The Speckledy Hen in Shamley Green - On the Tea Shop Trail
PUBLISHED: 21:05 01 May 2014 | UPDATED: 21:18 01 May 2014
This month, Louise Johncox gets a taste for a cake made from courgettes, pistachios and lime at The Speckledy Hen in the picturesque Shamley Green
Need to know:
The Speckledy Hen Café and Deli,
Shamley Green GU5 OUB. Open Monday to Friday, 8am to 4pm; Saturdays 9am to 4pm. Tel: 01483 894567 / thespeckledyhen.com
Cathy Garthwaite and Christina Collins opened The Speckledy Hen in Shamley Green in April 2012. They met as mums at a local school and saw an opportunity for setting up a café serving home-made food and selling gifts. Cathy has a degree in Hospitality and Management while Christina has a background in retail buying and merchandising. They chose the name for the café based on a favourite book. In fact, if you look carefully, you will notice a hen theme with hen platters and themed gifts.
The Speckledy Hen is situated in The Old Forge with its classic interior of red brick and open beams. Cathy and Christina bought all the furniture secondhand from bric-a-brac and antique shops giving the café a shabby chic, homely feel. They also hand-select all the gifts on sale, ranging from jugs and mugs to locally sourced foods. I spotted lots of lovely items including a large jug (£19.95) and mugs (£6.95) while my mum bought some chutney as a present. The deli itself also stocks all sorts of goodies perfect for foodie lovers. “We love shopping and source the kind of gifts that we would buy for ourselves and friends!” says Christina.
There are six tables and two breakfast bars with seating for 35 to 40. The window table is the most popular one where customers can enjoy the view of the picturesque Shamley Green. My mum and I sat at the table opposite the open-plan kitchen where we could chat to the owners and enjoy the atmosphere of the café. If you are planning a party, there is a large communal table available in the adjoining room, a perfect place to gather with friends. On the day we visited, there were a mix of customers, including a cyclist, a young family with a toddler and an elderly couple.
On the menu…
The cake counter offers a wide range of tasty treats – with everything from a classic Victoria sponge (£2.95) to millionaire shortbread (£2.50) and the exotic sounding courgette, pistachio and lime cake (£2.95). I couldn’t resist trying the latter, which had a delicate sponge and a lovely lime flavour. My mum went for the millionaire shortbread, which is made from a secret recipe. I tried a piece and enjoyed the sheer decadent indulgence. Elsewhere on the menu, favourite breakfast choices include bacon butties (£3.95), smoked salmon and scrambled eggs (£9.95), and home-made granola, Greek yoghurt and honey (£3.95). The lunch menu, meanwhile, includes filo tarts with salad (£9.95), a Salad Special containing butternut squash, Serrano ham and Stilton (£11.95) and home-made soup of the day and sandwich (£9.95). There is also a children’s menu offering mini home-made pizza (£5.95) and beans on toast (£3.95).
The drinks are priced competitively: cappuccino (£2.30), latte (£2.30), tea (£1.95), ‘Wicked’ hot chocolate with whipped cream, marshmallows and chocolate flakes (£2.85) and milkshakes (£2.50). Everything is made on the premises aside from the bread (provided by The Hungry Guest at Petworth) and the gluten-free tray bakes.
The Speckledy Hen has a welcoming, community feel and the owners have taken great care in producing an enticing menu for snacks, lunches and afternoon tea.
In the spring and summer, Shamley Green is one of those quintessential English villages worth exploring before or after a visit to The Speckledy Hen.
In addition, a six-mile walk has been created from The Speckledy Hen to its sister café, The Dabbling Duck in Shere, which you can find online at ifootpaths.com – perfect for breakfast in one and then lunch in the other.
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 the shops now (see louisejohncox.com/index.htm)