7 Paradise Road, Richmond, Surrey, London, TW9 1RX. (View on map)
Before I go anywhere new I tend to do a quick search online to see if there are any particular cafes or tea rooms that seem like the kind of place I should investigate further. When I was doing my preliminary searching for Richmond only one place stood out and that was The Tea Box. Their website doesn’t give much away (apart from their strap line, ‘About to cause a stir…’) but it wasn’t too far from where I was meant to be going so I thought I’d give it a try.
It looked good from the outside and inside I was happily surprised by the furniture – all old style wood chairs and dark tables, an opulent tea drinking palace. I plumped for a gold table with green thrones, which was very comfortable. The people at the table next to me had a candelabra! Anyway, the tea menu (not pictured here, that’s the tea-you-can-buy-loose-and-take-away menu) had the largest selection of tea I’ve seen outside of Tea Smith.There was also an events listing on the table – adult storytelling, jazz evenings, knit nights…
I went for ‘Indian Tea’ as I wanted something to wake me up. There was also a wide ranging selection of cake, including half a dozen flavoured scones, and I went for the dark ginger cake.
The tea came with three hourglasses so that I could time the strength of my tea perfectly, and advice on which one hourglass I should be watching. The tea strainer lifted out completely and had it’s own saucer so that the brew didn’t get any stronger. The cake was very rich and the tea very strong – just what I needed at this point in the day.
My only niggle was the note in the menu saying they that don’t do refills so please don’t ask – and the waiter underlined this by taking away my pot once it was empty, but before I’d finished my last cup. Considering that the tea here was done so well and there was such an emphasis on loose leaf, it seems odd that they wouldn’t honour the tradition of asking for some more hot water for the pot. Unless it’s not so common now? Is this something that people still do? Obviously, having fresh tea leaves in your pot means you should pay for a fresh pot, but just adding hot water on your old leaves tends to be free. Answers on a postcard, please.
Anyway, overall a very enjoyable trip and one that I will be making again sometime soon if I can.
Leaf tea? Yes, there’s only loose leaf in here!
Milk jug? Of course.
Price? About £3 for the tea and around £2.50 for the cake.
Cake? Cakes, flavoured scones, meals, sandwiches, hot tea, cold tea, hot fruit punch, lots and lots of choice. Also teapots, tea cups, tea strainers and tea ducks (such an astounding tea related item that I bought one for R for Christmas, it deserves a whole post).
Go again? Yes, yes and yes.