I have a nickname among some of my friends of Old Mother Hubbard. This is mainly due to my love of vintage furniture, clothes and crockery. I can happily while away an afternoon (or even a whole day!) scouring around markets and charity shops looking for treasures from the past. For my wedding my sister spent a painstaking amount of time collecting more than 100 tea cups and saucers so that we could have Yorkshire tea and Welsh cakes after our ceremony.
So when I was invited to my friend’s hen do at Soho’s Secret Tea Room in London, I was very excited: afternoon tea in a vintage tea room? Yes please!
I love the location of the tea rooms, as it seems so unexpected. You head into a traditional English pub, the Coach and Horses, and are led up a narrow staircase behind the bar to a secret vintage heaven. China plates, cups and teapots line the shelves in the room and our tables had been laid with little trios of crockery.
There was a selection of loose leaf teas to choose from and, being the traditionalist that I am, I opted for English Breakfast. As we had pre-booked our afternoon teas, cake stands were brought to our tables filled with sandwiches, scones and cakes.
The scones were delicious and light and there were pots of cream and jam to slather them in. (This of course led to the all-important debate of jam or cream first?)
The cake slices were huge and I split of piece of tasty Victoria Sponge with another guest, so that I had room for a tiny fairy cake topped with lavender icing.
Unfortunately it was the sandwiches which were the only let down. The delicate little finger sandwiches, filled with various flavours, are usually one of my favourite parts of an afternoon tea. However, despite the fact that we were assured they each had different fillings, there was just the same overwhelming taste of butter in all of them.
The staff, while friendly, did seem quite confused as to what they were supposed to be doing. It almost felt at times like they hadn’t been expecting us!
All in all it though it was a charming afternoon, the room was filled with lots of lovely little touches and our friend had a brilliant afternoon. It’s wasn’t the best afternoon tea I’ve ever had, but it certainly had a quirky vintage appeal.
Where’s the best place you’ve ever had afternoon tea and do you go jam-first or cream on your scones?