SNEAK PEEK: New £150,000 eatery at Honiton garden centre will feature 'living wall' and coffee corners
PUBLISHED: 11:29 29 May 2019 | UPDATED: 09:09 30 May 2019
A 'living wall', coffee corners and a kitchen headed by a top chef is coming to a Honiton garden centre as work progresses on its new £150,000 eatery.
The 82-seat restaurant is part of an extension to Combe Garden Centre in Gittisham, which opened at the start of December last year.
Manager James Trevett, formerly of Sidmouth Garden Centre, said he is 'really excited' to see the eatery in action when its build is complete.
He said: "We had a picture of how we wanted it to look and feel.
"We went to design companies, but did not give them a brief - what they came back with did not light us up at all.
"Myself, Combe Estate and our new manageress, Kimberley Astley-Jones, all had the same vision for this place - to the design details and the big serving hatch in the kitchen where customers can see the food being cooked."
Planning permission for the restaurant was granted by district planners earlier this year.
Mr Trevett said: "The new restaurant will feature a coffee corner with sofas and a living wall full of plants. We want it to feel like a knock-down orangery, like a garden centre should be.
"We will not have pictures on the wall for sale.
"This is a self-standing individual business that wants to gain a good reputation with other businesses and show that it is a proper eatery."
Mr Trevett revealed that he has 'poached' a chef from a 'proper restaurant', who is excited to get going at the garden centre.
New manageress Kimberley also joins the new business with more than 20 years of experience in the food industry on her CV.
Mr Trevett said since opening to now, the feedback he has received from customers has been very good - which has been mirrored in the centre's takings.
He added: "I was very cautious with my predictions, I wanted to be slightly reserved and see how it went. As it happens, people are coming in because of the quality."
The success of Combe Garden Centre is well due, following a fraught build which was hampered by delays.
Originally planned to open in April last year, work was halted after excavation works of the site, on the former Meadow View Nursery site in Gittisham, uncovered a settlement dating back to the Bronze Age.
More delays would see the centre finally open in December.