The Malvern Buttery is turning cafe and bakery dining on its head. The suburban Philly cafe doesn’t just do high quality artisan baked goods, feel good foods that are sourced locally and expertly brewed teas. (And I’ve heard the coffee’s pretty good, too.) It is how the Malvern cafe executes their business that is a fun twist.
The restaurant is a single room. Large, nearly floor to ceiling windows look out onto the street. Even on rainy days, the natural light gives the cafe an open feel. The kitchen, in the back, is completely open to diners. Two-thirds of the front space is filled with communal picnic tables; the other portion is cozy chairs. Get comfortable and settle in to enjoy the Malvern Buttery’s food, drink and free WiFi.
There is a limited amount of outdoor seating. Mostly wooden patio-style furniture. However, it’s rather lackluster and could do with a little improvement — or at least some umbrellas on sunny days.
The Malvern Buttery
Seems pretty normal so far, right? It’s when you go to order that things become slightly unconventional. While there is no clear desk or counter, there is a tablet. From here a staff member will take your drink order. Your drink will be brought out to you. But if you want some food (and you do, I assure you), head to the large buffet table that acts as a “wall” to the kitchen.
All day, every day the kitchen staff at the Malvern Buttery fill and refill that buffet. In the morning it’s breakfast items, lunch in the afternoon and specialty baked goods all day long. Guests can help themselves to the food using wooden planks as trays.
Once you have your food and you’ve found a seat, you will notice there are paper and pencils on the tables. Jot down what you grabbed from the buffet and your drink. Then, when you’re ready to leave take the paper to the “counter” area. The staff calculate your bill using your list. They work on the honor system. Admittedly, Malvern Buttery is not inexpensive. However, the pricing is understandable when you consider the quality of the food and drink.
While the open concept honor system approach may be a little new, the food is predictably great. I have yet to walk out without having had one of their large and fresh blueberry scones and a cup of tea. The quiche got high marks from my husband. Their creamy polenta and fried egg breakfast bowl has won me over. Be sure to try a cup of the Dragon Eyes tea, a fruity black brew that reminds of Harney & Sons’ popular Paris blend.
Visiting the Malvern Buttery
Whether you’re looking to grab and go or take things a bit more leisurely, you can’t go wrong at the Malvern Buttery.
Malvern Buttery, 233 East King St., Malvern, PA
This review is unsolicited. Top photo from Malvern Buttery Instagram account; bottom photo is my own.