Popular Pleasley tea room debuts new 'English secret garden' outside seating area
As the weather continues to stay dry and warm after a month of almost non-stop rain, a well-known Pleasley tea room has unveiled its new ‘English secret garden’ outside seating area.
The hidden oasis behind Cakefield Cakes Tea Room, which features almost a dozen new tables, opened at the end of last month as owner Gemma Lennane wanted to expand the venue’s outside seating options.
It means customers can now enjoy the cafe’s popular afternoon tea in the new secret garden, complete with hanging baskets and trellis that overlooks the waterside which is home to ducks, geese and swans.
Gemma – who previously worked for the NHS – set up the business on Meden Square in May 2019 after she decided to pursue her love of cake-making as a full-time career.
The tea room specialises in homemade cakes, freshly-baked scones, quiches and Ploughman’s lunches and turned to providing takeaway while the cafe was forced to close for months during lockdown.
"It was extremely difficult being closed,” Gemma said. "I lost most of my staff because obviously it just wasn't viable but we just had to diversify so we offered things for takeaway, we started doing our afternoon teas for takeaway. That went down really well."
The Cakefield Cakes owner decided to start refurbishing the outside space when Covid-19 restrictions changed to allow hospitality businesses to initially reopen outside as lockdown rules began to ease earlier this year.
She said: “It basically grew from the uncertainty of lockdown. We knew things weren't going to go back to any kind of normal straight away and we only had six tables outside.
"Customers have loved it, everyone that has come down can't believe it because it was never really used.
"People are really enjoying it, it's just so peaceful, quiet and it goes with everything that we are as a tea room in that it is somewhere to come and sit and relax and just waste away your day.
"It just takes a bit of weight off really, we can't always rely on the wonderful weather but it is just that thing of when I go out now I sit outside because I just feel that you've got that bit more space and you're not inside with a lot of people."
Gemma has plans to use the new ‘oasis’ as a venue for small weddings and outside functions in the future.
The business owner also hopes her recently unveiled ‘English garden’ will give customers peace of mind when visiting the cafe, as they now have greater capacity to seat more people outdoors – hopefully making those still feeling nervous about lockdown easing more comfortable.
She said: "I think a lot of people are still quite wary of going out so in the long run it is going to benefit our customers, they are from young to old but everybody just wants to feel safe.
"It has also given us that lift to think we can actually get back to where we were before lockdown happened and yes we can be better than we were before.”