Generations of people in and around Garforth, on the outskirts of Leeds will know the area of Garforth Cliff which rises along the A63 to give long distance views over the surrounding countryside and local townships.
At the top of the Cliff stood Saville’s Garden Centre, long an attraction for horticulturalists and amateur gardeners alike. The café in the log cabin to the front of the greenhouses was a cosy place in which to meet friends and have a cuppa and a scone. Nothing special, but homely.
Over the last few years, the place began to show it’s age and with little investment, began to deteriorate, the leaking roofs providing a memorable game of dodge the drops and drips when it rained.
Sadly the Garden Centre inevitably closed and was demolished.
Even the miniature train which ran around the grounds to the delight of children, was stolen.
Sad days as the land then stood in dereliction for months on end.
Good news began to arrive when the train was recovered in another County and put in storage for restoration. Keen eyed individuals then spotted a planning application for a new garden centre and hopes began of a resurrection.
Local watched as Klondyke Garden Centres took over the plot, starting earth works and building new greenhouses. Soon a gleaming, modern edifice of glass began to take shape and in the late Autumn of 2016, sparkling new premises opened.
It has all the facilities and contents one would expect of a ‘destination’ attraction of this type, and very smart it is too.
It has plants, trees, shrubs and gardening accoutrements of course, but also a large craft section and household goods. It is open seven days a week.
But what of the log cabin loved by so many?
Used as a workman’s store and shelter throughout, it is soon to be demolished I understand, but in it’s place and now within the garden centre itself, is a gleaming 200 seat quality restaurant and café called the Topiary Restaurant.
What an impact this had had locally,with crowds flocking to it throughout the day, even in mid-week.
Instead of simply employing basic cooks, Klondyke have cannily gone upmarket with trained chefs in the kitchens. Many of the bakery items and the food from the extensive meal menus and specials are now made and prepared on the premises.
On my first visit, I was awestruck by the huge portion of crisply battered haddock. This fish was a monster and must have strained the nets of the trawler. Thickly sliced, beautifully white, flaky and scrumptiously tasty, the fish was a revelation. The accompanying chips could more accurately have been described as logs. We could almost have played Jenga with them!
Crisp and nicely browned, these were hot and tender inside. The spoonful of mushy peas was thick and tasty. At £8.50 this was an outstanding dish and one I will certainly return for.
My partners choice of quiche with salad came as two rounds of delicious eggy, pastry filled treats with a salad so fresh it could have been picked minutes before.
The cakes and pastries available are also high quality and made on the premises. Of particular note are the generously sized scones. Irresistible with jam and clotted cream.
The quality coffee is as good in terms of taste and presentation as any independent roasters.
The restaurant area is clean, modern and smart with picture windows leading out onto a large patio area with tables and chairs. I can see this being full on warmer days.
I hear there are plans to reinstate the train tracks and to get the old train back in working order so that future generations of children can recreate the memories that their parents and grandparents have. Many people, myself included, are chuffed about this!
I love it when a plan comes together.
Furher details of this blooming marvellous place can be found at http://www.klondyke.co.uk/static/garforth-garden-centre.html