Garden Cafe is located in what was clearly once a Pizza Hut, with the interesting trapezoidal windows intact. The interior is pretty basic, but hundreds of hours of someone's impeccable cross stitch hang in frames on the walls.
Our visit was as part of a large party which had been booked in advance. There were no problems, even though more people showed up than had been booked, and some were late. More tables were simply added to the end with no complaints.
Our server upon being asked about vegan options pointed out the egg-drop soup and said that was the only non-vegan item - not actually true as a number of items contained honey, though that was indicated. She was helpful on a number of other matters that the menu did not mention.
I had the fried tofu to start and old standard, General Tso's "Chicken" as a main. The tofu was coated dry in either corn starch or rice flour and deep fried, then served with a sweet and sour sauce. It was okay, but not really crispy enough. It wasn't oily or soggy, just not quite there.
The main course also fell just short of good. It just seemed, well, meh. Nothing actually wrong, and it was perfectly edible, but nothing stood out.
The Omnivore expressed satisfaction with the Singapore vermicelli (a dish we have discovered does not exist in Singapore!), though I suspect this was mostly due to a lack of the broccoli that was in everything else I saw.
We were handed our bills without even the slightest attempt to ask if we wanted dessert (some of our party did). Maybe, we thought, they did not do desserts - there were none on the menu. But, as we left, we saw a whiteboard by the door, listing a number of desserts. You'd think they didn't want money, or something.
It was a little sad really. With a tiny bit more effort, this place could be really good. Instead, it was okay, in the mildly derogatory British sense of the word.Pros: Almost all vegan, cheap, generous portions
Cons: stunningly average, staff think honey is vegan, lots of little let-downs