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Light Lunch at the Pavilion Café in the Pavilion Gardens in Buxton
The Pavilion Café, The Pavilion Gardens, St. John's Road, Buxton, Derbyshire, SK17 6BE.
The Pavilion Café is in the Pavilion Gardens, a collection of 19th century buildings, in Buxton in Derbyshire. The Café overlooks the 23 acres of gardens outside and is itself overlooked by an upstairs balcony where the Art Café is, in which there are exhibitions of art from the local area. There are also a number of other exhibition and other rooms in the complex. The closest parking to the Café is the Gardens' own pay and display car park, which is an above ground and undercover car park. There is also some limited on street parking available
The Café has three entrances; one from outside the building, and two from inside. One of these is through the shop and tourist information centre; the other is through the botanical conservatory. There is a waiting area in the centre of the Café where you will be shown to a table. The Café itself has a lot of windows onto the garden, making it a very light and spacious-feeling area.
The Café serves breakfast, light lunches and main meals, cakes, with some fresh cakes in a refrigerated cabinet, and specials on a blackboard, with the food being served changing through the day as appropriate. There is a small bar in the centre area, but this has no seating, and is used for serving drinks from rather than drinking at.
There were salt and pepper grinders and a container of packet sauces on the tables, with cutlery and paper napkins being brought out with the food itself. One part of the Café has a toddlers play area. It was visited on a weekday lunchtime and was quite busy, especially the toddlers play area.
The food sold comes, as much as possible, from local suppliers.
Two drinks were ordered, a 500ml bottle of Buxton Sparkling Water and a draught Pepsi.
The food ordered was from the Light Bites menu, and was the Mediterranean Platter, which is available for one or two people. This came with two plates and a knife and fork wrapped in a napkin with the food itself being served on a wooden platter and on a separate plate.
On the plate there were three dishes, one of hummus, one of tapenade which appeared to be mostly chopped sun dried tomatoes and oil and one of pitted green olives. On the platter there were some mixed leaves, a sliced cherry tomato, 4 slices of prosciutto, four slices of two different salami, Napoli and Milano, 2 breadsticks, some sliced olive bread and sliced white bread, two wedges of Roquefort cheese and a whole ball of buffalo mozzarella which had been sliced in half.
Two deserts were chosen, the first of which was a Raspberry Cranachan Cake, one of the special cakes from the refrigerated cabinet. This was two layers of sponge cake, of a heavier type than, for example, a Victoria Sponge, which had fruit and jam between them. This was topped with a, very, sweet cream which had been dusted with what appeared to be oatmeal.
The second was the Homemade Baked Lemon & Blueberry Cheesecake from the main menu. This cheesecake was served with a scoop of gingerbread ice cream which was on a rosette of cream and had a red sauce and a dusting of icing sugar. There were blueberries inside the cheesecake itself and a lychee served on top affixed with a dollop of cream.
The cost of the meal, including drinks, came to £21.60. It wasn't a sunny day when the Café was visited, and as a consequence it was a bit on the chilly side inside. When it is sunny, the place has enough windows that it is amply warm, and can actually become too hot quite quickly.
The Mediterranean Platter is much better value for two people than one, as the amount of food is doubled, but the price isn't. The overall quantity of different foods in the platter is good value for money anyway, and better by far than some places offer. Somewhat surprisingly, the dessert chosen from the refrigerated was actually cheaper than the one on the main menu. Even though both state that they are homemade, it would have been expected that the one that is standard on the menu would have been cheaper.
The Pavilion Café served a nice meal at a reasonable price. It's in an interesting place where you can see the Pavilion Gardens from through the many windows. It's definitely recommended as a place to eat lunch from, with good quality food at a not unreasonable price.