Welcome to the Garsons Restaurant at Garsons Esher. This spectacular purpose-built space is the crowning glory of our building and refurbishment plans which have taken place over the last 18 months. Garsons Restaurant combines a varied menu of freshly-prepared dishes with table service and an unrivalled setting to challenge the notion of the standard garden centre cafe.
Seating up to 300 people, the glazed restaurant will open onto a delightful terrace in warmer weather with further dining space available outside overlooking the garden centre planteria. With the culmination of this final part of the project in spring 2016, visitors will enjoy a better-than-ever complete day out at Garsons, where all the family can enjoy shopping, playing, pick-your-own and eating in one place.
Commanding stunning views across our pick-your-own fields, Garsons Restaurant takes its cues from nearly 150 years of growing heritage here in the village of West End. During our picking season, diners will enjoy a menu prepared using fruit and vegetables picked that morning from the crops seen from the windows - you'd be hard pressed to find fresher food.
"From our earliest beginnings as a fruit and vegetable grower supplying London's Borough Market, our family farm has been known for quality, fresh produce," explains Ian Richardson, managing director of Garsons. "As we start this new chapter in our history, I'm proud that we are continuing this long-standing family tradition in a new way that all our visitors can enjoy. Eating our own produce while looking out over the fields where it has been grown feels like a natural step, as well as working with our long-time friends and suppliers, Bevan's Butchers."
The restaurant team is working closely with Garsons Farm Shop manager Nigel Chandler to source more fantastic food and drink and enhance the collaborative nature of the restaurant. Nigel has spent more than 20 years seeking out the very best local and artisan produce for Garsons, and his unparalleled experience and lasting relationships with trusted suppliers are priceless. Visitors to Garsons Restaurant can look forward to discovering some of their favourite ingredients and products in the Farm Shop, and vice versa.
HEAD CHEF MELVYN REDDING
Melvyn Redding has moved from the Terrace Restaurant at Garsons Titchfield to head up the kitchen team in the new Garsons Restaurant at Esher. Growing up in Southampton, the city he still calls home, Melvyn's passion for food began as soon as he left school and enrolled in a catering course at Southampton City College.
Melvyn's success in competitions at college set a standard that has continued throughout his career, winning Chef of the Year awards at Pitcher & Piano and Marks & Spencer, as well as Tilda Chef of the Year at Hotelympia 2012. Having worked his way up through the roles of chef de partie and sous chef to head chef in fine dining and more casual restaurant kitchens, Melvyn is proud to be bringing his experience to Garsons.
The kitchen team at Garsons Restaurant has been hand-picked by Melvyn from local and recommended chefs including sous chef Richard Surman who, like Melvyn, is well-respected within the Compass Culinary Team. They're all relishing a new challenge at Garsons, and are enjoying working in the garden centre environment.
The menus take inspiration from the fresh ingredients available in season, and Melvyn is looking forward to the first crops being ready in the pick-your-own fields at Garsons to use in the restaurant. "It's a new thing for me and I love the prospect of it," he says. "I think it makes for better menus; when you cook what's growing, you cook for the season outside. Pick-your-own is so popular at Garsons and I think people will love the idea that what they've just picked is being cooked in the kitchen a few feet away. I hope to inspire people, and give them fresh ideas for what to do with their own produce."
He's also enjoying working with the fantastic meat from Bevan's Butchers, which visitors will be able to find at the Bevan's counter in the Farm Shop. That's no surprise for a chef who describes himself as a 'steak man' when he's cooking for himself. "I'm a big fan of pork belly too, but I also really like lots of different veg - much more than carbs, I'm a pretty healthy chef!" says Melvyn, laughing that he has doesn't have much choice but to cook at home too. "I do love to get into the kitchen with my daughter, who's five years old. We do lots of baking, like the superhero cupcakes we made for her school to raise money for Children In Need."
MARKET KITCHEN COOKING
Conceived in partnership with Compass Group's Instore business, Garsons Restaurant marries the concept of market kitchen cooking with comfortable, stylish surroundings for a relaxing eating experience. The menu features the best of traditional British cuisine and much-loved dishes from further afield so that everyone - young, old and in-between - can find a favourite.
Classic farmhouse breakfast plates, indulgent afternoon teas, a make-your-own smoothie bar, health-conscious fruit and yoghurt options - these are just a few of the choices on offer. A regular selection of vegetarian dishes plus a dedicated children's menu means there will always be something for all tastes and appetites.
"Instore is delighted to be continuing its relationship with Garsons here at Esher and pioneering this brilliant concept of using the farm's home-grown ingredients in our menus," says Andy Rees, managing director for Instore, part of the Compass Group. "We're proud of our achievements at Garsons Titchfield, which was our first ever garden centre restaurant, and with this latest venture we will strengthen our ties to build a long and successful partnership."
DESIGN AND BUILD
The spectacular new building was designed by garden centre specialists Malcolm Scott Consultants to take full advantage of Garsons' superb situation in the Surrey countryside. The glass construction affords a panoramic view of the farm and the sky, so that diners can see the changing landscape throughout the year as they enjoy freshly prepared dishes created with the best seasonal ingredients.
The white-painted steel framework is inspired by market halls of the early 20th century, linking the airy, modern feel with Garsons' century-long legacy as a supplier to London's fruit and vegetable markets. The restaurant's outlook over the pick-your-own fields, including the table-top strawberry crops, is a welcome reminder that Garsons is still passionate about growing nearly 150 years on.
The construction was project-managed by Geo Hodges & Son, one of the leading contractors in the garden centre industry, while the kitchens and dining area layouts were devised and fitted by IFSE who worked with Abbey Furnishings on the seating, tables and interior design.
As a family of growers, respecting the environment is naturally important to us. As part of this project, we have laid some 8km of pipework in the neighbouring fields to capture geo-thermal heat energy. This energy powers the underfloor heating in our new restaurant, as well as the hot water systems in the kitchens and restrooms.
A key consideration for Garsons in the planning and implementation of the new restaurant and garden centre buildings was to ensure they would be accessible to people of all ages and abilities. To that end, we have built new toilet facilities with generously proportioned disabled and baby changing amenities. This, coupled with a site all on one level as well as ample free parking, including dedicated disabled bays, makes for a very user-friendly shopping and dining experience.
CAKE BY EMMA FULLER, AT THE CAKE HOUSE
Our magnificent farm-themed cake was created for us by master baker Emma Fuller of The Cake House, based in Dorking. Emma was trained by renowned cake expert Mich Turner MBE and is a member of the British Sugar Craft Guild. Holding a degree in Hotel and Catering Management, Emma is also a friend of Compass Group having managed catering for them at prestigious events such as Wimbledon.
RESTAURANT OPENING HOURS
Winter (September to March)
Monday to Saturday 9am to 4.30pm
Sunday 10.30am to 4.45pm
Summer (April to August)
Monday to Saturday 9am to 5.30pm
Sunday 10.30am to 4.45pm
Garson Farm, Winterdown Road, West End, Esher, Surrey KT10 8LS
Garsons is a family-owned business which has been based at Winterdown Road, West End, Esher, since 1871. Originally a fruit and vegetable grower for London's Borough Market, today the 150-acre farm is the site of the UK's largest pick-your-own operation which is complemented by a garden centre, farm shop and restaurant. In 1999, Garsons acquired a second site at Titchfield, near Fareham in Hampshire, adding a second garden centre, farm shop and restaurant site to the business. Garsons Esher is also home to swimming pool and spa specialist Poolclean, while reptile and aquatics centre Aquajardin can be found at Garsons Titchfield.
All images by www.andynewbold.com