Tucked away in the rural town of Frome, England is the Garden Café, a vegetarian restaurant that offers customers only the freshest local produce, grown using ethical, eco-friendly techniques.
Opened in the mid-90s, just an hour and a half from London, this excellent café has been offering the residents of Frome, of whom many are liberal city commuters, the chance to enjoy an ever-evolving vegetarian and vegan menu.
The main dining area is adorned with simplistic wooden tables and earthy wall tones, creating a relaxed atmosphere that plays host to live music regularly.
One of the highlights of the menu is the vegetarian take on a classic English Breakfast, which is usually made-up of pork sausages, bacon and black pudding (fried pig’s blood).
Image: The Garden Café
At the Garden Café, organic beans and pan-fried potatoes complement organic eggs, tomatoes and mushrooms. The emphasis on quality ingredients allows the local chef to give customers a traditionally meat heavy meal without blaspheming. The fact that many of the café’s regulars are meat lovers speaks for itself.
Fairtrade approved coffee accompanies the breakfast, blended using electricity provided by an innovative British energy supplier, Ecotricity, which produces all of its electricity from renewable sources.
Image: The Garden Café
Past the dining area, through a narrow stone hallway, is the quaint summer garden from which the café owes its name. Flanked by high reaching stone walls and filled with wooden tables, this outside area reflects the unashamed commitment the proprietors have to helping the planet.
Lights circumnavigate the garden but can only be turned on if someone has taken the time to ride the bicycle that charges the batteries that power the lights. No patio heaters are used because of their wasteful nature, with hot water bottles and blankets the only accomplices offered on chillier days.
The best way to warm up, though, is the cashew nut and bean patties, planted on toasted pita bread upon a mint and yoghurt dressing. In essence a burger, the bean patties offer a small but tasty kick from a number of organic spices, while leaving room for one of the café’s signature salads.
Despite the plate being on most occasions licked clean, health and safety regulators insist they be washed in a more traditional manner, the same goes for the tables. The Garden Café gladly adheres to these rules and keeps the place hygienic using only biodegradable cleaning products.
All disposable objects at the café are recycled and the food waste is prevented from going to land fill sites in an effort to reduce the establishment’s effect on the environment.
Drinks include local spring water that is found just 20 minutes away, and an array of organic teas, milkshakes and juices. The customary alcoholic drink in the south west of England is cider. The Garden Café offers a selection of refreshing ciders that, in this part of the world, are perfectly innocent accessories to lunch.
This writer has visited the Garden Café on many occasions and would recommend it to anyone looking for wholesome, flavorful eating with a touch of moral responsibility.
This is a guest post by Ryan Child, who blogs about cars, travel and life. Check out his collection of city guides on Nice, Milan, Bristol and more.