So we’ve now been open a month. It's been exhausting and enjoyable. The team have bedded in really well and I'm really proud of them. We reckon we've served about 5000 customers over the four weeks which has kept us nicely busy but not made things manic. Hopefully it also means the cafe has a good buzz but isn't crowded. People appreciate a bit of space in these times and with a spacious atrium inside with a large terrace outside we can offer plenty of distancing. Talking of outside - it’s good to see the sweet peas still in full bloom - four weeks and counting!
The next big step was extending the opening to seven days a week which we started in August. We are part of the 'Eat Out to Help Out' scheme announced recently by the Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak. Basically the deal is that on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays in August customers will get 50% off all purchases up to £20. We thought of calling it ‘Rishi’s dishies’ but that might be a bit disrespectful.
To prepare for this we've been working up some new menus. I noticed last week the marrows are putting on weight in the veg patch so I knocked up a Marrow Biriyani Curry. The team seemed to think it tasted great so that will be going on the menu next week. It's suitable for vegetarians and not overly calorific - for those who want to join Boris in losing a few pounds but still want a tasty treat. In addition we’ve put lots of new dishes on the menu - including pies. Everyone loves a good pie! Please check out the menu page.
We’ve had lots of nice comments from customers and a few suggestions which we’ve taken on board - although I’m not sure we will be taking up the idea of one lady who said it would be nice to have a fountain in the restaurant. I know it can get a bit warm in August but there are limits. There’s no plan for a flume either I’m afraid!
So please pay us a visit even if it’s for a ‘look see’ with a quick bite or for something more substantive. Bookings for tables are going well but if you wanted to just drop in I’m sure we can find you plenty of nicely distanced space.
Phew - what a great weekend! The team - Me, Matt, Charlie, Adam and Em were really nervous as we opened our doors for the first time at 9.00 on Saturday. It felt a bit like we were throwing a party but didn’t know how many would turn up. Fortunately, the number of people was consistent and social-distancing manageable, with an average of twenty people per hour across both days. Several people enjoyed eating al-fresco on the patio amongst the sweet peas. Admittedly it was a bit breezy so most were happy to stay in the spacious atrium area. People were so friendly and kind with their comments, wishing us luck with the new venture.
“Just what Clacton needs” - was a common remark.
I’ll admit that by Sunday evening we were all in need of some sleep. It was then I remembered why. The tables hadn’t turned up until 11pm on Friday night and we were still putting them together after midnight! I’m really proud of my new Blue Garden team and the cafe and garden, so I hope you come to see us soon. Unfortunately we’re not open Mondays and Tuesdays for now, but we will be raring to go again Wednesday morning with our new breakfast menu. So, if it’s breakfast, brunch or lunch, morning coffee for a natter with friends or afternoon tea for a bit of a treat, we can’t wait to see you.
We’re really looking forward to opening tomorrow. Our team of me and Charlie in the kitchen with Matt and Adam front of house is raring to go. Covid has changed our plans, but we’ve all had to adjust to the ‘new normal’. It’s really important we go the extra mile to ensure both our staff and customers are safe and protected. Among other things, this means less seating and changes to the service regime. The good news is that we have plenty of space both inside and out. The forecast tomorrow is warm and dry so we can make the most of our outside space.
When the doors open at 9:00am, we will be offering the Blue Garden experience of ‘Simple food, done well’, served to you by friendly staff. So, whether it’s morning coffee, afternoon tea or a spot of lunch (not forgetting our 3:30pm onwards taster menu) - we look forward to seeing you.