I visit Perrywood's Coffee Shop every so often and will continue to do so as it's situated in a lovely garden centre and the view from the conservatory in the coffe shop is amazing (makes you forget you're in Essex!). The refurb looks really nice too.
That being said, on my last trip, I went to order a cake and my companion enquired whether the filling in the cake was indeed, real buttercream. The lady serving us retorted: "What do you mean real buttercream?". I said: "well not some kind of icing or frosting". She then went off to ask the kitchen what the buttercream was made of, only to come back and say it was made with Stork! (Stork being the margarine you would use to cook a cake, not make a BUTTERcream out of). We were all a bit surprised by this... buttercream should be made with butter, icing sugar, some kind of flavouring (vanilla, cocoa powder, coffee or whatever goes with the cake) and sometimes a little milk to loosen it up. I have noticed that since the recession, cafes/coffee shops and other eating establishements, seem to be trying to cut costs by making their fillings with margarine or just icing, instead of the real deal. It's a shame because I know Perrywood do actually make their own cakes (which is not always the case) and that is a definite plus point when going out for a treat.
Unfortunately, the lady serving did not automatically offer to exchange the cake for another option - seeing as we had actually enquired before she served the cake, and she had not gone off to find out until after she had cut it and plated it up. I was going to just stick with it as I felt quite uncomfortable - there was a queue of people standing behind us waiting. As I really didn't want to eat a load of raw Stork, my companion asked if I could have something else. The lady serving was gracious enough to give me a different option when my companion asked for it, which I appreciated and tasted very nice.
Having eaten lunch here several times before, I would echo the comment someone made earlier: it would be nice to have a hot vegetable option to go with the main courses. The lunch options listed when I was there the other day having my afternoon tea, sounded delicious, so we will be back!
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