T in the Woods
A family-run business is an increasing rarity in our expensive, busy area. T in the Woods in Bricket Wood is a welcome alternative to the chains and is owned and run by the Reynolds and Stafford family. I met Sophie and Craig over a delicious coffee and homemade clotted cream shortbread and heard how working with family has been so important to them.
You can find T in the Woods at the end of the parade of shops in the centre of Bricket Wood village. When the cafe opened last year, there were five generations of the family at the opening from Grandma Pamela Reynolds down to Sophie and Craig’s daughter Paige, who likes to help with the till when allowed! Everyone has played a role in making the cafe such a welcoming place. Sophie explained that her Mum Zoe painted the sign over the door and Dad Marlon made the recycled coffee table. Pamela’s teapots, cake stands and other treasures that she has collected over the years are used in the cafe and lend a homely feel which you just cannot recreate in the chain coffee shops. I loved the huge photograph of woods on the wall which adds a contemporary feel to the place, and when I popped in the place was busy with regular customers, which include local parents and retired residents to passing business people who find it convenient for the main roads. Bacon sandwiches draw customers in in the mornings on their way to work. Families are very welcome and there are books to keep little ones occupied for five minutes, as well as high chairs. The local WI have held meetings there, as have The Last of The Summer Wine club.
T in the Woods focuses on delicious cakes, scones, sandwiches and soups at very reasonable prices. The family make as much as they can themselves and extra cakes come from Anne and Andrew Perry from the Handmade Cake Company in Berkshire. Craig makes some of the bread himself and was taught by his Dad and Grandfather; you can place orders if you would like a loaf for the weekend. He told me that he particularly enjoys making the soda bread and there is always white and wholemeal available.
Arranged on retro cake stands, you will find all the classics such as lemon drizzle, coffee and walnut, chocolate brownies, carrot cake, raspberry and coconut, Victoria sandwich and scones. There is always a gluten-free option; when I went in there was a beautiful strawberry and rhubarb cheesecake. Seasonal specials are offered too, such as Harvest Apple cake in autumn and Sophie’s amazing Christmas Dinner cake in December. It’s not as strange as it might sound – it contains parsnip, carrot, cranberries and spices – as well as sprouts. I’m afraid you’ll have to wait a while for that one again! A cream tea is £3.50 and a high tea is £14 or you can simply buy a cup of tea (£1.40) and a piece of cake (£1.75-£2.25).
Sophie explained that she is doing some lighter options for customers at the moment such as homemade skinny soups (last week was green vegetables with pesto) and tuna and greek yoghurt filling to go in sandwiches, wraps and stuffed pittas. Paninis are very popular all the time, too. Homemade soup is just £3.95 with a roll, which gives you an indication of the good prices. Coffee is Fairtrade from the Smiths Coffee Company based in Hemel Hempstead and you can get a good range of cappuccinos, lattes and other favourites. T in the Woods recycle as much as they can, including giving lids to a local school for art projects and the used ground coffee to local gardeners; apparently it makes very good fertiliser!
Sophie and Craig have worked in catering for 10 years, and Sophie worked at The Nectar House at Butterfly World nearby for 4 years and they both know lots of people in the area. Sophie’s Mum sings in the Bricket Wood choir and they all come in too! It’s a lovely place to spend time as their regular customers will tell you; what a welcome addition to the neighbourhood!
[BOX] How to find T in the Woods
95 Oakwood Road
If coming from St Albans/M25 look for the slip road on the left by the petrol station. The sign will point the way!