Mon, 20 Jan 2020
WHEN we arrived at the Barn Café, part of the Darling Buds of May nursery, a group of young mothers were sitting enjoying a chat, over a cup of freshly-brewed coffee and some homemade cake, while their toddlers happily entertained themselves in the open play area, filled with books and toys.
The café, which opened last July, is just off the A339 on the road out of Newbury towards Headley.
“Our family have been running the nursery and caravan site for seven years,” explains café manager Sulafa Kaur Ghalley.
“We decided to convert what used to be the shop area into the café, so visitors to the nursery would have somewhere to meet and have a coffee or some lunch.
“I also want to create a space where groups can meet up away from the hubbub of town.”
The light and airy converted barn is certainly very welcoming and the array of cakes and other hot and cold dishes on offer is very tempting.
“I love cooking and we change the menu every week, to reflect the season,” says Sulafa. “We also cater for people’s dietary needs – with free-from choices as well as vegetarian and vegan.”
One initiative that Sulafa started in November is a lunch and story time club on Wednesdays between noon and 1pm.
For £10 per child, parents and carers can bring their toddlers along for a special kids menu lunch followed by 30 minutes of story-telling and music.
Sulafa would also like to encourage other groups to use the facility and will soon be offering delivered catering to local businesses. The walls are lined with displays of artwork by local artists and there is also a display of artisan goods for sale.
In the summer, the nursery held a barbecue with entertainment, which was a huge success and Sulafa plans to continue the special events in the café, so keep an eye out on their website and facebook page for news of upcoming specials and other initiatives.
A public footpath runs along the River Enborne around the edge of the nursery and café, making it a good stop for walkers. And, of course, if you’re on the look out for plants, Christmas trees, firewood, gas or coal, then you’ll find them all at the nursery, with the café on site to entice you in.
It’s not just about the café and the plants either.
The five-acre site also has a separately run dog paddock complete with agility equipment, which pet owners can book for a one-hour session for up to four dogs to run around and let off steam. Visit www.darlingdogsofmay.co.uk
The café is also dog-friendly so a welcome cuppa awaits after all that doggy exercise.