To kick of my ‘random reviews’ I thought I’d write about one of my favourite tea rooms in Stratford-upon-Avon.
If you’ve ever been to the beautiful S on A you’ll know that there’s a MASSIVE choice of tea rooms and coffee shops and that most of them are overpriced and not really worth the money you’re paying for them. I’m lazy (I think I may have mentioned this already…) and so end up eating out at lunchtimes in lieu of taking the time to actually make my lunch. This is disastrous for my bank account, but it means I’m quite a good authority on where to get a decent pot of tea and a bite to eat in the town.
The Emporium Tea Room in the Ely Street Antique’s Centre is perhaps the best tea room in the entire town. That’s probably why I find myself there sometimes two or three times a week…
When you first go in you’re met by chequerboard tablecloths (I love chequerboard) and the tables are already set up with beautiful mismatched china cup and saucer sets, just waiting for you to fill them up with one of the speciality teas. If you happen to take sugar (I don’t) then you get to take it from a china sugar bowl using a cute little teaspoon, rather than having to litter your table with empty sugar packets.
Your tea arrives in one of their random teapots, ranging from the standard flowery numbers, to giant acorns and little theatres that are painted with scenes from Shakespeare’s plays. I absolutely love the teapots and always look forward to seeing which one I’m going to get. I get absurdly excited when it’s one I haven’t had before.
I also love that you get a sugary cookie on a teeny tiny plate to enjoy with your tea.
I pretty much always order tea, and it’s always fantastic. On the odd occasion that I’ve ordered coffee it has been freshly brewed for me and has tasted awesome.
The menu includes sandwiches, salads, things on toast (of which, sardines is my favourite), a fabulous ploughman’s platter that comes served on a HUGE chopping board, and a selection of cakes and scones. There’s also a specials board that offers home-made soups (delicious) and things like sardines or melted goats cheese on toast (delicious delicious). The prices are reasonable for Stratford, food is all fantastic, and the portions are incredibly generous.
I usually order sandwiches, which come with a huge freshly cut salad, crisps and home-made coleslaw. I’m obsessed with coleslaws and I’d go as far as to say that theirs is the best I’ve tasted! Their home-made soups are awesome too and not only do you get a big bowlful, but you get freshly baked rolls (hot from the oven) and little pats of real butter. Bliss.
I don’t get long for lunch so I never have time to taste the cakes, but I have it on very good authority from my Mom and my workmates (all life-long connoisseurs of baked goods) that the lemon meringue pie and the cream teas at the Emporium are as good as the savouries.
It’s not just the food that’s great though; the staff are also really friendly and helpful. Normally they run table service, so you go in, choose a table and decide what you want, and then they come to you to take your order. Similarly, when you’re done they bring the bill over to you and you pay (with cash) at your table. They know that I only get 30 minutes for lunch though, so they let me save time by ordering and paying at the counter, which I’m really grateful for! They really are kind and accommodating.
The antique’s centre itself is also well worth a look around and I’ve found loads of quirky gifts and hidden treasures in there. There’s a little vintage clothing shop hidden away at the the back too and when I’m not in the tea room I can often be found hanging out in there, spending my money on beautiful old things.
If you’re going into Stratford-upon-Avon and you’ve never been to Emporium Tea Room before then you really should add it to your itinerary. Even if you don’t want to stretch to lunch, it’s worth it for the tea and china alone!