BasebGarden centres have undergone a renaissance in the past five years.
They are no longer the sole preserve of the green-fingered and those of a certain age.
First came the realisation that a decent lunch was available, and then they shortened the chain between the public and the great man.
No, not that one, we’re talking Santa. They now represent the best value visits seasonal visits, with bookings full by autumn.
My local one joined the Dobbie’s chain earlier this year. With it came a refurbished restaurant, with 200 covers.The decor is suitably neutral, peppered with lush plants, in case you need a reminder of where you are.
Social distancing remains in place and perhaps, given time, more tables will be added.
An all-pleasing menu has been introduced and gives the diner what they’re looking for – salads, soups sandwiches and jacket potatoes. Then there’s the hot classics, like fish and chips.
I popped along to try the afternoon tea and was impressed by the finesse applied by the pastry chefs.
Delicate cakes and biscuits, served in an eye-catching display.
The sandwiches were as expected – cucumber, and ham and wholegrain mustard. The scones were the biggest I’d seen – plain and fruited.
All were accompanied by lashings of hot tea, served in individual teapots. Great value at £12.95.
A big effort was made to serve a children’s afternoon tea, with jam and Nutella sandwiches, which is ideal for fussiest eaters, unkeen on more grown- up flavours.
All round, an enjoyable experience.
Dobbies Garden Centre, 4a Woodmansterne Lane, Wallington SM6 0SU
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