The Foundry Garden Centre is on the A. 140 between Tasburgh and Newton Flotman, on the West side. It’s a fast stretch of road, and the main buildings are set well back, so it’s easy to whizz past, and not easy to find somewhere to turn round: it is really worth visiting their website for directions, and while you are there you can familiarise yourself with the place. There are photos of the coffee shop which are by no means ‘glossed up’ for the website, this is exactly what it looks like – clean, smart, bright and friendly.
This ‘eatery’ is called a coffee shop, but the range of food is much wider than that, offering sandwiches, jacket spuds, and panini, together with proper cooked lunches like we had.
Having spent more than I should on plants and bulbs, we retired to the café and ordered. I chose the salmon, new potatoes and salad, and my friend had a vegetarian chilli with rice and what was referred to as a salad garnish. As the café is not licensed we bought cool fizzy elderflower drinks; incidentally we were assured that we could bring our own alcoholic drinks if we wished. The staff were obviously very happy and therefore cheerful and willing; our lady offered to carry the tray of drinks to our table if we wished; being reasonably agile for our age, we declined.
There are tables outside but the weather was just too challenging to use them so we sat inside.
The tables in the café each had fresh flowers, and at least half the tables were filled with customers. By the time we left the place was totally full – and that was on a Monday.
When the food arrived we were both surprised at the size of the servings; my beautifully cooked salmon was generously proportioned, and my friend’s chilli was carefully balanced with the portion of rice: her salad ‘garnish’ was plentiful, and the chilli was not fiery at all.
Pudding! Oh how could I resist the idea of treacle sponge with ice cream (cream was an alternative)? My friend had spotted the remaining part of a chocolate, courgette and walnut cake, and imagined that – if she ordered it - it would be cut in half. Not so! The whole chunk was hers; I eased her conscience by telling her that the courgette qualified as one of her five-a-day.
When my treacle sponge arrived at the table I saw that it was similar in size, and appeared to be soaked in syrup, not just sitting in a miserly bit at the bottom. Oh bliss; the fabulous old-fashioned taste of it reminded me of my granny’s treacle sponge; I could have cried! The chocolate cake was not over-sweet as can sometimes be, and not a crumb remained.
Going back to the counter, I was pleased to notice that all the food preparation was done in plain sight; salads being made almost to order. Again I was offered the chance to have the tray of coffees carried to the table.
The bottom line was £36, but even if wine had been available, I doubt it would have exceeded £40. Lots of different cakes for about £3 a mega-slice.
The only (very minor) minus point is that the loos are outside – not far – but might necessitate a short walk in the cold or rain. All areas are disabled friendly, and there is acres of parking, and a wheel chair to borrow.
Best lunch for ages; and great plants too.
The Foundry Plant Centre, on A140
Phone: 01508 470 357