Cornwall LivingIssue #74
A leisurely lunch
We discover the Potager, a vegetarian garden café nestled amongst the trees.
Having grown up in Cornwall, I am lucky enough to hear about the best local restaurants from family and friends. It’s nice to have personal recommendations rather than relying on internet searches and reviews. So, I followed a friend’s recommendation and headed to Potager Garden and Café in Constantine. We took the scenic route via the village of Gweek, past the bustling boat yard and following the winding country roads. At this time of year the hedges are bursting with wild flowers, plants and wildlife – everything looked lush and green.
“Outside there are hammocks to relax in with a book while taking in the sights and smells of the garden. There were so many flowers that we hadn’t seen before…”
On arrival the car park was almost full; Potager is obviously popular. “Why haven’t I been here before?” I asked myself. If you park in the main car park you can follow a path up through the gardens past the vegetable patch up to the café, which is housed inside a large glassed conservatory. We couldn’t wait to try out some of the delights on the menu. It was busy, but still had a cosy relaxed feel to it. For the winter months there’s a wood burner waiting to be lit, I will definitely be visiting then for some warming soup in front of the fire.
The café serves hearty veggie breakfasts, sumptuous cakes and nutritious vegetarian specials, thanks to chef Daisy’s inventive ideas and flavours. The menu changes with the seasons and Potager prides itself on using fresh ingredients straight from the garden. I chose the laksa curry from the specials list. It was a spicy coconut broth full of sweet potato, mange tout, green beans and whole-wheat noodles. The zingy spices shone through the coconut milk and fresh veg. My lunch companion had the mezze platter – a delicious combination of pickled cucumber, hummus, tzatziki, bulgar and green salads and fresh sourdough bread. It was all so fresh and delicious.
Of course a weekend treat isn’t complete without dessert. I finished with a slice of lemon and poppy seed cake. It was the star of the show! It was sharp and sweet with lots of punchy lemon flavour and added texture from the poppy seeds. It was the perfect end to a gorgeous lunch, which would have been really healthy, had I resisted the cake!
After our lunch we took a stroll around. Next to the café there’s a beautiful refurbished wooden greenhouse that’s almost tropical inside. There are books, games and table tennis, just what you need to keep the younger ones occupied while you enjoy some coffee and cake.
Outside there are hammocks to relax in with a book while taking in the sights and smells of the garden. There were so many flowers that we hadn’t seen before, which makes it a great place to go for some garden inspiration! Potager was born from an abandoned plant nursery that has been nurtured into a lovely garden space. There’s a great community feel to Potager too. You’re free to roam the gardens and greenhouse, eat, drink and play.
Potager Garden also has some artists’ studios on site and as we visited during the first weekend of the Cornwall Open Studios some of the artist were there to greet visitors and talk about their artwork. It was great to see them at work. Having an art background myself I was a little jealous of the artists doing what they love, in such a wonderful setting, with so much inspiration around them. Last month’s Cornwall Living featured Rebecca McDonald, an artist who is based at Potager Garden. She sculpts felt animals and creates installations that capture the imagination – you can read more about Rebecca by visiting www.cornwall-living.com.
Potager Garden is a place that I will visit again and again, not just for the food but also to see the gardens change through the seasons and to check out the artists at work.
The café is open on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and Bank Holidays from 10am to 5pm.
Breakfast is served from 10am to 12pm and lunch from 12pm and 3pm, with cake and coffee available all day!
"Outside there are hammocks to relax in with a book while taking in the sights and smells of the garden. There were so many flowers that we hadn’t seen before..."