Today my mum and I were on a bit of a tour of Christmas craft fairs, along the way we decided to stop at the Potash Tearooms in Hockley, the new tearooms opened by the long-running Potash Garden Centre next door. The building in which the tearooms are housed was originally a family home that has been opened and expanded to become a spacious cafe seating 47 people.
We arrived on a rainy Saturday morning and were keen to get inside for a hot cup of coffee, however, we found that we couldn’t find our way in! The door which must have once been the front door has a ‘staff only’ sign on it but no other indication of how to enter, something which we noticed other people having problems with while we were sat inside. The tearooms are actually entered through the garden centre itself, something which we discovered after a little exploring.
The interior of the cafe is lovely, very quaint and girly with flowery bunting and pink accents. A cabinet holding a variety of cakes welcomes you as you enter, along with chalkboards declaring the day’s specials. There was also a lovely little fireplace that was a warm welcome (literally) on a chilly day. We sat down and were quickly served by a waitress who was polite but a bit miserable and not very welcoming. There were only a couple of other tables occupied, which were both in the finishing stages when we ordered, so we received our food very quickly. The menu isn’t massive but had a lovely selection of toasties, sandwiches, salads and jacket potatoes that gave us more than enough options for a light lunch.
We ended up choosing a cheese and ham toastie with a latte as well as a brie and bacon panini with a hot chocolate. The drinks and meals came up and were a nice size and prettily presented. My panini was nice, with lovely brie and thick bacon but my mum’s cheese and ham toastie was a little disappointing. It seemed that instead of being in an actual toastie, the fillings were just placed between two pieces of toast as the fillings weren’t warm and the cheese hadn’t melted. We were the only customers for the most part of our meal; the room was very quiet and could maybe do with a radio or some background music to break the silence somewhat. Out of the three members of staff in the tearooms, only the young lady who brought over our drinks seemed friendly; while we were eating a girl went to the desk to hand in a CV, which was then rewarded with a funny look and a catty comment from the waitresses after she had left, something which didn’t sit well with either of us.
Overall, the Potash Tearooms are very pleasant but were let down by the frosty reception from certain staff members and the no-more-than-average food. We would probably go back if ever visiting the garden centre one day but wouldn’t necessarily go out of our way to visit again, which is a shame because it is a lovely venue!