The Orchid Café is a ‘family run’ establishment at the Moores Nurseries and Garden Centre just off the A606 on Melton Rd on the edge of Stanton-on-the-Wolds. I have been in here a few times looking for vegetable plants and to buy compost but never to eat. I asked around for opinion on the café and the food and the general consensus was that it was a ‘bit expensive for what it was’ and that ‘it used to be better’. So in true myfoodhunt fashion I decided to ignore all of the sage and salient advice and head over there to see the truth for myself.
It may sound a bit harsh but it was like being on the set of Cocoon before the old people found the magic stones in the pool that made them young. I suppose that I should be grateful that I didn’t wander in during a game of lunchtime bingo. In the same way that the clientele may be on the older side , the menu also caters for that generation, but that is probably fair enough after all who else has earned the right to wander randomly around a garden centre between the hours of 11am and 3.30pm midweek?
The menu boards did feature a number of old school British Classics such as Liver and Onions with chips or jacket potato for £6, or Gammon Steak with fried egg, chips and peas (no pineapple ring?) for £6.50. There was quite an emphasis on the use of the homemade tag with lasagna, pasta bake, and corned beef hash all being offered up. You see that chalk line through the “Homemade Lasagna” listing? That was me that was, I had the last piece at 12.05pm midweek. It wasn’t that busy so I don’t think that they had made that much of it on that day.
The slice of Lasagna on my plate had every sign of being homemade and having being cut out of a big dish. That is a kind way of noting that it was not the neatest piece of pasta pie that I have seen. It was quite tasty though and you could not really complain about the quantity. It had some of those nice semi-burnt, crunchy bits of cheese and pasta that you only get from a homemade dish with bits that have stuck to the lasagna pan. The sauce had plenty of meat mince in it and was not too full of tomato. The rest of the stuff on the plate was a little less exciting. The chips were from a bag and it seems a shame to go to the efforts of making half the meal homemade and then take the rest out of the freezer. There was a lot of the salad which was a good thing. I have never really understood the need or thought process involved in combining chips with salad on the same plate. Either we are in this for the healthy meal, or we are selling out for the comfort of those calorie laden chips. Lets just be decisive for once!
Another meal sampled on the hunt was the Quiche Lorraine and Chips which was also accompanied by a rather generously sized side salad. There were two large slices of quiche which were OK but not fantastic by any means. The filling was tasty but it was a bit soggy and the crust was a little soft, so I don’t think it had enjoyed being warmed up. I might have preferred it a cold cut slice in the end to be honest. It also came with a pile of those frozen chips, which on their day are fine if you take them for what they are. In comparison with the pricing and quality of similar places then the plate was perhaps a little bit overpriced at £6.50
I don’t have anything against the food at Moores, it is well prepared, cooked or heated up to order and seems to have a decent following of people willing to provide the café with their custom. I can understand the feedback that I had been given that the place was perhaps a little overpriced, and perhaps I would also say a little bit dated. But who am I to say that is a bad thing, it has to provide the sort of food that its customers demand and judging from what I saw it probably does. As for the price, it can’t really complete with the lower prices in the city, so I would suppose that it has to add a slight premium just to keep alive. At least that way you can get a meal or a snack when you are out wandering around that garden centre.
Moores Garden Centre is at 156 Melton Road in Stanton-On-The-Wolds. When you are driving along the A606 look out for the red phone box at the entrance as you cannot really see the sign until you get close. They are also on Facebook if you want to see what is happening at the centre