It’s all change at the Almondsbury Garden Centre. Builders are currently working on a number of improvements to the site, with work expected to be finished in March 2016.
One major recent change is an upgrade to the garden centre’s onsite restaurant, which opened in its new guise on Monday, September 28th with a fresh new look, a larger dining area and upcoming plans for new menu additions.
Adorned with wicker chairs and plain wooden tables, it doesn’t look like your stereotypical garden centre café: it’s comfortable and welcoming and not, as some are, designed with a purely older audience in mind. My one criticism would be that it’s a little dark. While the large windows will no doubt let in plenty of natural light in the summer, this wasn’t the case on a grey October day – the energy saving bulbs just weren’t cutting the mustard. The larger seating area (it now holds around 120 people) means that it’s also far easier to get a table: we’ve visited before on a Bank Holiday, and have given lunch a miss due to a lack of available tables.
The Kitchen’s green and white branding is fresh and modern, with the wood panelled counter area standing out thanks to its huge chilled cabinets filled to the brim with cakes and pastries.
Visitors can choose from a range of hot drinks, with Lavazza coffees priced from £1.99 to £3.49, and teas from £1.99 for English Breakfast to £2.29 for one of their speciality teas, including Earl Grey, camomile, jasmine green and more. From a food point of view, diners can choose between breakfast dishes, jacket potatoes, sandwiches, toasties, paninis, hot wraps, salads, light snacks and sides, with a range of hot daily specials also on offer (including chicken curry, chilli con carne, cauliflower and broccoli bake and more on the day of my visit). The aforementioned cakes and pastries are produced by Joe’s Bakery. From scones, doughnuts and individual pastries to slices of larger cakes, there’s plenty to choose from – and portion-wise, they’re certainly generous…
It’s also good to see that children are well catered for, and their meals are accompanied by an activity book and pack of crayons to keep them entertained.
Meals and drinks are ordered from the counter, where you’re given a table number to place on your table – food is brought straight to you when ready.
I’m easily swayed by macaroni cheese when I see it on the menu, and things were no different here. My order (£5.99) came served in a shallow dish, along with two generous wedges of Joe’s Bakery bread: one white, one granary.
As with the aforementioned cakes, the portion was generous: the serving dish piping hot and oozing with cheese, the pasta cooked nicely al dente. While there wasn’t a great deal of sauce surrounding the pasta, the dish was by no means dry: each piece of macaroni was nicely coated and the quantity of melted cheese was perfect.
Too full for cake, I took some home instead…including a decadent custard slice, a lovely dense iced jam doughnut and a coconut coated sponge, which we shared that evening and the following day.
While I wouldn’t say I’d make the detour to Almondsbury Garden Centre just to dine in The Kitchen, I’d definitely eat there again on one of our future visits. Serving good, honest food at good, honest prices, it was a perfectly enjoyable lunch – and with more foodie developments planned for the garden centre in the near future, it’s well worth a visit.
Please note: our meal and drinks were received free of charge, but this in no way impacted on our opinion. We were not obliged to write a positive review, and the venue did not see this review before it was put up on the site.