Sunday, 31 August 2014

A late summer visit to the Secret Herb Garden

Jen, Katey and I love supporting local independent businesses, and if there’s one thing we like even more, it’s one that delivers something a little bit out of the ordinary. Enter the Secret Herb Garden, an idyllic pocket of herbalising, cake-dispensing loveliness on the Old Pentland Road, just off the A702. As businesses go, this one truly multitasks like a BOSS, featuring (count ‘em) - a sprawling greenhouse, orchard, homeopathy school, café, deli/grocery and furniture shop - all tied exquisitely together with a ton of vintage charm. Since we’ve had an unexpectedly lovely summer here in Edinburgh, I thought it would be worthwhile heading out there to enjoy a little al fresco pottering whilst the sunshine lasted.
The small café-grocery is perfectly decked out with dreamy pastel colours, complemented by a lovingly-curated selection of vintage paraphernalia (which you can buy) you prefer a purchase of the more edible variety, there are plenty of local artisan goodies too, from smoked fish to fresh fruit and veg and homemade honey, plus their very own Pale Ale.
The in-house eats themselves centre around a pretty impressive spread of homemade cakes, and in the garden spirit, I opted for an unusual, super-moist courgette, mint and yoghurt polenta creation. Savoury options are a little more limited but no less delicious for it, with three types of quiches and savoury pastries available. Special mention has to go to the accompanying side salad, which was lifted from its usual B-list status with a colourful sprinkling of edible flowers.
Although I'm never one to deny cake top billing, the star of the Secret Herb Garden's show has to be the herb garden itself, an enormous glasshouse lushly fill with fragrant greens, flowers and fruit - including, well I never, a branch heaving with peaches (cue much flabbergasted "Peaches in Scotland, WTF?" exclamations. It was a particularly hot day and at over thirty degrees in the greenhouse we couldn't spend more than a few minutes picking out a few herb pots, but I loved the quirky look of the the mismatching armchairs and sofas squirreled away amongst the leaves, another nod to the Secret Herb Garden's impeccable vintage styling. For anyone wanting a slice of it for themselves, there's a carefully-sourced collection of furniture and homewares up for grabs - including my personal favourite (sadly not photographed) of a leather gym pommel horse.
Like any really good secret, The Secret Herb Garden is fast becoming, well, not terribly secret. You can follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram - but I'd advise procuring a lift and seeing what all the well-deserved fuss about yourself. 

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