If you're heading to The Lightbox - or even if you're not - make time for a stop at Seasons Cafe. You're going to love it
Okay, so Woking is a town that raises eyebrows when you mention the word ‘cool’ (yeah I saw you do it). But I’m not kidding, if you’re yet to venture to Woking, head straight to The Lightbox, the art gallery and museum in the centre of town, with its funky architecture and promise of urban culture. I’m almost growing a beard and a bun just thinking about it.
A fairly new addition to The Lightbox is Seasons Cafe, this year’s winner of Best Cafe in Surrey in the Muddy Awards. It’s run by the cool cats behind the Tipsy Pigs catering company.
And if you’re looking for stuff to do these school holidays The Lightbox has a good mix of drop-in and book ahead workshops for kids and parents, so you could easily make a day of treating the kids.
There’s no parking at The Lightbox, but the Brewery Road car park is not far away, just across the pedestrian footbridge over the Basingstoke Canal. The Victoria Way carpark is just across the road.
The cafe at The Lightbox was taken over and done up earlier this year, creating a cool cafe. I called in for lunch on a sunny weekday outside of the school hols and it was pleasantly buzzing but not ridiculously busy – and there was a mix of age groups from mums with young pre-school aged kids up to those of perhaps retirement age.
Inside, the decor is what I’d call relaxed industrial chic, with a polished cement floor, reclaimed timber table tops, and brightly coloured metal chairs. Outside there’s a lovely large courtyard dining space and garden, overlooking Basingstoke Canal.
SCOFF & QUAFF
The food here is excellent – and there are plenty of choices from healthy bites to more substantial mains. Being piggy, I skim-read the healthy bites section of the menu and moved quickly on to tasty mains bit ordering the wild mushroom and tarragon risotto with rocket and Parmesan salad. Mr Muddy went for the Thai spiced fish cakes. It was one of those situations where we each had a bit of food envy, but a few swapped forkfuls here and there and we were both happy. Both choices were delicious. The risotto was perfectly cooked – and gorgeously creamy. I almost didn’t share.
The selection of cakes is nothing short of splendid, and well, it would be rude not to, wouldn’t it. So of course I did, ordering a chocolate brownie and a coffee and walnut cake. I’m nothing if not committed to becoming a plus-size by 2018!
Are you kidding? This cafe was practically made for kids, with the mismatching multi coloured chairs, huge courtyard, brilliant selection of cakes and, of course the perfect location. And if all that wasn’t enough, there’s even a small area children’s area with books and toys to keep the smalls entertained.
OUT & ABOUT
Apart from getting your cultural fix at the gallery, you could take a wander along the canal. The New Victoria Theatre and Ambassadors Cinema is just across the road, too, as is the Woking shopping centre.
THE MUDDY VERDICT
Good for: girly brunches or lunches, cake-munchers, culture vultures who need a bite, mums with kids and pushchairs, families, demon-shoppers needing sustenance. Plus there’s a lovely outdoor area if you want to enjoy the sunshine.
Not for: posh noshers. It’s an excellent cafe, but don’t expect the world.
The damage: Great value for the quality of food you’re getting. Mains are £6-£8; soups, wraps and jacket potatoes are £5.50.
Seasons Cafe and Kitchen @ The Lightbox, Chobham Road, Woking, GU21 4AA.