Tea for you and me

Join me on my epic quest to find the best tea ever

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Urban Tea Rooms

19 Kingly Street, Soho, London, W1B 5PY.

Visited on: Saturday 13th June 2015

Urban Tea Rooms

The view from my sofa at Urban Tea Rooms.

This was a happy accident of a tea room find. I’d been in Liberty’s, intending to go there for tea, when I suddenly decided I didn’t feel like tea there after all and wanted to find somewhere new. I wandered towards Carnaby Street and found a handy map displayed on the wall showing all the different eateries in the area. The Urban Tea Rooms seemed an auspicious name, so off I went.

The Urban Tea Rooms seems to be a cafe and bar. I wish the UK had more places like this; it makes sense to me that you could start off with tea in the afternoon and let the day stretch into an evening celebration. As long as they would still sell me tea in the evening, of course.

I have to confess that I no longer buy caffeinated tea. I know, I’m letting the side down, but that’s how it is. I still have the same exacting standards – but they now apply to rooibos (AKA redbush) and decaf tea.

The salted caramel brownie was too tempting to resist and I paired it with a pot of organic rooibos. I know that chocolate has caffeine in it and I tried to give up chocolate as well, but I couldn’t do it. A side effect of giving up caffeinated drinks is my new obsession with chocolate related things, especially chocolate brownies. This was one of the best ones I’ve had, very rich, very sweet and a good gooey consistency.

Tea and brownie at Urban Tea Rooms

Rooibos and incredibly decadent salted caramel brownie at Urban Tea Rooms

Another customer (who was getting a takeaway coffee) recommended sitting on the sofa by the door and I took her advice. It was a squashy, comfortable place to sit and people watch, but with a teeny tiny table so you had somewhere to put your hot drinks and snacks. You might feel a bit hemmed in there if it gets busy, but at the time there weren’t many people in so it was lovely.

  • Teapot? Yes.
  • Leaf tea? Yes, but in a tea bag – as in, they scoop in the loose leaf and put it in a tea bag. I can’t decide if this defeats the point of having loose leaf tea or not. I suppose you get better quality tea. And it tasted nice, so perhaps we’re okay after all.
  • Milk jug? Yes.
  • Price? £2.80 for a pot of organic Redbush tea (one of the most expensive teas on the menu). £2.80 for the salted caramel brownie. £8.90 for an Earl Grey gin and tonic, if you’re that way inclined.
  • Cake? Yes. The divine salted caramel brownie, plus the normal Victoria Sponge and a carrot and walnut cake (I know, it should be coffee and walnut, but it was the second carrot and walnut cake I’d seen for sale in the last few weeks, so perhaps it was a new trend), scones, muffins, pastries. Also sandwiches and what might have been a stew.
  • Go again? Definitely.

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The Muffin Man Tea Shop

12 Wrights Lane, Kensington, London, W8 6TA

Tea, teacake and Queen Mother's cake at The Muffin Man Tea Shop.

Kensington can be an expensive place but A had been to a good tea shop that was affordable and thought we should try it. She couldn’t quite remember where it was but we did find it first time and so I was impressed (you have the luxury of the name and address, you lucky things).

The Muffin Man Tea Shop is a good solid tea rooms with proper food for not too much money. A had cauliflower soup (which she said was excellent) and I had ‘The Muffin Man’ which was a sandwich with bacon, lettuce, tomato and mayo. We had a pot of tea for two that gave us a number of cups each and then finished the whole meal off with some cake. A had a toasted tea cake which she liked and I had the regal ‘Queen Mother’s cake’ – chocolate, dates and walnuts. Very rich and heavy, and probably not the most sensible choice after a big cookie and a large sandwich, but it was worth it.

Teapot? Yes.
Leaf tea? Yes – The Muffin Man own blend – good and strong.
Milk jug? Yes.
Price? £5.60 for tea for two, sandwich was £3.70 and cake £2.80.
Cake? Yes and muffins and teacakes and sandwiches and soup and all sorts.
Go again? Yes – a little retreat from the hustle bustle of the main bit of Kensington.

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Bettys Café Tea Rooms, York

6-8 St. Helen’s Square, York, YO1 8QP.

Tea at Bettys Cafe Tea Rooms, York

Ah, Bettys. Bettys is one of my very favourite tea rooms and I was a little perturbed that it wasn’t on the blog, especially as that meant I hadn’t got to go to one in over a year.

On New Year’s Eve we were all in York and just before they stopped letting people in, we went to Bettys. Bettys is popular and I have always had to queue to get in, but the queue does go down quickly and it’s worth the wait.

They are traditional and the waitresses have pinafores and the waiters have waistcoats. There is cake and then more cake. There are main meals and breakfast specials and ice cream sundaes and chocolate pancakes and on the day we went, four different types of mince pie. And the tea! The same company is also Taylors of Harrogate so they naturally have a very wide range of tea (and coffee, if you like that sort of thing). Taylors of Harrogate tea is gorgeous, if you are further south than Bettys and want to try some, try The teashop by the canal.

I had Christmas Spice Tea, that was spicy and orangey but made with a black tea also. Surprisingly it came out bright pink. R had China Rose Tea (my favourite), Mum had Bettys blend coffee, Dad had Bettys blend tea and S had Earl Grey. We also had food and yes, I did have the chocolate orange pancakes. They were scrummy.

Teapot? Yes.
Leaf tea? Yes, Taylors of Harrogate.
Milk jug? Yes.
Price? £33 for 5 lots of tea and 4 lots of food.
Cake? Yes and afternoon tea and scones and main meals and sandwiches and ice cream and coffee.
Go again? Always.

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The Mill Tea Rooms

Heckington Windmill, Heckington, Lincolnshire

Heckington Windmill

Heckington Windmill

The Mill Tea Rooms are a new addition to Heckington Windmill. They opened recently as part of the new plan to introduce a visitor centre.

The windmill is bigger than Wilton Windmill and worth paying to climb up and have a look around. There’s also a video showing what the mill is like when it’s working.

Anyway, back to the important bit: the tea. The tea was good. And the cake, oh, the cake! The cake was called ‘Zimpt-Schokolade-Baiser Torte’ or Cinnamon-Chocolate-Meringue cake. I’ve never tasted anything like it. It was light with specks of dark chocolate in it which wasn’t very sweet. The topping was soft brown meringue, not the bring white horror that you sometimes get. After ordering the waiter came back and asked if I was sure I didn’t want it with vanilla ice cream as it tasted very good. I wasn’t sure, so I asked for that too.  The cake was divine and I made so much of a fuss about it the guy serving got the chef out to explain how she did it. It’s her own invention so go to the windmill and try it! Go!

Amazing cake and ice cream and tea at the Mill Tea Rooms

Amazing cake and ice cream and tea at the Mill Tea Rooms

Teapot? Yes.
Leaf tea? Yes.
Milk jug? Yes.
Price? £9 ish for two teas, bacon bap and cake.
Cake? Amazing German style cake and strudel.
Go again? Yes! And so should you.