Food - The Garden Room Café

From outside, the Garden Room Café, at the bottom of Station Street, looks like it’s going to be a chintzy granny-haunt with stale cake and doilies. In fact it’s one of the best places to have a modest little lunch in town, much bigger than it seems from the outside, with a fantastically dowdy garden full of green fake-Victorian tables, the tattiest of which looks like it would have problems supporting the weight of an espresso. It’s sheltered by ivy-clad walls, so a perfect suntrap for a back-in-time al fresco autumn experience. There are even wooden-doored outside toilets.

My companion goes for a bacon sandwich with avocado, I go for a cheese-and-stilton quiche with salad (£4.25). It’s the sort of meal you’d expect to get in the eighties - very pre-Jamie, very pre-Delia, even. I can see when it comes it’s going to take me all of three minutes to eat. A pleasant three minutes, for sure, and a mixed blessing, because it leaves me room for a slice of the apple pie (£1.90) I’ve seen among a glut of other delicious looking cakes by the entranceway. The pastry’s perfect, and the apple’s crunchy enough for you to know there’s still some vitamin C in it. There should be a dollop of cream with it, but the waitress said they hadn’t any in. There’s an exhibition of Edgar Holloway’s etchings on the wall inside, and I buy some postcards as I pay my bill, exactly 30 minutes after walking in. They are scratchy, and spare, and very yesteryear, just like the café. AL

Pie in the sky: al fresco food, 80’s style, at the Garden Room Café

Station St, Lewes
When? Lunchtimes
How Much? £4.25 for quiche with salad