Whether it’s sandwiches, baguettes or soup, for 10 years now those looking for a quality lunch to take away have been flocking to Tastebuds of Farnham.
Located in Downing Street in the town centre, the shop was named by its customers after answering a questionnaire set by co-owner Nilufer Yaskan.
“The name is universal,” she says. “It appeals to everyone’s taste buds, though being Farnham everyone insisted on the ‘of Farnham’ bit.”
Although at heart the specialist sandwich shop is Mediterranean in focus, thanks to Ms Yaskan’s Turkish roots, the range of fillings owe something to all corners of the globe, with customers just as likely to walk away munching an Indian jalfrezi bap as a Cypriot halloumi baguette.
Tastebuds has a constantly evolving selection of more than 50 fillings, with favourites including Cajun chicken, Spanish tuna and the Italian salami medley.
Bursting out of a sandwich, baguette or bap, these are complemented by a range of two or three home-made soups each day.
“We don’t just take the bread and put something in between,” said Ms Yaskan. “We create recipes.”
Everything in the shop is homemade, with no preservatives, additives of or anything genetically modified.
With lunchtime the busiest period, many of the repeat customers, who form the bedrock of Tastebud’s success, choose to order ahead and have their selection ready and waiting for them.
Doors open at 8.30am, with many people on their way to work stopping by for a breakfast bap, although the staff have been known to serve those unable to wait that long.
“If someone is desperate at 8am we won’t turn them away,” said Ms Yaskan.
By way of dessert, freshly made cakes are available to take away with the sandwiches or soup.
For those working in shops and offices near Tastebuds who are unable to get out for lunch, the shop sends round a mobile sandwich seller, bringing the most popular sandwiches straight to the desk or counter.
Tastebuds also provides a delivery platter and buffet service, ideal for organisers of business meetings in need of quality savoury snacks, such as goats cheese and red onion tartlets, Dutch deluxe cheese lattice, and a cruditee platter.
Cheese straws and Cajun chicken kebabs are also popular.
Clients can order a selection of platters from a set menu, or they have the option to design their own spread.
Jointly running the shop with business partner Gemal Yilmaz, Ms Yaskan also teaches maths on a freelance basis after she trained as an engineer in her native Turkey.
In 2004 she decided she wanted to set up a family business.
Of their success she said: “We put on a new deal for customers every two or three days.
“That’s why they’re so loyal and keep coming back.”