We had to battle through sudden cloudbursts and patches of enthusiastic flooding to reach The Apple Tree (ironically enough on Flood Street) in Ockbrook but it was the perfect remedy to a wet, stressful day.
I had read about the cafe online and had been looking forward to investigating further. It fits quite perfectly the idea of a very charming, independent tea shop. The front half of the store is a craft and card shop with some lovely gifts and a great range of very unique cards. For saying that there are only five tables it has a lovely atmosphere and there are little details that make it welcoming. They use a range of very eclectic crockery and the menus have a note in them encouraging people to donate their old cups and saucers to the shop to be used again rather than thrown away.
Even though it was late afternoon but the time we arrived there was still a good range of cakes, cookies and muffins to choose from. I had a piece of the dark chocolate rocky road, which was wonderful, not too sweet and with an unexpectedly good texture to it. The date and walnut cake was likewise beautiful with a loose crumb and bags of flavour served with plenty of butter.
The drinks menu is extensive with lots of Twinings teas and a large coffee menu as well. I had a flat white, which is a rarity around here anyway, and it was really quite good. I could have done with it being stronger (definitely go for the flat white over a latte here) but it had a nice taste and was a good blend to be made into a range of drinks as it still had enough character even in a milky coffee. Mine was made to a good temperature although it needed to be made with a little more texture in the foam to be a true flat white.
The food menu is quite limited but has a good mix so even without a lot of choices there is probably something for everyone. This is very much a cafe that does some food rather than being a real lunch type place. There is also a kids menu which I would imagine is popular here. The prices are very reasonable and I had a large coffee and good sized piece of cake for £3.
The layout of the cafe is quite snug but when sitting down it doesn’t feel cramped and it wouldn’t be too hard to fit a wheelchair inside. The toilet is tucked away behind the counter and is accessible but cramped for space so might be a tight fit. The chairs are simple but cheered up with lovely kitschy cushions. While we were sitting it filled up, an after school rush with an equal mix of parents and kids. The walls have antique photographs and paintings, mostly for sale as well. It would be very easy to drive past without knowing it was here and the parking is rather tricky in the village but I’ve very glad to have found it.
The Apple Tree is a delight, rather hidden away but worth visiting both for the cakes, drinks and as a relaxing bolt hole away from nearby Derby and Nottingham. I’ll certainly be going back again.
Open Monday – Friday 9am to 5pm and Saturday 10am to 4pm. http://www.theappletreegiftshop.co.uk/