The Secret Herb Garden
A vibrant portfolio business, The Secret Herb Garden was put together over winter 2013 by young couple Hamish Martin and Liberty Kidd. Across seven and a half acres of raised beds and polytunnels, they are growing and supplying herbs, honey from their beehives and - when they fruit for the first time - peaches, pears and apricots, with an orchard in development. Aspiring beekeepers and herbalists can sign up to courses at the garden, and a herbalist treatment room offers homeopathy. They are collaborating with a number of other artisan businesses to make their own pale ale, to supply the peppermint for one of Pekoe's teas, and the honey for Edward & Irwyn's honey chocolate. This they also sell in their pretty cafe and shop, alongside fruit and veg, bread, smoked meat and fish and other food and gardening bits and bobs. If the little cafe is full, you can take your quiche and excellent cake out to the glasshouse, and occupy one of the comfy sofas there. You can also find them at Morningside and Stockbridge's farmers' markets (see their social media for dates), where they sell herbs, teas, bees wax candles, honey chocolate, seeds and vintage tools.
As the name suggests, there is a definite feeling of discovery about a visit to the Secret Herb Garden, from the pigs wallowing at the entrance, to shelves stacked high with jars of colourful dried herbs and petals. While tea and scones are pleasant in the wooden café and craft shop, the more adventurous option is to take them picnic-style in the glasshouse. Enamel mugs of soup and homemade soda bread are delivered to garden tables or secluded nooks with well-worn sofas. Meanwhile the kids can play among the fruit trees and borage flowers. The lunch menu is limited with good reason, as everything really is made from scratch, mostly using produce from the garden. Even the beer is brewed locally, using home-grown herbs, and salads are brimming with edible flowers. Cakes are hard to choose between, with a varied array including sticky ginger loaf and courgette, mint and lime cake.
- High point: Sharing the good life over a cup of herbal tea and cake
- Low point: More savoury options, please
- Notable dish: Herbal tea
- Provides: Vegetarian options (at least ¼ main courses), Children's portions, Children's high chairs, Wheelchair access, Outdoor tables, Free wi-fi
- Live entertainment: Various workshops and events
- Capacity: 80
- Largest group: 40-60
- Open since: 2013
- Number of wines sold by the glass: 6