something light then you can choose from a Caesar salad (£5.95) or a chicken and bacon Caesar salad (£7.95). There was also a good lunch menu for children ranging from spaghetti bolognese (£3.95) to cheesy pasta (£3.95).
Situated in the heart of the Surrey Hills between Polesden Lacey and Clandon Park, this is a perfect place to stop off for a cuppa. There was an excellent selection of cakes with a good mix of traditional home-made tasting pastries. The café was relaxed and the staff were friendly and helpful with suggestions. The café also has a licensed bar so if you fancy a champagne afternoon tea then this is the place to chill out and indulge. Keep an eye out for the offers.
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 in all good bookshops now (see louisejohncox.com/index.htm)
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