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Lunch at the Cloister Coffee House, Strawberry Hill House

April 20, 2016

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I’ve been wanting to get back to the Cloister Coffee House for some time. It’s two years since I first went following the café’s takeover by Lawrence Hartley of the acclaimed restaurant, Brula (click here). Since then, Brula has closed and Lawrence has become co-owner of Joe Allen, Orso and recently the new Mustard restaurants. Team Brula are still in operation though at the Cloister Coffee House, with Lawrence, his wife Emily and Restaurant Manager Ewelina and Head Chef Jamie now creating a great menu offering cakes and coffee, afternoon teas, snacks, light lunches and a set lunch for £12.50. They also do the catering for events at Strawberry Hill House, including weddings.

Strawberry Hill House is Horace Walpole’s 18th century gothic architectural masterpiece. In recent years it’s undergone a major restoration costing £10.2 million (click website to find out more: www.strawberryhillhouse.org.uk). It’s a rather eccentric place as you can see from the photo at the top but quite unique, attracting many visitors. Today was the ideal day to visit. Partly because it’s my birthday and my friend Liz offered to buy me lunch and asked me to suggest where we went. With its gardens and peaceful setting, I thought it would be a good place to go and a nice place to introduce her to. It was especially wonderful because it’s such a glorious sunny April day, showing the House at its best. It also shows what a great setting it is for the café: you could go anytime of day (though it’s not open in the evening) for just a coffee or snack or meal. Many people were sitting outside today in the sun but Liz and I opted to sit inside and still had great views into the garden. Jugs of water with fresh mint sat waiting on the table, which is a great idea, and we also had a glass of prosecco each.

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It’s a great place to just head to for an excellent snack or meal, to meet friends, or just enjoy a tranquil setting away from the busy centre of Twickenham. Many people of course are there to see the House too.

As I’ll be eating a big meal tonight, I wanted something fairly light and not the full-blown set menu (though another day that would be great). I opted for Roast Mediterranean Vegetables with black olives, feta cheese, pine nuts, oregano oil & couscous.

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It was really delicious and still warm and obviously freshly prepared. It’s the kind of food I love and this was perfect for my ‘light’ birthday lunch. Liz chose Organic Salmon, Beetroot, Raisins, Pine Nuts & Parsley Salad.

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It looked good and Liz said it was very good. After, we ordered coffee for me, fresh mint tea for Liz, and a plate of Dark Chocolate Brownies came too, prepared by Jamie to wish me happy birthday.

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They were a delicious treat: dark, rich and chocolatey but with a nice lightness to them. I noticed they did a great sounding Afternoon Tea – Fizz Deluxe: Cream Tea + Cured Salmon Sandwich + Glass of Prosecco – for £10.95. Now that sounds like a great plan for my next visit one sunny summer’s afternoon!

 

2 Comments
  1. I do hope this all works out for the Brula team and they get a lot of custom this year. A visit to the house after a Cloister Coffee House lunch is an ideal way to entertain visiting friends. Now that I am ensconced for the summer in our hovel in Burgundy with a weighty book to write your little foodie jaunts around Twickenham and Richmond make a refreshing and welcome read.

    By the way have you tried the slightly odd Germanic sausage café by the river at Richmond – like the proverbial curate’s egg i thought it good in parts!

    • Yes I hope it works well for Brula team too and it’s such a nice place to go. I haven’t yet been round the house and keep meaning to. I know the German place you mean … Stein’s. I tried it years ago and mean to go back sometime. Glad you’re enjoying reminders of Richmond and Twickenham 🙂

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