Tea for you and me

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

Leave a comment

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.

Leave a comment

Jam and Tea

The Vintage Marketplace, Vintage by Hemingway festival 2011, Southbank, London.

Cupcakes and bunting.

This is a little different from other reviews on here because you can’t go visit this one. It’s been and gone. Over. No link to viewing it on the map because it was a ‘pop-up’ tearoom just for the festival, in a tent in the vintage marketplace section. It was provided by Jam and Tea and had a limited range of menu options – cupcake and tea, cream tea, petit fours and tea, or afternoon tea. LB and I plumped for the cupcake and tea as we could see rows of them on cake stands at the back of the tent.

It was a very hot, very busy day and the tent was also very hot and very busy but everyone inside was having a good time and enjoying the tea. Once we’d ordered a stand with cupcakes on was brought to us and we chose the ones we wanted – both of us picked the cream coloured ones (no difference in flavour, just difference in colour).

I think the best thing about this place was the set dressing – all the bunting, photos, postcards, tablecloths and crockery. For example, another lady on our table ordered the cream tea and her jam and cream came in tiny teacups. As this was a vintage festival there were a few people dressed in vintage clothing and this added to the fun feel of the tent.

Tea and cupcakes for two, along with a bunch of sweet peas.

Teapot? Yes.
Leaf tea? No.
Milk jug? Yes.
Price? £5 for tea and cupcake, £7 for tea and petit fours, £8 for a cream tea, £15 for afternoon tea.
Cake? Only those mentioned above.
Go again? Yes, but to the main cafe, not to the kiosk.


The teashop by the canal

The Stone Building, The Wharf, Newbury, Berkshire.   01635 522609

An array of teapots in The teashop by the canal

An array of teapots in The teashop by the canal

The Stone Building is next to the Kennet and Avon canal and is owned by the Kennet and Avon Canal Trust. There used to be a cafe and shop selling canal related things in there but then it closed down. Just recently it reopened as ‘The teashop by the canal’. It was recommended to me as somewhere I needed to visit in order to put it on here, so I dutifully went to check it out.

Inside the teashop is filled with mismatched tables and chairs and pretty objects everywhere. It’s a family run business and there are handwritten messages on the walls from one member of the family to another. One I particularly liked was the message above the door reminding someone not to forget things. There’s also chairs and tables outside next to the canal so you can watch the ducks and narrowboats as you enjoy your tea. A sideboard held the cake selection and there was a cake stand with a variety of cupcakes on the windowsill. The dresser with the large selection of proper cups and saucers made me cross my fingers that this would be a good place for tea. The menu telling me that all their tea was loose leaf and from Taylors of Harrogate proved me right.

Perfect tea at The teashop by the canal

Perfect tea at The teashop by the canal

I chose chocolate cake and China Rose tea and V picked a different one. When our tea was served it came in a little pot each with a separate tea strainer each. The tea was delicate and light and smelled wonderfully of roses and summer afternoons. The cake was good and the location is good too. I love going to Delicious… and the chocolate brownies there are still the best I’ve ever tasted, but the loose leaf tea here knocks it off the number one spot on my top five places to enjoy tea.

Teapot? Yes and pretty china tea cup and saucer.
Leaf tea? Yes, Taylors of Harrogate.
Milk jug? Yes.
Price? £1.95 a pot.
Cake? Yes and cupcakes. And main meals and sandwiches and ice cream and coffee.
Go again? Without a doubt.


The Polly Tearooms, Marlborough

27 High Street, Marlborough, Wiltshire, SN8 1LW

The cakes at The Polly Tearooms

The cakes at The Polly Tearooms

The photo here isn’t doing the large array of cakes and scones justice. Or the table full of Winnie the Pooh style pots of jam. The Polly Tearooms is an old fashioned, bay windowed place that was established in 1932 by two women, one of whom was one of the original suffragettes. D recommended this tearoom and we made a special trip to visit it. It was more than worth it and I’m going to go again before the month is out.

I had ‘English Plantation Tea’ which I had never heard of before and was listed on the menu with the fruit teas. I asked if it was a black tea and the waitress went to find out. She came back and said nobody knew what it was made of, but it was served with milk. I took a chance and ordered it. It was a smooth and tasty black tea. I kept the teabag label and googled the name on it: Tregothnan. It turns out it’s a company who have their own tea plantation in Kent and Cornwall! Now the name makes perfect sense. It’s not open for visitors yet, but when it is I’ll be there.

Tea at The Polly Tearooms

Tea at The Polly Tearooms

D had treacle and ginger cake (sounds an odd combination but works wonderfully) and I had a fruit scone. The scone was fresh and light and the jam was succulent.

Next time I visit I’ll make sure I’ve got more of an appetite and will try the cream tea.

Teapot? Yes and a pot of hot water.
Leaf tea? Teabag.
Milk jug? Yes.
Price? About £1.60.
Cake? Yes and lots of it!
Go again? As soon as possible.