An old school New Orleans restaurant from the jazz age. The best time is to go for lunch during a weekday. It will be full of local bigwigs making business happen the way New Orleans always does, over a strong cocktail ...
Dined at this excellent restaurant just last evening, after attending an afternoon play at Stratford Shakespeare Festival. During dinner, I found out that it is currently their 35th year (they’re a seasonal restaurant). Cuisine, service and decor was noteworthy, concise, well executed; better than any fine dining restaurant to be found in Toronto, trust me! If you are going to Stratford in Canada to see theatre, then you should try to dine at Rundles. I’d go to Stratford again just to dine at this temple of Canadian gastronomy.
One of the best yet reasonably priced Italian restaurants in Paris. Great pizzas and even better pasta with traditional Sicilian sauces, always a feast for the eyes and palate. The service is absolutely wonderful and the atmosphere warm and unpretentious.
138 rue de Vaugirard 75015 Paris
+33(0)1 47 83 37 28
Google map: bit.ly/JW8VZZ
A slightly leftfield but still on topic choice would be any of Bristol’s lush Thali Cafes. The British Raj style-decor conjures up nostalgia for the last days of British Empire with a menu to match. Do check out the website to get some kind of flavour. Tea wise, one would only go there to drink Masala Chai – a drink owing its existence purely to the British East India Company – which is essentially cooked spiced tea. There is a host of savoury snacks and a limited selection of desserts to choose from, the best being Kulfi ice cream.
From 6pm the ambience changes and it takes on its award-winning restaurant persona.
The village shop in Curry Mallet, deep in the heart of South Somerset and right on the edge of the Somerset Levels, is an absolute delight for anyone who takes their teatime treats seriously. From her tiny kitchen Julia Langley produces the best scones I have ever tasted, meltingly wonderful chocolate brownies, fresh-from-the-oven croissants and Danish pastries and a whole range of even-better-than-home-cooked cakes and savouries. Right on cycle route 33, with tables outside under the chestnut tree or inside among displays of local crafts, it’s not surprising that this place is regularly listed as "tea-stop of the year" by Somerset cycling organisations. In summer a "tiffin tent" is erected outside to provide more space for hungry visitors. This is the perfect place to refuel after a cycle around the Somerset Lanes or a trip to nearby Swell Woods - England's largest Heronry. Don't miss the cappuccino slices or, if your taste runs to more savoury treats, my own personal favourite - the Mediterranean scrolls. More than just a teashop this tiny place is also post-office, village stores and heart of the local community.
It’s an age old debate: whether to spread jam or clotted cream first on a scone? Whether you like your dollop of jam first, or lashings of clotted cream take priority, Annie’s Tea Room in Thrupp, Oxfordshire is the perfect place to ponder this delightful dilemma. Originally part of an old British Waterways yard, the tearooms are set in a sleepy, canal-side hamlet near a nature reserve.
Annie’s offers a range of tempting cakes all made from scratch, but quite the best are their large home-baked scones. Nowhere else I am happier waiting for 10 minutes for my food to arrive warm and fresh from the oven! A lazy country walk along the canal or Chiltern River awaits afterwards if one feels the need to be virtuous after a little overindulgence.
A real hidden gem in this pretty thatch village. Sit in the garden on a fine day and enjoy home made scones, cakes and jam with local cream. You have to drive around the village centre and park near the church then walk into village. A real find that you would not know was there unless someone told you.
The Tea Room is run by volunteers from the parish and wider community as part of their Benedictine Hospitality. They serve homemade cakes and scones, as well as delicious homemade soup and baked potatoes.
On Sunday, between 1.30 and 4pm you might find local Girl Guides serving the teas.
Church Street, Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire, GL20 5RZ
Google map: bit.ly/KZ7j1k
Stroll through the diverse array of sculptures in the Broomhill gardens to the hotel, partly obscured by trees (and a giant red stilleto) for a cream tea. The jam is fruity and not too sweet, the cream piled high and the scones mountainous. One of those times in life where the food, the location and the company combine to make something much more than the sum of its parts.
While on a walk in the New Forest I came across the delight that is the Station House in Holmsley. To see a sympathetically restored train station in pristine condition in use as a tea room is something I could not just pass by. With its traditional style tea room interior and unique outside selling area it meant anyone could enjoy the scrumptious homemade delights made from local produce. I chose to sit outside and found it a great pleasure to sit on the restored platform looking over the beautiful forests while enjoying a delectable Millionaire's shortcake. An extremely wide range of treats were available, ranging from the more healthy lunch menu to the irresistable afternoon tea and cake selection. There is also a delightful-looking supper menu. Another aspect I really liked was that it is great for walkers and cyclists. I enjoyed my little taster of the Station House considerably and look forward to going again some time soon.
The David Mellor Design Cafe is a quintessentially British place for a cup of tea and cake, just don't expect it to be served in a floral cup and saucer. As one of the key British designers of the 20th century, the cafe epitomises David Mellor, simple, modern and stylish. The food, soups, sandwiches and cakes, come in delicious combinations of flavours. The white chocolate and cranberry scones are a particular favourite. On your way out don't forget to spot the set of working (David Mellor designed) traffic lights in the gardens!
This delightful ex-fisherman's cottage overlooks the pier with sweeping views beyond up Loch Broom.
Gill and Bob serve delicious Scottish cream tea and homemade cakes but it was the sound of Gill's laughter that initially attracted us. Take advantage of the cosy interior on a windy day and watch the fishing boats and Calmac ferries on their way to and from Stornoway. Brill!
17 Shore St, Ullapool, IV26 2UJ
+44(0)1854 613 346
Google map: bit.ly/KbQrIX
It could be the hearty soups. It could be the generous cakes. It could be the stacks of magazines, the authentic ethnic home wares or the kitsch and colourful decor. Combine these with ivy sprouting through the wall and you have a real countryside discovery. They sell plants too.
Held in community halls throughout the summer, Sunday Teas raise funds for good causes. Pay a small entrance fee and help yourself to delicious home bakes and savoury bannocks (a Shetland speciality). It’s not unusual to see several tables covered in all sorts of cakes and attentive tea and coffee bearers ensure your cup is never empty. A welcome treat after a morning exploring wild beaches, Sunday Teas are also a great way to experience the vibrancy of community life in Shetland.
Tea venues are advertised in the back pages of the weekly Shetland Times.
A beautiful Victorian tea room set in a building dating back to 1675 and serving wonderful traditional afternoon tea on three tier stands. The choice of tea is fantastic, all loose leaf and served in beautiful bone china. Everything is authentic in this stunning building, from the china, the paintings on the walls to the Victorian costumes the staff wear, it really does feel like you've stepped back in time. They also serve delicious homemade cakes, pastries and sandwiches. We came away feeling like we had an experience rather than just an afternoon tea. Fantastic, relaxing and very very tasty :-)
Whether walking the Cleveland Way, on a day out or enjoying a holiday on the beautiful, unspoilt north east coast of England - a visit to Anne's Tea Garden in Runswick Bay will transport you back to the days when cakes were made using quality ingredients and with a pride in producing a delicious outcome.
Anne, a retired nurse, genuinely enjoys producing irresistible cakes and, I suspect, opens her delightful garden each summer for the sheer joy of sharing her produce with visitors and locals.
Cakes on offer vary, but you can be assured of being spoiled for choice. Walking along the Cleveland Way from nearby Staithes last Friday, we found difficulty in choosing between lime and coconut cake, apple pie (made using apples from the garden which were frozen down in the autumn), date and walnut loaf, berry tarts, chocolate cake, lemon meringue tart, scones and almond slices (we had a piece of apple pie each and shared a piece of lime and coconut cake, then walked the strenuous way back to burn off the calories!)
The tea pots are large and the hot water plentiful (refills offered), and if you want lunch or high tea then quiche and a variety of sandwiches are on offer. The garden is delightful, there is parking nearby and, of course, you have the beautiful little village of Runswick Bay (a cluster of white cottages which look as though they could tumble down the cliff into the sea at any moment) with its extensive sandy beach to explore thus working up an appetite before your visit or burn up calories afterwards. Anne opens daily during the summer (from approx. May to September) but closes Thursdays and on very rainy days, because covered space is limited.
This part of the coast also has two other excellent venues for tea and cakes: The Ship Inn at Port Mulgrave (a former pub, now a bed and breakfast establishment and licensed tearoom, which sadly only opens at weekends, except during high summer) and the Tea Room in Staithes, where you will also find excellent coffee and a variety of traditional hot dishes (opens daily in summer and restricted opening in winter). At both places you will receive a warm welcome and be assured of gastronomic delights that will transport you back in time to the days of good home baking.
2 Ellerby Lane, Runswick Bay, near Whitby, North Yorkshire, TS13 5HS
Google map: bit.ly/L0gZt2
We have been going to the Lake District for our holidays over the last few years. We always visit Baldreys Tea Room in Grasmere. Friendly staff, great for kids and proper pots of tea with loose-leaf, a strainer and spare hot water - enough for a few cups, which, of course, are dainty fine bone china. Great selection of cakes, buns and desserts. Last time my wife had carrot cake and I had the bread and butter pudding. Good portions that make you feel slightly stuffed as you leave.
Red Lion Square, Grasmere, LA22 9SP
Google map: bit.ly/LDIlDu
Situated high up in the trees of the visitor's centre. Great views, lovely tea in proper china cups and a gorgeous selection of home made cakes. During my last visit I had the first slice of an amazing Victoria Sponge with lashings of cream and sticky strawberry jam. Great stuff!
For those of you with good memories, you may recall that, nearly three years ago, I posted the winning tip for cream teas, at Falling Foss Tea Garden near Whitby. Well, I have to say that since then, it has gone from strength to strength and the quality of the scones has not diminished. A tea garden, located in a forest by a waterfall, Falling Foss is one of the most enchanting settings you could experience. Ginger cake, carrot cake and old fashioned fairy cakes line the counter, all freshly baked by co-owner Steph and served by “tea boy” Jack (Steph’s husband). The baking is so consistently good that the only problem I have when I go now is whether to have a scone or a slice of luscious ginger cake!
After a good walk or cycle we feel we deserve some cake and coffee. In Scotland this can be more difficult than you'd think - sometimes the cake or scone is good and the coffee awful, othertimes the coffee is good and the scone or cake is stale, or worse, heated up in the microwave. But this tearoom is excellent for both - cakes to die for and coffee to revive you, all made and served with TLC by Philip Borrowman. Try it, you wont be disappointed.
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