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The City of London Corporation are delighted to announce that Epping Forest's newly refurbished Butler's Retreat is now open! This historic building in the heart of Epping Forest, at Chingford, is once again open now serving delicious food from 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday and 8am to 5pm Saturday and Sunday.
Butler's Retreat is one of the last remaining Victorian Retreats within Epping Forest. The Retreats originally served refreshments as part of the Temperance movement and were extremely popular with the many thousands of visitors from the east end of London who would take day trips out to Epping Forest at the weekend and on Bank Holidays.
Butler's Retreat was built in the mid 19th Century and was re-named Butler's Retreat in 1891, after the then occupier, John Butler. The Retreat building has been lovingly restored to its former glory thanks to funding from the Heritage Lottery Funded Branching Out Project.
Butler's Retreat will form part of an exciting new 'Epping Forest visitor hub' at Chingford, with Queen Elizabeth's Hunting Lodge, a Tudor hunt standing which was built at the request of King Henry VIII in 1543 located next door, and a new Epping Forest Visitor Centre being developed in the Coach House buildings adjacent to that, which is due to open later this year. There have also been recent improvements to the nearby car parks at Bury Road and Rangers Road.
The ethos of Butler's Retreat is to provide real food - local, artisan and organic where possible and to cater well for vegetarians or those with dietary requirements. Butler's Retreat will be serving a full range of delicious food. The offerings for the breakfast menu will include kippers, eggs benedict or florentine, the 'Forest Fry' (full English breakfast), also available as a 'Veggie Fry', or blueberry pancakes with yogurt and maple syrup. Lunch will include some surprising and appetising sandwich combinations, cooked food such as homemade pies with steamed veg or a handmade lamb burger with mint raita and wedges. Sharing platters will also be on offer including 'The Forester'. A great children's menu, providing so much more than the usual offering for kids, is also available.
Later in the year Butler's Retreat will extend their opening to offer a restaurant in the upstairs of the building in the evenings, whilst keeping the downstairs area open as a bar serving a mezze and tapa type menu. Look out for special events in the summer including hog / lamb roasts and live music.
The much-loved serving hatch will still be in operation for those wishing to stop for a quick tea or coffee, or some homemade ice-cream, whilst they are out and about enjoying Epping Forest.
Superintendent of Epping Forest, Paul Thomson, said: "We are delighted that we can now welcome Epping Forest visitors to the beautifully restored Butler's Retreat to enjoy a diverse and tempting menu. We hope that all will enjoy both the unique ambience of this historic building and the spectacular setting provided by Epping Forest's ancient woodland and the nearby Queen Elizabeth's Hunting Lodge."
The new proprietor of Butler's Retreat, James Ward, said: "Like most other local people we have always had a soft spot for Butler's Retreat. It's really exciting that we are in a position to develop the next chapter in the story of this landmark site. To be so close to town yet feel so far removed is amazing! We are looking forward to welcoming everyone who has been patiently waiting for Butler's Retreat to re-open".
For further information on Butler's Retreat visit www.worldslarder.co.uk and for further information on Epping Forest and the Branching Out project please visit www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/eppingforest