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Sunday, 17 January 2016

Ted gets a bit Teaed off

… “Ted why don’t you do something traditional” said the Doll. I was a bit perplexed as this is a country absolutely rammed full of traditions so what exactly did she mean … should I attend a Druid sacrifice at Stonehenge, do a bit of swearing on the horns, or try Morris dancing? Nope, turns out she simply meant that we should have afternoon tea. Afternoon tea started life squarely in the domain of the wealthy and upper classes. Anna, the seventh Duchess of Bedford, is credited with introducing afternoon tea into Britain around 1840. Ostensibly this was because she got hungry in the long stretch between luncheon at noon and dinner not kicking off until 8pm at the earliest in Victorian times. So around 4pm Anna would wheel out the teapot and a few nice sandwiches and cakes to see her through the next few hours. Pretty soon afternoon tea became a very fashionable event across the social spectrum, and of course it hasn't looked back since.

The Doll had seen an afternoon tea place on-line that sounded intriguing … Soho’s Secret Tearoom. You go behind the bar in the downstairs pub, climb up some narrow stairs and are then transported back in time as you enter a pink 1950’s living room with teapots, photos, etched glass mirrors, royal family memorabilia and of course lovely tea cups with matching saucers and side plates. Before I go any further I should mention something … in the beginning the Doll said “you should really only tell your readers about things and places you enjoyed Ted, and not stuff that you didn’t enjoy” and so now dear readers for the first time I am now about to ignore that guideline … sort of …

Soho’s Secret Tearoom went wrong from the beginning. First the wrong tea arrived, and unable to get the waitresses attention no matter what I did, I had to take it back to the counter myself. When after 30 minutes the food still hadn't arrived the Doll went to the counter. The food then quickly arrived on a lovely tiered cake plate – the wrong cake. The advertised sandwich selection of cucumber, egg and cress, and cream cheese and chives turned out to be cucumber and cream cheese, egg without a sign of cress, and cheese and pickle. The scone was rather misshapen but tasted ok with jam and clotted cream but the carrot cake was just too undercooked to be enjoyable.

By this time I realised that it had all gone so horribly wrong that it was actually a quite entertaining comedy of errors. I was warm and comfortable, had nowhere else to be in any particular hurry, and it was nice to be drinking tea from a teapot as opposed to dunking a bag into a cup. So hence I am only "sort of" ignoring the guidelines. However … the Secret Tearoom owes it to itself to live up to its potential – especially as it’s right next door to the venerable Maison Bertaux, where they know how to do it right.

5 comments:

Rick Forrestal said...

Nevermind the tea.
Let's have some of those sweets!
Yum.

Sharon Anck said...

Too bad the place had trouble getting thing organized. It does look very charming.

William Kendall said...

Oh well, you'll just have to find another spot for afternoon tea!

Jack said...

I'm sorry that this tea room didn't work out for you. Maybe they just had a bad day.

Bill Nicholls said...

Afternoon Tea, nice way to while an hour away

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