Hot Gossip, Henley

October 24, 2011

Hot Gossip
7 Friday Street
Henley
Oxfordshire

Tearooms in Henley: Hot Gossip

 

Henley is lovely, although it’s not – I must say – particularly lovable. Famed for being one of the most expensive, most snooty, most disingenuous of all the Thames villages, Henley is a place to for the weekend but we wouldn’t necessarily move there.

Although spoilt for good shops (and of course the ubiquitous farmer’s market on Saturdays…), tea-wise it’s a bit disappointing. You could opt for one of the riverside hotels, or there’s a perfectly nice-looking Maison Blanc near the bridge but we’d back the local’s choice: Hot Gossip on Friday Street.

We felt immediately at home amid the kitch clutter of this cosy ground-floor tearoom. The half-dozen or so tables are staffed (I would hesitate to say perhaps slightly over-staffed?) by 4 wonderfully ditsy, pinny-wearing waitresses who, after much to-ing and fro-ing and whoopsie-daisying, managed to take our order. The home-made cakes looked delicious but since we couldn’t decide which to go for, we opted for one slice of each and (for the sake of balance) a scone-a-piece.
The scones came with a generous scoop of clotted cream and blob of Wilkinson’s Jam. In their prime they must have been superb but I’d take some persuading that they were fresh today. The cakes, though, were faultless. Even we began to struggle a bit after our 4th slice, but we soldiered on regardless. The tea was ok, but the star of the show was undoubtedly the hot chocolate, which – although they seemed to have been prepared such that most of the liquid was on the outside – did much to lift our spirits on the cold journey home.

We would usually direct readers towards a website or some other source of information, but so far as we can see none exists… and to be honest perhaps this is the true source of Hot Gossip’s charm. For all the topsy-turvy service and the spilt hot chocolate, the homely lack of commercialism makes for a thoroughly enjoyable, wholly British afternoon out.

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