On June 9, Archerfield Walled Garden in Dirleton will reopen with a brand new look, which has been three years in the planning.
However, it’s best to explore it at a slow and sensible pace, as there will be no launch party.
“Ordinarily we would make more of a fuss around the reopening, however, we are mindful of the current covid situation and are therefore keeping it very low key”, says owner, Elly Douglas-Hamilton. “We know that we will have to cap numbers coming into the building so are happy for customer flow to grow somewhat organically after we reopen”.
Among other things, walls have been knocked down, tables have been reconfigured, their deer logo is up in lights, and there’s a new Garden Shop, which will be the first in the UK to only sell peat-free compost, along with other environmentally-friendly products.
This garden theme runs through the interior, which includes a display of mini watering cans.
As far as food is concerned, Mimi’s Bakehouse have taken up residence in their market, by installing a branded counter that will offer their core range of cupcakes, traybakes and brownies, as well as an exclusive cake with a magical theme that’s linked to Archerfield Walled Garden’s Fairy Trail.
As part of their Garden Cafe, they’ve also created a smart external area, for those who want to eat alfresco and keep an eye on their children while they play. It features striking orange chairs and a geometric wooden canopy.
Their new head chef has transformed the menu and will be making use of the seasonal produce grown in their 18th-century walled garden.
“Stefano Marongiu has joined us from Prestonfield where he worked for 10 years and was head pastry chef,” says Douglas-Hamilton. “Previous to that he was a sous chef in Milan at a restaurant which gained their second Michelin star while he was part of the team. He also once owned an ice cream shop in Sardinia”.
The space is currently table service only, although their original plan was self service and they’ll revert to that once restrictions allow.
Their new all-day menu, with the catch line, “from our garden to your plate”, includes salad bar dishes like quinoa, red pepper, roscoff onion, coriander and avocado. There are also family classics like burgers, roast beef sandwiches, frittata and quiche, as well as simple and affordable options on the kids’ menu.
However, we imagine that the hero dish might be the Pancake Heaven for two, which incorporates six pancakes with seven garnishes - peanut butter cheesecake, whipping cream, maple syrup, cherry compote, dried fruits and seeds, honey and raspberry jam.
It will surely be the most Instagrammed element, along with the smart exterior area and Mimi’s striped awning.
"It’s been wonderful to see the business grow and develop to find its niche. We have a fantastic team who put their heart and soul into the place”, says Douglas-Hamilton. “This next stage of the project is extremely exciting, and we can’t wait to welcome customers old and new."