MULTIMAP: Click here for a Multimap showing the location.
EMAIL: Ruxley Manor email address.
Today it is the 33rd largest garden centre in the UK based on a turnover of nearly £7.5 million. The business has been family owned from 1876 and the current owners are the fifth generation.
The plants area is impressive and particularly attractively designed. All plants are bought in rather than grown on site. They look very healthy and well kept with hardy shrubs coming with a five year guarantee. The choice of plants is extensive and the average garden will be more than satisfied. The surface of the area is mainly block paving and for the most part level. See the disabled access guide for more information on wheelchair suitability.
Inside you will find a fully stocked garden accessories department. As well as gardening items they sell garden and conservatory furniture, gifts, books, bird feeds and accessories - and many more items. There is a pet department which also sell lots of small animals and an aquatics department selling a wide choice of live fish and all the tanks, feeds and other items to keep them happy.
The Food Hall sells lots of deli items and cheeses. The garden centre (principally the Food Hall we assume) has also been inspected for hygiene. The Food Standards Agency awarded it a very average three star rating for food hygiene in November 2012.
The Mulberry Tree Cafe has recently been completely refurbished and they have done a good job art making the interior very modern looking and more stylish compared to most other garden centre cafes. The wooden tables and upholstered chairs look particularly good.
On Trip Advisor they admit to having some teething problems especially around service standards, however they claim to have overcome these. As befits the upmarket surrounding the food is up market as well. The main meals are described as "an authoritative menu of hot dishes", slightly over the top we feel for a garden centre! However, the food tastes good if somewhat highly priced.
They also serve less substantial meals such as salads, sandwiches, baguettes, panninis and children's menu. They have their own pizza oven and you can choose your toppings and see the pizza being cooked, you know it's fresh! The breakfast (unfortunately only between 9am to 10am Monday to Saturday) is definitely good value with six items only costing £3.99.
The Food Standards Agency awarded the Mulberry Tree cafe a four star rating (maximum of five) for food hygiene in May 2013. Click here for the page showing this rating on the Food Standards Agency website. The rating is based on three key factors, Food Hygiene and Safety, Structural Compliance and Confidence in Management. Interestingly the rating for the Food Hygiene and Safety element was rated as only Fair, not good for a large garden centre.
As well as the cafe there is a fully fledged very upmarket restaurant called the Coach House. This is housed in a separate building from the garden centre, the dining area looks very posh and well laid out. The food is too expensive for our limited budget, even a set two course lunch costs £17.50 and evening meals cost considerably more.
Starters cost around £9 each and main meals pasta will cost you around £13, other main meals cost between £10.50 to £32.00. You just know this is going to be expensive lunch or dinner when you see that vegetables for your main meal (we all like a vg or two after all) will cost an additional £5.00 and service is not included! And just in case you thought that was enough they charge a cover charge of £1.70 per person. Add that lot up and a two course meal for two is likely to cost in excess of £60 plus the service charge without any wine or drinks.
One concern some may have with the Coach House restaurant is that it was awarded only a three star rating for food hygiene by the Food Standards Agency in November 2012. For a restaurant charging the prices they do we think this is below the standards we would expect; a four star rating at the minimum and preferably a five star rating would be our expectations.
WEATHER FORECAST: Click here for the weather forecast in the Sidcup area.
30 April 2014
Bosworth Garden Centre building houses news.
27 March 2014
Wyevale Garden Centres
buys 140th ...
05 March 2014
£2.4 million on food! ...
08 October 2013
takes Fermoy's lease ...
27 June 2013
14 June 2013
GCG buys Barton
21 May 2013
Sales down by 25%
for 2013 first quarter