Tea for you and me

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


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The Breakfast Club, Spitalfields

12 – 16 Artillery Lane, Spitalfields, London, E1 7LS.   (View on map)

The cup is not really this small, it’s just that the pancakes are big.

Outside was grey but inside The Breakfast Club it was a bright, shiny morning. Even the toilets were cheerful – the ladies toilet is decorated with ‘My Little Pony’ wallpaper. The cafes are a homage to breakfast and the 1980s and this works well.

I plumped for the pancakes with berries, maple syrup and vanilla cream; along with some English Breakfast tea. I was a bit disappointed that the tea came in a cup, but at least the cup was big and the tea bag was teapigs.

The only American style pancakes I’ve ever had for breakfast prior to this were from McDonald’s and so I wasn’t expecting much. These were amazing – light yet filling, sweet yet savoury. I don’t know what vanilla cream is exactly (maybe just vanilla flavoured whipped cream?) but I’m now a big fan.

Teapot? No, a cup and saucer with a tea bag.
Leaf tea? No, though it was a tasty tea bag.
Milk jug? Yes.
Price? £2 for the tea, £6.50 for the pancakes with berries.
Cake? Not when I went, it was too early in the morning. They did have some cake listed on their lunch and dinner menu.
Go again? Yes. I would like to go again and try the ‘All American’ pancakes – pancakes with bacon, eggs, sausage, potatoes and maple syrup. I’ve always been sceptical about this combination, but I think I trust The Breakfast Club enough to give it a go. I’d also like to try going in the evening. After I’d been EM told me that the fridge I was sitting next to opens up in the evening and you can walk through it into a club. I’d like to be able to say I’ve walked through a fridge.


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s&m

48 Brushfield Street, London, E1 6AG.

Checked tablecloth, tea, beer and juice at s&m.

Before we go any further, I’ll clarify that the ‘s’ and the ‘m’ here stand for sausage and mash respectively. s&m is a cafe opposite Spitalfields Market that sells, surprisingly, sausage and mash. Considering it names itself after sausage and mash I thought there was not a lot of choice of aforementioned sausages and mash, but never mind. The sausages were very tasty, but the mash was cold by the time we got it which was a bit of a shame.

The tea was okay, it was just a tea bag in a mug but they did give us a saucer for our dead teabags and a jug of milk as well, so not that bad. It did seem a tad pricey for just a mug of tea though: £1.80. It was a cafe that was made to look like an old fashioned ‘caff’, but it wasn’t really, so a bit odd from that point of view.

Teapot? No.
Leaf tea? No, a pyramid shaped teabag.
Milk jug? Yes, the menu also offered soya milk if you wanted it but they didn’t have any left when JF asked for some.
Price? £1.80 for the tea, £8.95 for three sausages and mash, £4.95 for a pudding.
Cake? No, but pudding.
Go again? No.


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Tea Smith

Tea Smith is a ‘tea bar’ in Spitalfields Market in London that also sells packets of tea, teapots, etc. I admit that I’d been to Tea Smith before and not liked it, so my hopes weren’t very high. I’m happy to say that I have changed my mind completely.

Previously, I’d gone on a Sunday afternoon (the market’s busiest day) and it was crowded and didn’t feel very special. I also chose an aged black tea as it sounded interesting, but really disliked the taste. This is my own fault, as I don’t particularly like strong tea. This time round we went late on Saturday and asked the staff for recommendations – they asked what we normally drank and what we liked and then pointed us in the direction of something a little bit more unusual, but that they thought we’d appreciate. The tea is taken very seriously here, with thermometers for the water temperature and timers for the infusions, along with different styles of tea pots for each different type of tea and delicate cups (Japanese style – no handles). The tea we drank was called ‘Lily Flower’ (I think) and ‘Mandarin Orchid’. My friend chose the first and I chose the second on the basis that it was also named after a flower. The first was floral and buttery and the second light and sweet and gorgeous. I bought a bag of the second to take away with me, and yes, it does taste that good even when not in the careful surroundings of the tea bar. I also enjoyed the music they were playing and the photography exhibit downstairs. All in all a very good tea place.

Teapot? Yes, and they even poured it for you.
Leaf tea? They’d be offended you even asked.
Milk jug? No milk here, this is naked tea.
Price? £3.50 to £8 for a small pot. Think of it like tasting wine rather than quenching thirst.
Cake? Yes, and chocolate. Small but carefully chosen to compliment the tea. We didn’t have any but it looked good.
Go again? Yes, but I’d avoid Sundays.