We’d been to Cockington Court, in the picturesque village of Cockington near Torquay, a few times for a wander around the grounds and the craft centre, but had not eaten in the café. Little did we know that the recently refurbished Seven Dials Café (named after an Agatha Christie novel) does a cracking full-works tea, along with breakfasts, homemade cakes and light lunches.
When we visited one lunchtime, we made the most of it and ordered the high tea, which turned out to be plenty big enough for us to share with our two small children.
Having been served our pots of tea, we tucked into some freshly made finger sandwiches – smoked salmon and cucumber, ham and mustard with salad leaves, and cheese and pickle – followed by our choice of cakes from the counter. The cakes are baked fresh every morning and the selection that day included carrot cake (my choice), Victoria sandwich (my husband’s) and a gluten-free chocolate brownie. The carrot cake was moist, not overly sweet with the perfect amount of buttercream on the top, while the Victoria sandwich tasted fresh, with a pleasingly light, fluffy sponge.
The star of the show, though, had to be the generously-sized scones, served hot from the oven. Light, crumbly and loaded with clotted cream and then jam (of course) – they were perfect. So much so, I have since been back for more!
Apparently, Agatha Christie used to play in the gardens here as a child, when the manor house was owned by family friends, the Mallocks. If you visit with your own children, they can play in the gardens, while you sit outside and tuck into something yummy.