There are lots of lovely cafés in Surrey (I plan to visit ALL of them to review the cake - I mean - to review the working opportunities for freelancers) and I'm sure their owners really do care about them but every now and then you come across one where you can just feel the passion the owners put into it as soon as you walk in through the door.
All Things Nice, in Ewell high street, is definitely one of these.
The decor is cute, quirky and cosy: mismatched furniture jostles with bunting and fairy lights. There's a tempting old-fashioned sweet counter too; it's the kind of café that an Enid Blyton character would feel at home in (animal or human). I always expect the Famous Five to walk in and order ices and lashings of ginger beer. (N.B. I haven't checked the menu for bags of lettuce or heaps of tomatoes, however.)
Owners Nicci and Sara have just celebrated All Things Nice's third birthday and it's really good to see a fab place like this holding its own against competition from the bigger coffee shop chains.
In terms of getting down to some work, you have to pick your moment. It's very child (and dog too, as it goes) friendly so it does get busy but a quick check with them will help you find the quieter times - I've had no issues with being able to concentrate on the mornings that I've been there. There's a couple of tables out the front of the café and there's a little garden behind it (although I haven't checked the WiFi capability out there) so there are al fresco options if you want them.
I've liked the All Things Nice page on Facebook but receiving their updates can sometimes be distracting as they often post about the homemade food available that day (with occasional mouthwatering pictures). Recent examples: smoked bacon & mushroom quiche, cheese scones, sausage rolls, creamy baked potatoes and CAKES - oh, the cakes...rhubarb & vanilla almond crumble cake, strawberry Victoria sponge, apple & cinnamon cake...
It's very hard to concentrate on working when you know that all that
lovely baking is going on just four miles away from your empty fridge.
I worked in All Things Nice one morning last week (writing, not serving behind the counter) and, for the purposes of this review, fully intended to just have one coffee and make some notes. I ended up staying for two hours, drinking two cappuccinos and ordering their carrot & coriander soup, which came with soft, fresh granary bread. It was delicious and I could easily have eaten twice the generous portion that arrived.
(Lots of their food is vegetarian/vegan/gluten free.)
And, if I haven't given you enough reason to visit yet (which, if you're honest, I think you'll find I have) then here's another: All Things Nice is an extraordinarily community-minded place. They support all manner of local events and charities and often give local businesses room to promote themselves. Various mum and baby groups take place there during the day and I've been to a couple of fun networking events in the evening. You can also privately hire it out for both adult and children's parties and other special occasions.
So there you go: another brilliant option for busy Freelancers to Get Out of the House in Surrey. All Things Nice is everything a café should be: a unique interior, a welcoming ambience, amazing food, owners who love what they do and give back to the community in spades. Get yourself down there and support them!
Hmm, tough act to follow for my next review: any suggestions?