We have been dying to visit The Herb Garden for ages. Photograph's of fabulous interiors, pizzas and desserts have been tempting me over on instagram for this past year so when we were choosing where to visit for tea during our annual visit to Fenwick's window this week, The Herb Garden seemed like an obvious choice.
Immediately we were WOWED by the interior, I have never dined in a restaurant quite like this before. I'll let the pictures speak for themselves.
There is no denying this place is somewhere special. I just love this wall of hydrophonics where The Herb Garden in-house gardener's grow their own herbs and salads using techniques developed on ships. They certainly provided a talking point for our table.
The menu is small (but as I've mentioned before - I always think specialising in a few things is much better than trying to please everyone with a larger menu) and there is a specials blackboards as well.
The service we received at The Herb Garden was outstanding - the staff really know their stuff and are happy to discuss any questions. My 8 year old loves pepperoni but it was described as 'spicy' on the menu so we weren't sure whether to order it - our waiter kindly brought over a ramekin with some samples in for us to try before ordering. It is lovely to see restaurants going out of their way for customers like this (in the end it was too spicy but Harry didn't let us know until AFTER we'd ordered. Kids - who's have 'em!).
I ordered the minted lamb pitta's from the specials board and was not disappointed. The chickpea salad really stood out and was so fresh and zingy - I loved it. The portions were huge and I couldn't finish my meal but this is nothing to do with how tasty the food was.
Hubby ordered the meat calzone which was packed full of ingredients and was served with a huge pile of lovely fresh salad. The pizza's are all made in house entirely from scratch and both of our meals certainly received thumbs up.
There is no children's menu as such but you do have the flexibility to order off menu. We decided to half a cheese pizza between Heidi and Jack and they brought it out on separate boards which was nice. As mentioned, in the end we ended up picking the pepperoni from Harry's pizza but he still enjoyed it. I had a sneaky try and next time we visit I am definitely ordering a pizza - they are made exactly how I like them.
Now for some constructive criticism.......
Our meal was just short of £65 which for me, is just far too expensive for taking the kids for pizza after school. For this amount of money we would normally have 2/3 courses. Harry's pizza and juice was £13 which is probably the most I have ever paid for a child's meal and Heidi and Jack's dinner cost £7 each - for half a cheese and tomato pizza and a glass of juice I find this extortionate. If you compare this to what other Italian restaurants offer - for example Prezzo offer 3 courses (inc homemade pizza) and a drink for only £3.50 or kids even eat free at Michlino's in Whitley Bay (who also serve homemade pizza), The Herb Garden does not offer families good value for money. I would love to see a children's £5 pizza special including a drink on the menu to make The Herb Garden more appealing to families.
If it had just been myself and Steve dining, our bill would have been around £30 which is completely acceptable and offer's good value. I will definitely return for a 'date night' or meeting with friends as we loved the food and atmosphere, however for family dining, I think The Herb Garden has priced itself out of the market a little.
UPDATE - After listening to our feedback, The Herb Garden are looking into creating more child and purse friendly options so watch this space and well done them for listening to their customers.