Paid collaboration with Pugh’s Garden Village Wenvoe
One minute you’re a child being dragged around a garden centre on a rainy bank holiday weekend; the next you’re a parent dragging your own children around a garden centre on a rainy bank holiday weekend.
Thankfully garden centres are a lot more fun than they used to be with plenty to keep the little people entertained these days.
Such was the case when we headed to Pugh’s Garden Village in Wenvoe to check out their new restaurant, The Orange Tree.
We’re already fans of Pugh’s Radyr garden village having attended their Little Green Fingers workshops in gardening skills for youngsters as well as their award-winning meet Father Christmas experiences.
The family-run company is currently redeveloping the Wenvoe site – located just past Culverhouse Cross on the road to Barry – and The Orange Tree restaurant opened a few weeks ago. It’s been a real hit with visitors. We’d heard from a few friends that the food was great and word must be spreading because it was constantly busy the entire time we were there on Good Friday.
We arrived just after 11am and with the rain clouds looming overhead went straight outside to the new play area where my children were pleased to have the space to themselves.
Created for children aged two to seven, the area features a play tunnel as well as Terry the Tractor – a tractor engine which my four year old wasted no time commandeering for himself. Inside the tractor trailer are interactive games with pieces to slide around and puzzles to solve which kept my two older children busy.
Sadly the rain stopped play for us pretty quickly but I can see this area being super popular in the summer months with the pre-school crowd. There’s plenty of outdoor seating right next to the play area, meaning you can keep an eye on little ones while having a cuppa and a catch up with friends.
We headed back inside to explore the rest of the Pugh’s site with our first stop visiting the fish in the aquatics area, home to fish of all different sizes and colours. My children were amazed by the carp – some of them were huge with prices in the thousands.
They loved looking around the garden accessories area, in particular the fairies and woodland animals which gave us some great inspiration for an area of our garden they are transforming into a fairy garden.
From there we headed to The Works – a discount book store where we spotted some great value boxsets.
The Orange Tree restaurant itself is large and spacious with a real outdoors feel indoors. There’s a ‘green’ botanical wall fittingly covered in imitation plants and leaves; lots of exposed brick work; wooden features and a wood burner in the centre of the restaurant.
Although the restaurant was busy nobody seemed to have trouble finding a table to sit at.
We also noticed a real sustainable feel running through the restaurant, with all the coffee cups and other packaging plastic free and 100% compostable. In fact, you can take home some seeds to plant in your takeaway coffee cup and plant it in the garden. You can also fertilise garden plants with used ground coffee beans which are free to customers (one bag only).
The menu has a selection of soup, sandwiches, paninis, toasties and jacket potatoes; breakfasts (until 11.30am) and main meals (11.30am-3pm) as well as daily choices on the specials board. Children have their own menu in the form of an activity sheet with a word search, spot the difference and other games.
Younger children can build their own meals with a choice of mains, sides, and salad or veg. Mains include sausage and gravy, fish goujons, chicken goujons, ham and egg, and pizza with all but the pizza gluten free. Older children up to age 12 can choose from beef or veggie chilli or lasagne; veggie pasta bake; BBQ chicken, chips and peas; fish, chips and peas; or curry, rice and a poppadom. Three of the choices are vegetarian and four are gluten-free.
There’s also a picnic box option including sandwich, yoghurt, raisins, Pom Bears and a drink for £4.95.
You need to order and pay at the cafeteria-style counter – which has a great assortment of cakes and desserts and on display. Considering how busy it was, the food didn’t take long at all to come out.
Little Miss E, eight, and Little Man O, six, both opted for the vegetable pasta bake with chips, from the bigger appetites menu; Littlest Boy I, age 4, went for the build-your-own-meal menu, opting for chicken goujons, rice and peas.
The portions were very generous – too much for my children to eat but it’s good to know that those with bigger appetites won’t be left hungry. They loved the chips, which were curved in shape, making them extra crispy.
Cardiff Daddy opted for the jerk chicken curry with rice and mango salsa (£7.95) from the specials board. Filled with chunky bits of chicken and a thick and spicy curry sauce, he was really impressed.
I went for the butternut squash red pepper and chickpea tagine with rice (vegan – £7.95) – which had such a lovely blend of flavours and textures.
We were really impressed with the quality of the food. The majority of it is prepared and cooked onsite with as many ingredients as possible sourced locally. The specials board changes regularly according to what’s in season.
My children had spotted the trifle (£2.50) when we’d ordered our main courses and were desperate to have them for dessert. Served in individual portions in glasses they absolutely loved them!
Cardiff Daddy had an Eton Mess (£2.50) also served in an individual glass while I had a slice of banana bread (£2 – gluten free and vegan).
Sadly, the rain was still hammering it down so we didn’t make it back into the play area – but we had another visit to see the fish before heading on our way laughing about what a great day out we had at our local garden centre.
Celebrate The Orange Tree’s official launch at Pugh’s Garden Party
Pugh’s will officially mark the opening of The Orange Tree with a garden party on Wednesday 11 April from 12pm. See the official Facebook event page here.
Free entertainment on offer for visitors includes an acoustic singer, children’s activities and workshops, and a tree planting to mark the opening, plus celebratory mocktails and cocktails. Follow the event on Facebook to be kept updated.
Little Green Fingers workshops come to Wenvoe!
Pugh’s will also be bringing their successful Little Green Fingers workshops to Wenvoe during the Easter holidays. Giving children the chance to garden grow and connect with nature, these have been a huge success the last couple of years at Pugh’s other site in Radyr.
The workshops take place on Tuesday 12 April with various sessions running from 10am-3pm. Tickets cost £7 per child (recommended age guidance: 3+) with no adult ticket required..
The workshop sees award-winning community project Egg Seeds bringing along their Easter chickens for little ones to interact with first hand. These chickens were hatched at Pugh’s last year.
Afterwards, children will create their own Larry the Lamb pot holder in which they will plant some cress seeds inside. They can take these home to grow and to see what sort of hair-style they can give Larry.
There’s also an Easter egg hunt around the garden centre on the hunt for different kinds of chickens hiding behind their colourful eggs to learn a little bit more about spring animals.
See the Facebook event page here.