The setting could not be more perfect for Quince and Clover. The former village shop, post office, bakery and now relaxed artisan café, overlooks the village green, and on a sunny day manager Jack Nicholls says it’s like being part of a village fete.
As we sit down for coffee on a slightly damp day, a couple of horse riders potter past and, despite the drizzle, the café soon has local people waiting for their daily fix of coffee, salads, cakes, sandwiches and tarts. It is very popular, and you have to get in quick to avoid disappointment.
And yet it nearly didn’t happen because, having planned to open on March 30 – the week after the country locked down – things looked gloomy.
“We were disappointed of course but pulled ourselves together and took a couple of weeks to figure out what we were going to do. After Easter we put out a simple board to say we were open, and the response was brilliant. Local people have really supported us, it’s been amazing,” says Jack who has worked with owner Dan Mann for years.
Currently the café can only offer a takeaway service due to social distancing measures, but even if you do not live in the Tews it is worth taking a trip out there to sample the menu and the beautiful setting.
“We want to organise an event for the village as soon as we can to say thank you for their support”
Alternatively consider the dining at home option and arrange for your supper or lunch to be delivered to your home with simple preparation instructions.
All of which Quince and Clover can do with their eyes shut, having launched three years ago as a Bicester-based events company with a well drilled event catering team offering high end weddings, parties, at home dining and an off grid pop up kitchen.
Owner Dan was keen to have a café too and when the Great Tew property became available, he jumped at the chance and Quince and Clover at Great Tew was launched.
Jack added: “We have a beautiful shop counter, offering breakfast pastries, always homemade, artisan cakes, cookies, sausage rolls and fabulous seasonal salads.
“We combine seasonal fruit and vegetables, high welfare produced meats, responsibly sourced seafood, free range eggs and amazing baked goods into a few our café classics plus our own favourite things to eat.”
The menu changes regularly, but expect delights such as orange polenta cake, apple, cinnamon and honey cakes, Eccles cakes, smoked salmon tart with capers, lemon, spinach and parsley, a puy lentil tabbouleh, garlic flatbread with labneh, harissa and summer chard, a tomato and bean stew….. the list goes on.
Despite his initial concerns, Jack must be delighted then with the response? “To have been able to open here at this time is amazing,” he agrees. “What we have done since lockdown is a bit of a dress rehearsal for the real thing, when we can finally have people eating in and sitting at our tables.
“We are very proud of what we do and are really humbled by how lovely everyone has been.
“The café customers, and those who we have delivered to, have been really happy with what we are doing. That’s really important to us.”
“One customer has been ordering from us for 13 weeks!” said Dan.
No wonder customers have been regularly queuing out the door for the café’s offerings, and the home delivery service has also proved to be a runaway success.
“We have proved to be a pandemic success, although in an ideal world we would like to be open six days a week and do seasonal pop-ups using our outdoor kitchen,” Jack adds proudly.
“We also want to organise an event for the village as soon as we can to say thank you for their support.”
Quince and Clover at Great Tew www.quinceandcloveratgreattew.co.uk
01608 683225 or 07850548384