The Willows Garden Centre, Glentham
It is not just spring and the Easter break which prompt a visit to a garden centre these days.
David Nelstrop and his friendly staff at The Willows Garden Centre, Glentham have found the mild winter has kept them busy with visitors right through the colder months.
“We opened exactly a year ago,” David explained when I called in for lunch at their Café restaurant. “It has been so exciting to welcome customers and get their very positive feedback to the Garden Centre, Café and Deli.”
The centre is built around a right angle frontage which also includes units with boutique retailers selling pet products, handbags and accessories, giftware and a hair salon.
The Deli has a great range of speciality continental and locally sourced produce including own label wines, cheeses, charcuterie, flavoured oils, pasta, homemade breads, preserves and cordials. But it was the Café in particular I had come to visit for a light lunch on a lovely day.
The Café has been designed to be a light and airy space, with a choice of tables or less formal sofa seating. The wooden floors, wood burning stove and feature papered walls give a very relaxed and comfortable feel. To the side is a meeting room, the Harvest Suite, which was added soon after the initial opening.
“We found that there was local demand for a space which could be used for private dining, club activities and business conferences,” said David, “and people love having the Café and the catering options it offers so close to hand.” There is also a children’s Willow Tree play area just outside.
I drew up a chair at one of the tables and looked through the Breakfast menu which is available from 9am until noon six days a week, and until 11.30pm on Sundays. The All Day Full English Breakfast is a great choice at only £4.95 per person. I concentrated on the lunch menu, which offers a wide choice of filled baguettes or sandwiches, toasted panini and a list of Willows favourites including Boston sausage and mash with onion gravy, Croft Honey baked ham, egg and chips and fresh Grimsby haddock and chips to name but a few. I chose from the Specials blackboards at either side of the room, which also offered a choice of jacket potatoes with fillings.
My plate of goats’ cheese and red onion tart served with fresh coleslaw, new potatoes and a green salad was beautifully presented and proved a very generous and tasty lunch. A delicious, freshly made latte accompanied it. I could not resist sampling one of the tempting homemade cakes that were displayed on the counter. It was St Patrick’s Day, so naturally I had to choose the Guinness and chocolate cake with a light butter icing on top. Very moist and moreish! There were also scones, a coffee and walnut cake, gluten free lemon drizzle slices, white chocolate chip brownies, a Yorkshire tea loaf and rocky road bars all made by the Willows’ own in-house baker.
“We have some excellent brands on offer including Willingham Fayre Ice Cream, Belvoir Fruit Presses, Pipers Crisps and Fentimans drinks as well as a selection of wines and beers.
“Thursdays are always very busy with our over 55’s special 10% discount offer on lunch, while the Sunday carvery has been incredibly well received. From 4th April until the end of the summer we shall be opening until 8pm on Friday evening for eat-in or takeaway fish and chip suppers, as well as a choice of meals from the Specials board.”
Finally I had a wander around the well-stocked Garden Centre and its gift, plant and gardening accessories sections. This is a destination with plenty of treats to make your day.