Coming up in 2012…

January 20, 2012

We’ve been a little slow off the mark this year, although we are gratified to see that older reviews like The Teacosy, Brighton,  (which we dubbed ‘Britain’s Campest Tearoom’) Poppy’s, Chipping Sodbury and our disappointment at The Randolph, Oxford continue to attract readers.

We’ve also noticed how much you like our pieces on teatime etiquette and other important questions of state, such as ‘how far do you take hand hygiene?‘ or ‘how to do afternoon tea on a budget?‘.

So what’s in store for 2012?

– Well we have visited over 150 tearooms in the UK and will continue to drip out our reviews via the blog and website.

– We would like to make our interesting recipes like the all day breakfast scone and the  gin and tonic fairy cakes available for blog readers to see. We are also working on some all new recipes like strawberries and cream cornish pasties and egg and cress scones and will also be publishing some out-takes of recipes which went…. ehem… less well than we would have liked.

– We will come up with some new teatime debates in the spirit of cream first or jam or the biscuit you can’t live without both of which sparked some hot controversy.

– We’re going to start running an informal feature on other tea-time blogs out there, starting with the inspired ‘Afternoon Tea Total‘.

– And we will of course be keeping our fingers on the pulse of the latest tea-time trends and keep you abreast of all that is brewing in the news.

If you have any questions of comments on the blog or website or there is anything you would like us to research or discuss for you then, as usual, drop us a line.

Amos J Harris signature

Lily Pemberton signature

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Yauatcha, London

May 18, 2011

Yauatcha,

15 Broadwick Street,

London,

W1F 0DL

0870 780 8265

mail@yauatcha.com

Mon-Sun 12 noon-11.45pm (Sun -10.30pm)

Works of Art: Beautiful latticed, bejewled, gold leaf cakes for you perusal

Every so often even the most seasoned tea-goer finds themselves out of their comfort zone. For us this has seldom been more pronounced than the day we were graciously proffered a table in the (allegedly) 4.2 million pound basement space-station that is Yauatcha on Broadwick Street W1. We walked right past the business-like glass-fronted facade several times; unless you know where you’re going, or what you’re in for when you get there Yauatcha can take you by surprise. Skipping distance from Regent Street and lightyears away from preconception alley, we found ourselves enjoying it vociferously.

The decor is undeniably bold. Fish tanks are set into the walls, through which rippling armies of white-hatted chefs can be seen preparing dumplings for the acclaimed dim sum restaurant downstairs. Blocks of pale yellow light, illuminating soaring pillars and squat little tables, lend it the slightly kitsch appearance of somewhere that has tried very hard to make an impression. Which isn’t far from the truth, by the way; apparently it took three very expensive attempts to ‘perfect’. The china was extravagantly imported from Taipei and even the elaborate kung-foo get-up in which the waiters and waitresses swagger around has been overtly commissioned.

The tea, of course, is excellent. We plumped for Silver needles – presented with textbook correctness –followed, out of a sense of unprecedented propriety, with an entirely undissapointing tea smoothie. The miniature works of art that are the cakes (no scones alas!) were the clincher. Incorporating lattices, flower petals and gold leaf, they represent mouth-watering taste, if not (sadly) jaw dropping value.

Somewhere this loud will never remain a secret but we are always delighted to recommend it as a somewhat unusual (dare we say exotic?) gem in our Capital’s fine afternoon crown.

See more tearooms in London

5am start to see sunrise over Sri Lankan tea plantations

Unreliable internet access has meant we’ve been unable to blog as regularly as we would have liked. Now we’re in back Colombo to watch the Royal Wedding so here’s a little update…

Last week we arrived in Ella, in the foothills, famous for it’s lush green jungles and orderly tea plantations. On the South Coast it had been scorching hot, well into the 30s and as soon as we got up to pour a drink we’d break into a cloying sweat. It was naive to think, however, that in a country as verdant as this, the weather would hold. Of course, we were wrong.

In Ella the monsoon rains came. It rained and it rained and it rained. Then there would be a small sunny window, where folks would start to put out their washing… and then it would rain again. With the rain, the mosquitoes disappeared, but in their stead came the leeches. We suffered terribly as we trekked through long grass and scrabbled over the wet rocks, and when we came home we had to burn the little blighters off one by one.

One morning, we got up early and climbed a rock the locals call “Little Adam’s Peak” – an hour’s climb from the town – from where we were rewarded with fantastic views of the sun rising over the plantations, and the famous ‘Ella Gap’.

From Ella, we headed further North, to Nuwara Eliya, the highest settlement on the island, where the early colonialists flattered the hilltop forests and planted row upon row of immaculate tea bushes in their stead. The road winds up and up through the hills, and on either side, the ramshackle tea factories vie for pride of place. We stopped for a few tastings along the way and finally reached the Grand Hotel where we were treated with our first afternoon tea in an incredible 3 weeks!

Our first tea in Sri Lanka...

We’ve arrived in Sri Lanka, and here we are on the South Coast enjoying our first tea of the trip. They make iced tea the old fashioned way with freshly brewed tea, fresh lime, ice and LOADS of sugar. The result? About the most refreshing drink you can get until the sun crosses the yard arm,

Amongst our most pleasant discoveries since arriving is that yard-arm-sun-crossing seems to happen much earlier here…

Next week, we head North to the foothills, for our tour of the tea plantations.

Peacock’s, Ely.

April 13, 2011

Peacocks,

The Waterfront,

Ely,

Cambridgeshire,

CB7 4AU.

 

01353 661 100

http://www.peacockstearoom.co.uk/

Afternoon tea in Peacocks tearoom, Ely, Cambridgeshire

Lily still smiles in her sleep, thinking about those crumpets...

Natives of sleepy Ely, had they been casing the waterfront at 4 o’clock that late autumn afternoon, might have permitted a raised eyebrow or two at the sight of a pair of flustered tea-goers haring through the village in search of their last repast of the day. We rounded the final corner at a brisk trot, Amos in the lead and Lily – a few heads behind – bringing up a dignified rear. Arriving, slightly out of breath (Amos with just a hint of perspiration on his brow) it was clear that we were to be rewarded for our efforts in heavy coin.

The fame of Peacocks has gone before it. From the apple-pie cottage exterior to the homely plum-pudding welcome we received within, it was every bit the tea-time oasis we had been led to expect, and after our little canter earlier, felt vindicated in doing full justice to all they had to offer.

Amos fell about devouring a couple of hearty fresh scones with his usual gusto while Lily opted for perfectly toasted crumpets – the butter from which is smeared in greasy fingermarks all over the original notes – and a pot of ‘Good Luck’ blended tea, which we can cheerfully recommend. We found it to be busy without being crowded, warm, softly lit and tastefully decorated. The selection of Tea is comprehensive to the point of bewilderment although not unreasonably priced. Yes, the service was ever-so slightly 4 o’clock and we wouldn’t choose lace tablecloths for our front rooms but it’s hard to find fault with hosts who have catered so perfectly to your needs and we left, refreshed, in fine fetter, another couple of satisfied punters.

 

See more tearooms in East Anglia

Lily and Amos have been furiously busy in the run-up to the weekend, boiling kettles, hanging bunting, packing hampers, popping up marquees, and decorating fairy cakes to our heart’s contents. The reason? Well on Saturday we hosted our first ever Noveltea Tea Party in Clifton, Bristol. We had a terrific turn-out, and raised hundreds of pounds in aid of Marie Curie Cancer Care.

We’d like to thank everyone who showed out to support and look forward to an even bigger, better (slightly less rainy!) time of it next year.

Here are a few of our favourite photos – if you have any more do send them in…

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Blooming Great Tea Party

November 29, 2009

providing care for people suffering from cancer

A couple of weekends ago we met up with Danielle from Marie Curie Cancer Care. They’re a charity who look after people suffering from cancer in the UK, both at home and in their custom-build hospices around the country. The aim of the meeting was to discuss Noveltea could get involved with their fundraising to raise over £1,000,000 to look after patients and their families and we have agreed to become ambassadors for their campaign.

Not only can we do our bit for a really worthy cause but it’s given us the perfect excuse to roll out something that’s been in the pipeline for ages….

The 1st Annual Noveltea Tea Party!...dust off the bunting Lily!

We’re delighted to announce that plans are already underway for a large-scale public tea party to be held in Bristol on the 1st May. We wont spoil the surprise but suffice to say it will be an event not to be missed! We’ll be there, of course, as will lots of our friends we’ve met on our adventures. Needless to say there’ll be tea galore and an opportunity to sample some yummie goodies from the kitchen of THQ.

What can you do to support our cause?

– Have a look at the Marie Curie website to find out more or to make a donation:

http://www.justgiving.com/Noveltea/

– Join our facebook group:

http://www.facebook.com/editalbum.php?oid=186827162843&add=1&htmlup=1#/event.php?eid=186827162843

– Make a date in your diary and tell all your friends!

See you there!