The Pickled Pantry, Surbiton - On the Tea Shop Trail
- Credit: The Pickled Pantry
In this month’s installment, Louise Johncox visits a long-time favourite of hers, the Pickled Pantry, in her hometown of Surbiton
Originally published in Surrey Life magazine February 2016
Need to know:
The Pickled Pantry, 7 Central Parade, St Mark’s Hill, Surbiton KT6 4PJ. Open: Monday to Friday: 7am to 6pm; Saturday: 8am to 5pm; Sunday: 9am to 4pm. Tel: 0208 399 4694. Web: pickledpantry.co.uk
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The Pickled Pantry is a friendly, welcoming, independent café situated in the heart of Surbiton, just a few hundred yards from the station.
Joint-owners George Setchell and Joanna Venn opened up the café in June 2012 with the aim of creating a place where customers feel at home and enjoy home-made food.
George grew up in a family pub in Dorset where his father was the chef and his mother worked out front. After helping his parents launch their catering business in Dorset, he travelled with Jo to Australia and South-East Asia (working in Sydney for nine months where he learned all about coffee). Jo previously worked in the pub kitchen with George’s father and studied Business Hospitality at Oxford Brookes University.
The couple both worked in the Loch Fyne restaurant in Bath (George, assistant manager, Jo, the supervisor) before opening the Pickled Pantry.
The décor is modern and fresh with a home-from-home atmosphere. The furniture was sourced from a mix of antique shops and car boot sales. There are nine tables inside (seating 28) and five outside (seating 14).
“We wanted people to feel like they were around a friend’s house for afternoon tea or lunch,” says George. “When we first started, we had customers bringing their plates back to the kitchen and helping to wash up because we suddenly got very busy. These customers are still regulars and we would class them as friends now.”
On the menu…
The Pickled Pantry has an extensive menu for breakfast, brunch, lunch, light bites and afternoon tea plus a daily specials board.
I visited on a Saturday morning with my friend, Louise, who enjoyed fluffy pancakes with bananas and berries (£7), while I opted for a generous-portioned fruit salad with natural yoghurt and red berry compote (£3.90) with a freshly-squeezed orange juice (£2.60). Just what the doctor ordered following chronic laryngitis. I’ve previously enjoyed lunch and afternoon tea at the Pickled Pantry and can vouch for their soups, trenchers and selection of cakes too. They also serve 11 varieties of loose-leaf tea (from £1.90) and eight different coffees (latte, £2.20, and Americano, £1.90).
Jo makes the cakes and is constantly developing new recipes with a big selection (cake slices start from £2.60). A favourite treat is the gluten-free chocolate brownie (£2.30).
According to George, the most popular savoury plates are the trenchers with the jambon trencher being the favourite: jambon sec, smoky tomato paste, buffalo mozzarella, pine nuts, mixed leaves and balsamic (£6.90 with salad or £6.20 without).
The Pickled Pantry runs supper clubs every month so in February watch out for the Supper Club date as a way to celebrate Valentine’s with a loved one. There will also be Valentine’s Day cupcakes available in the café.
The Pickled Pantry is a unique independent café with a welcoming, professional service and a wide, varied menu including healthy and gluten-free options. The supper clubs and life-drawing classes make this a true community café. “We’re also looking for another café premises,” adds George. “So watch this space!”
The Pickled Pantry also offers a catering service for private parties. See the website for more details.
• 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 in shops now (see louisejohncox.com/index.htm)