Frinton-on-Sea has loads of great coffee shops and restaurants, most of them being on the main high street. For one family outing we decided to go outside of the gates and try out the coffee shop in Parker’s Garden Centre instead.
Parker’s Garden Centre is much loved throughout Frinton-on-Sea and the surrounding areas – although not the cheapest place to purchase plants and other gardening supplies they offer a fantastic range of products of very high quality. The coffee shop is situated inside the main part of the garden centre, surrounded by loads and loads of lovely plants for sale. We chose to sit inside as we were rather drawn in by the comfy wicker sofas, however there is also an outdoor seating area backing onto the garden area.
I was worried that the noise of the garden centre might be off-putting however this wasn’t the case – it was lovely having all that scenery around and was filled with the normal coffee shop noises. Only once did we have a staff member come past with products which was quite loud, but the rest of the time felt really chilled. The temperature was great as it was set to warm garden centre needs, so those of you that aren’t a fan of the heat may wish to sit outside, or perhaps further inside the coffee shop.
Customer service was generally quite good at well – the staff were friendly and checked in regularly to make sure we were okay, and they were fairly quick with seating us and then taking our orders. I also liked that there were free children’s books and newspapers provided for customers, which was a nice touch and tailored towards their most popular clientele.
Four of us were dining in total and we all went for quite different options from the menu. I was quite hungry so went for the quiche of the day on the light lunch menu which turned out to be tomato and cheddar (one of my favourites). This was served with coleslaw and salad and was so lovely! I really liked that the quiche was its own tartlet rather than a slice and it was flavoursome, tasting homemade. The salad that came with it was surprisingly filling due to the amount, and I also liked the coleslaw which was a good combination of creamy and crisp. I had a flat white alongside my order – I loved the moustache face design on the top!
My partner Paul went for two options from the light lunch menu – a toasted mozzarella, pesto, sunblush tomato, and parma ham panini plus a plate of garlic ciabatta bread with mozzarella, which we shared. The panini also came served with a salad, and although Paul enjoyed it he felt that it was far too salty – we originally thought this was due to the parma ham but it actually seemed to be coming from the sunblush tomatoes. Once he removed these he much preferred the flavours, feeling that perhaps either fewer tomatoes or more mozzarella was needed to balance out the range of flavours. We both agreed however that the garlic bread was incredible – so cheesy, and the garlic and parsley butter was divine! I’m now going to struggle to go into Parker’s Garden Centre and not order that again, even on its own, as it really was beautiful.
Paul’s Nan wasn’t too hungry so just asked for a portion of chips, which came out in the most delightful little metal watering can. We couldn’t get over how cute it was! The chips were thick cut and crispy on the outside, exactly how they should be. Paul’s Mum decided to go for the ham ploughman’s, which was huge! It featured Dingley Dell smoked ham served with an onion relish from Tiptree Jam, pickled onions and gherkins, coleslaw, salad, and freshly baked bread. She was very happy with it, and particularly enjoyed the smoked ham combined with the onion relish, which was full of flavours. She went for tea rather than coffee which came served in a teapot.
Now… Onto the garden centre! Parker’s Garden Centre is one of favourites in the area to visit because they have so many varieties of plant, from indoor succulents to large outdoor trees. The plants are well looked after and you can buy lots of interesting types that you might not find elsewhere. I particularly love their range of hanging basket succulents, which feature some really curious flora.
When you go out into the main garden area you can buy a variety of different pots and garden ornaments – we couldn’t believe the sizes of some of the pots! They even sell wooden seating areas and beautiful sculptures, and there’s certainly loads of inspiration to be had. I can imagine that it’s the sort of place where you could just end up buying everything if you had the money (which, perhaps luckily, I don’t).
Back inside the garden centre there are also loads of non-gardening products, featuring brands such as Gisella Graham, Jellycat, and Joules. It’s easy to spend quite some time there as there’s so much to look at, and they often have sales where you can nab some great bargains (I got a brilliant book on salmon recipes there last year for just £2!). I didn’t buy anything extravagant whilst we were but did purchase two motivational quote postcards for less than £2 in total which I took home and framed to decorate my desk with.
Parker’s Coffee Shop within Parker’s Garden Centre in Frinton-on-Sea is a great place to go for lunch – the prices were fair, and generally the food was very good. With so much else to look at it can also make a great little trip out with family, and an easy way to upgrade both home and garden in one move.
What you you have ordered from Parker’s? Let me know below, and don’t forget to like and pin if you enjoyed this review! You can check out some of my other Essex-based coffee shop reviews here: