Restaurant Review: Styer’s Garden Cafe

A few years back, the brains behind Urban Outfitters and Anthropologie transformed an old-fashioned nursery in Glen Mills into a home and garden store called Terrain. Somehow, they managed to take all of the most gorgeous flowers, plants, furniture and accessories and get them all perfectly arranged under one roof. It’s amazing.

Terrariaums, photographed on a prior visit to the shop

Terrariaums, photographed on a prior visit to the shop

I want to buy. All. The. Things.

But, there are a few problems:

  1. My house is tiny.
  2. My yard is made out of concrete, and finally,
  3. All the things I fall in love with are crazy expensive.

So, for now, I have to settle for buying a pretty greeting card or other paper product that doesn’t cost half my monthly salary and fantasizing about the day when I have my sprawling dream home and disposable income to go with it.

Sigh.

Anyway.

One of the other major attractions at Terrain is the Garden Cafe, tucked into an antique glass greenhouse towards the back of the shop. It was always pretty crowded on my previous visits during the peak weekend shopping hours, so I was excited to have the opportunity to try it out for dinner one Friday evening with my friend Shannon.

Stepping through the wooden door of the greenhouse was like walking into a night time garden party. Plants and vines hung from floor to ceiling and everything was sparkling with the light from hundreds of little twinkling white lights and candles on the tables. I wanted to move in.

Styer's Garden Cafe, by day. Photo courtesy of Red Balloon Public Relations

Styer’s Garden Cafe, by day. Photo courtesy of Red Balloon Public Relations

Although the restaurant is BYOB, the menu also features a selection of non-alcoholic options, such as herbal teas, espresso drinks and herb-infused spritzers served in mason jars. Since both of us are expecting at the moment, we loved that we were still able to enjoy a “fancy” drink.  While we considered our options, our server dropped off a warm loaf of bread served in a clay flower pot, accompanied by a creamy, salted maple butter.

Executive Chef Keith Rudolf changes the cafe’s menu with the seasons to take advantage of the produce, meat and dairy products available from farmers in the surrounding area. Dishes range in price from $14 to $30, but we chose the five course chef’s tasting menu ($50 per person). Two dishes came with each course, so we got share them and try much more of what the menu had to offer than if we ordered a la carte.

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Cheese Plate. Photo courtesy of Red Balloon Public Relations

Each dish featured a variety of ingredients that might seem overwhelming as servers rattle them off; but, they all come together on the plate to complement, rather than compete, with each other. Some of our favorites included the chickpea stew, the spiciness of which was tempered by a dollop of cool creme fraiche and broccoli and cauliflower seasoned lightly with garlic, salt and pepper and topped with melted gruyere cheese. A flavorful curry sauce and grilled radiccho made the simply grilled trout a standout dish. The tender pork tenderloin served with creamy polenta and wild mushrooms and the chicken roulade stuffed with a sweet prunes and served atop a nutty barley risotto both captured the hearty, earthy flavors of the late winter. Dinner ended on a sweet note, with a warm souffle-like chocolate cake, topped with coffee ice cream and a cornmeal waffle with a winter fruit compote and vanilla ice cream.

Loved the adorable details, including bread pot and mason jars. Photo courtesy of Red Balloon Public Relations.

Loved the adorable details, including bread pot and mason jars. Photo courtesy of Red Balloon Public Relations.

As the spring weather makes it’s way into the Philadelphia area, it’s worth the 30 minute drive out of the city to explore Terrain and all it has to offer. Our server noted that many visitors treat the sprawling garden center like its Longwood Gardens and spend entire afternoons wandering around. The cafe and grounds are also available for private events, and would be the perfect location for a bridal shower, wedding, or just a casual afternoon with a group of friends. Reservations are recommended at the Garden Cafe, especially for weekend brunch.

 

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