Another Sunny Weekend!

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This weekend we went to Petersfield to try out a new cafe and wander the town. It’s a place we enjoy going to for the secondhand bookshops, charity shops and browsing the vintage shops. We tend to spend a while browsing for books in the various shops so we have a meeting point when we finish. I like to pop into the other retailers before meeting up. This time I had a look around Mackays, though its now called M&Co. This isn’t a shop I tend to go in, this is a shop my mum used to go in when I was a child, it’s quite mumsy! Anyway I came out with this cute cardi knitted with ribbon, I call it my ‘Where’s Wally/Waldo’ cardi and was only £10 in the sale!

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We eventually met up and had a look around the library where I got out 2 books (Kind of Cruel by Sophie Hannah and Pigeon English by Stephen Kelman) and bought a Christmas baking book that might come in handy for work!

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Ok now to the cafe part, it’s called Natural Apothecary and is rather quaint as it’s quite small in size. The decor is a take on Victorian which one would imagine as apothecaries are from that era, though it’s not over the top. There are elements that feel quite urban such as the lighting that hang down. The bulbs look old world but the surrounds are quite industrial with the exposed cables. It’s a nice mix.

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We were told to take a seat and that they’ll come to take our order. We ordered an Americano, Hartridge’s dandelion and burdock, breakfast smoothie (mango, banana, strawberry and some other berries I can’t remember!) and an open top sandwich.

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My smoothie was nice and felt very fresh, the banana helped balance out the sharp berries. The open top sandwich was well presented on a slate board (though it can come across a bit pretentious), I chose the sourdough option over the rye and picked halloumi, hummus, aubergine and rocket. It was served with extra hummus which I don’t think is necessary, I would have prefer an onion chutney. The aubergine was cooked through and soft, this half was served with balsamic glaze which I didn’t mind. Bf detests balsamic glaze as he feels its a generic filler, that’s over used. Which is true sometimes.

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I really enjoyed the ambience and food here, the staff were real friendly, the only down side is that it can feel a little cramped, especially if you can’t bag yourself the best table in the corner near the window! Oh I forgot to mention they sell produce like at Bill’s

In total it all cost under £15, the open top sandwich was just under £6 and the smoothie was £3.50.

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Re-fueling at the Garage

On Saturday after a wander around the usual shops and library we decided to take a rest and have a bite at the Garage Lounge coffee and cake shop (but it isn’t just that, they offer a range of cooked food too). I was more interested in the cakes as we had already eaten lunch, plus I had heard that the ambiance was better than the cooked food so that put me off eating a full meal there a little. I did however take a good look at what they offered on the menu but nothing really stood out. The only things that appealed were the cakes and their french toast that was on their breakfast menu (starts at 7am, it didn’t have an end time so I presume it’s served all day). The name is unusual but it’s named after the previous establishment, a garage. Not the most flattering word in my opinion but at least it doesn’t look like a dirty old garage!

I have driven past this place since it opened in March this year but never got the chance to try it out until this weekend. I love the decor and how it has been styled with vintage finds, they did a good job in making the place elegant but not too intimidating for the area and ordinary folk like me!

We arrived around 2pm and the place was rather full but still had a few tables inside (right at the back, quite squished in) and some outside down the side road, but the atmosphere was lacking, so as soon as one of the tables that was facing the main road was free we nabbed it. Although it’s a busy main road I was not put off by it too much.

After looking at the display Bf ordered at the counter while I sat outside. They display the actual food for customers to see what’s on offer, it’s interesting and eye-catching but after a few hours I imagine the food being less appetising. We ordered Moulin Rouge cake (which is essentially a fresh strawberry cream cake, probably a génoise butterless sponge as it was very light), an espresso and lemonade fruit juice. The food came fairly promptly and I got stuck in! I definitely enjoyed the cake, it was served on a plywood board with a sheet of parchment paper. It came with extra strawberries on the side with a dollop of fresh cream and what balanced if for me was the white chocolate that encased the cake, it gave the cake some sweetness which complimented the cream and sponge. The cream layers in the cake was coloured pink, by fresh strawberries I presume.  The size was adequate and because we had lunch just before I was able to let bf share it with me. If on the other hand I hadn’t eaten I would most definitely be able to finish this myself with satisfaction.

The juice was a little peculiar as it didn’t taste of lemonade at all, in fact I couldn’t taste any lemon, it had a little bit of a fizz and had flavours of apple?!? Maybe they served us the wrong drink? The espresso was good, nothing special, though we particularly liked that it was served on a mismatched ornate saucer.

The food came to just under £10 at £9. The cake was £4.50 which is quite pricey I thought, but I guess it did come with some cream and extra strawberries. The espresso was a single shot and was £2, the lemonade was £2.50.

The only thing I disliked was that they only had one toilet! Though seeing this vintage scale in the toilet made me smile, though the smile soon dropped when I stood on it!

I give this place 9/10 for style, 8/10 for the cake, 7/10 for the lunch menu.