Full disclaimer: I was invited to try Purdy’s for free in return for a review.
It’s official. I’m getting old. I actually chose to go to a garden centre at the weekend and I enjoyed myself. Nobody warned me that would happen when I turned 30 and I’m not sure how happy I am about it…
How did this all come about? Well, when The Chap and I woke up on Sunday, unsure of what to do, we decided to head to Woodgate Nursery in Aylsham in search of an adventure*.
Of course, part of the adventure was lunch, so we stopped off at Purdy’s Tea Room to replace the calories we had burned ambling about amongst the plants.
The tea room is rather quaint, in a little building located near the entrance to the nursery, prettily decorated with pastel shades and florals. I was really surprised by how busy it was inside – there seemed to be more people inside the tea room than on the rest of the nursery complex put together!
In spite of the pretty interior, The Chap and I decided to live dangerously and opted to sit outside on the extensive patio area, where there was a nice pergola to shelter under should the heavens open.
The menu was surprisingly large for such a small tea room, with lots of sandwiches, toasties, jacket potatoes, salads and ploughman’s, along with a children’s menu. I certainly wasn’t expecting that much choice!
And although the menu said the bread was freshly baked, I was swayed by the description of the quiche of the day – a cheese and tomato quiche with salad. The fact that it was homemade with locally sourced ingredients was something I couldn’t resist.
The Chap, on the other hand, went for a brie and bacon toastie on white with a side of crisps.
I also ordered an Lavazza coffee and The Chap chose an espresso for that little bit of a kick on Sunday morning.
In spite of being super-busy, the ladies behind the counter were so helpful, explaining what was in each of the dishes so that we could make an informed decision. They were the reason I chose the quiche.
Taking the Norfolk air
We took our coffees out onto the patio and took in our surroundings while waiting for our food. We reclined and agreed that we would like to be better at gardening and to have such immaculately cared for flower beds!
We were very quickly joined by a local cat, who was remarkably demanding. He watched our every move with interest, in the hope that he could have some affection – he’s clearly very used to company! His presence was strangely welcoming, almost like being in someone’s garden!
In some ways it was a good distraction because the food did take a quite a while to come out. In fact, it took about 20 minutes, during which time we had finished our coffees. I know that it was busy, but my quiche actually came out cold, so it was a little surprising that it took so long.
In spite of that, the quiche was delicious – so, so cheesy. I have to say, there’s nothing worse than a bland quiche.
It had also kept its texture really well, in spite of the sweet tomatoes in the filling. There was no dampness at all, and no soggy bottom. Mary Berry would be so proud! It was also really filling – especially with the Caesar dressing topped salad.
And although The Chap’s sandwich didn’t look exciting, it was incredibly tasty. The bacon had such a distinctive flavour that paired perfectly with the subtle cheese. And yes, I did indeed manage to get hold of the toastie, even though I had more quiche than I needed!
A completed mission
Of course, an adventure isn’t quite complete without a pudding, right?
In spite of my eating more I needed, we ordered a portion of Victoria sponge between us (after deliberating between that and the chocolate fridge cake). The portions looked huge, so we thought it might be more sensible option than one each.
The sponge was amazingly light and moist – I could almost taste the rich butter the baker used. The jam was also tangy and cut a beautiful contrast with the sponge. It really was yummy. I was pleased with our choice.
If you want an excuse to check Purdy’s Tea Rooms out (as if you’d need one), they are holding a MacMillan Coffee Morning on Friday 25th September 2015 to raise funds. You can find out more about it here.
*We were actually looking for herbs and planters. Not adventure. Yep. I told you I was old.