Mila, Godalming - On the Tea Shop Trail
- Credit: Mila
Combining a fantastic café with a yoga studio and even the occasional art exhibition, Mila in Godalming is anything but your average tea shop
Originally published in Surrey Life magazine January 2015
Need to know:
Mila, 1 Angel Court, Godalming GU7 1DT
Open Monday to Friday: 8am to 5pm; Sundays: 9am to 4pm. Tel: 01483 808569. Web: httcafemila.co.uk
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Steve and Jane Shorney opened the Mila café and yoga studio in Godalming in 2011. They have transformed the Angel Court property, a former nightclub, into a relaxing place to nourish the body and soul. Steve is originally from South Africa and has had an eclectic career from corporate law to television producer while Jane, who hails from Amersham in Buckinghamshire, trained as a chartered accountant and is a passionate cook.
The décor is a mix of recycled furniture, eBay finds, old chapel chairs and others made by local craftsmen. The café is normally furnished with art and about three times a year local artists exhibit their work.
Upstairs, there are seven tables and 22 seats including the coffee table and six comfy chairs. Downstairs, there are seven tables and 24 seats.
“The most popular tables are our old French farmhouse table, the table for two by the window next to the studio upstairs, and ‘the snug’, which is a table under the stairs,” says Jane.
Cakes and pastries…
I visited the café on a busy Saturday with my mum and sister and we shared afternoon tea and cakes, including lemon curd tart (£2.60) and citrus sponge (£3.20). Both were very tasty and satisfied the sweet lemon craving on a cold day. We sat on a comfy sofa downstairs and I have to admit I didn’t really want to leave.
Most of the cakes are made by chef Jodi Boshoff, who is from South Africa, like Steve. Her mum, Susan Boshoff, is the hot food chef.
The three most popular cakes are apparently the Raspberry & Coconut (£3.80), the Carrot Cake (also £3.80) and the Lemon Polenta (£3.20), but, according to Jane, everything sells fast.
A cup of tea is a reasonable £1.50, a pot is £2.50, while a cappuccino or latte is £2.50.
On the menu…
If you feel like something savoury, there is a good selection ranging from falafel in pitta – home-made falafel, lots of fresh chopped crunchy vegetables and salad blended with humous and stuffed into a pitta bread (£6) – or vegetable curry, popular with the locals (£8.50) plus home-made salads (small, £5.50, and large, £8.50).
On the day I visited, there was a warm atmosphere in the café with a mix of customers, some with dogs. We had gone there specifically for afternoon tea but the plates of savoury meals, particularly the quiche and salads, looked very generous and wholesome. The staff and customers were so friendly that I felt immediately at home and aware that Mila is a popular café at the heart of the community.
“We have all sorts of customers,” adds Jane. “We’re popular with mothers and children of all ages, but there are many people who work at home and enjoy sitting upstairs in our quiet space to use the WiFi, a fair number of office workers who come in for lunch, and lots of older people too. No one category predominates.”
There are also plans to develop the yoga studio, increase the catering offering and possibly open in the evenings too; a true independent café that is well worth a visit.
There are all sorts of events and clubs going on at Mila so visit the website for information on the yoga studio, evening functions, themed dinners, wine tastings, music gigs and more.
Louise Johncox’s parents, Peter and Frankie, ran Peter’s tea shop in Weybridge from 1958 until 2000 when they retired. Louise has written a book about her parents’ tea shop, The Baker’s Daughter, which is out now in all good bookshops (see louisejohncox.com/index.htm)