Oh, You Little Teas! Fatboy’s Diner review – Trinity Buoy Wharf

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Fatboy’s Diner

Trinity Buoy Wharf
64 Orchard Place
E14 0JW
Tel: 07950 943402
https://www.fatboysdiner.co.uk
Maple Mess Pancakes: £7.50*
Passion Storm Smoothie: £3.50*

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Today’s post comes from Fatboy’s Diner at Trinity Buoy Wharf. For those not in the know – and I wasn’t – this area was once home to London’s shipbuilders, the ghosts of which linger in the area undergoing regeneration so that noble trades can be replaced by smug Espresso joints, galleries specialising in bits of metal in the shape of a duck and apartments that only those involved in drug trafficking can possibly afford. Initially I found the area rather depressing, as though frivolity had replaced the hard work and world-conquering technology on which an empire had once flourished. Then I remembered that our decline came long before hipsters and babyccinos, and at least we were no longer marching into countries demanding tiffin and all their natural resources, so that brief burst of patriotism lasted as long as it took to read the dessert menu. Just as well really. This is, after all, a food blog, not a Jeremy Paxman documentary analysing why Britain has only produced Ed Sheeran and Reggae Reggae Sauce in the last twenty years.

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And so I head to Fatboy’s, eager for old school Americana of the Norman Rockwell / American Graffiti variety, nostalgic for a culture I wasn’t born into, have no links to and which I suspect only ever existed in episodes of Happy Days. Firstly, I need to point out that Fatboy’s isn’t exactly the easiest place to get to. This has less to do with its location as it is to do with Google Maps instructing me down a dual carriageway nowhere near my destination once I hit Canning Town. But I persevered, and despite some initial misgivings (squashed food on the floor; menus flying around whenever a gust of wind came through the door; Del Shannon stuck awkwardly between TLC and Duran Duran on a genre-confused playlist etc.) I really liked it.

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Brought over from Georgetown, Massachusetts, the trailer is exactly what the mind conjures when picturing a typical American diner, complete with ripped leather stools, tiled booths and the sizzle of bangers and burgers frying on a griddle. I sat at the counter so I could watch all the hot buns and beef action and take pictures of pancake batter bubbling and blistering into existence (a word of caution for vegetarians: all the food is prepared on a single griddle given a cursory scrape with a spatula, so if you think fruity pancakes are a good alternative to the multitude of meat on the menu, the chances are they will have been partially coated in beef fat and bacon grease before they reach you).

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I opted for a mug of builders tea and the “Maple Mess” pancakes, complete with maple syrup, crispy streaky bacon and…er, whipped cream. If it seems like a weird combination you can always opted for ice cream instead, but somehow the idea of hot smoky bacon and freezing cold ice cream doesn’t hold much appeal, no matter what Heston Blumenthal might say to the contrary. The pancakes – roughly the size of four small side plates – are fluffy, light and utterly perfect, while the combination of bacon, syrup and cream works surprisingly well.

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If I have one complaint it is that one tiny container of maple syrup simply isn’t enough for the job at hand. In all my experience with pancakes (and the quest for the perfect stack has been trundling on for more years then my waist cares to remember) you rarely get the 2 litre jug of syrup required to drench the things adequately, and when you’re reduced to pouring little puddles onto the side of the plate so it isn’t instantly absorbed into the pancakes you lose most of the taste and a lot of the fun. Fortunately I am incredibly cheeky and not overly concerned with the state of my teeth, so it wasn’t long before I was pestering the waiter for extra containers and dousing the plate in a sea of syrup. For balance I also ordered a “Passion Storm” smoothie, loaded with papaya, pineapple, peaches and other healthy things beginning with ‘P’ to keep the alliterative rhythm flowing. All in all, a fun place with good food and a great atmosphere. And now, time for a song: Sunday, Monday, happy days; Tuesday, Wednesday, happy days…

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*Prices/information correct as of 19.10.19

Feel free to share stories, views and tips in the comments section below. Always fun to hear from fellow teaholics xx

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Oh, You Little Teas! Peggy Porschen review – Belgravia

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Peggy Porschen

116 Ebury Street
Belgravia
SW1W 9QQ
Tel: 020 7730 1316
http://www.peggyporschen.com
Blackberry Crumble Cupcake: £5.95*
Hot Chocolate: £4.75*
Green Tea: £3.50*

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Welcome to Peggy Porschen, the girly cake cavern in the heart of Belgravia. According to Vanity Fair (and vanity is displayed here more than the cakes are) Peggy P knocks out the best cupcakes in the history of anything ever. Quite a claim. Tell me, Vanity Fair scrivners: have you ever made a batch of Tom and Jerry fairycakes with edible character wafers and chocolate chips brought from the bakery aisle in Tesco? No? Well, I have, and once you add a cherry and a squirt of Jif lemon we’re talking some seriously sensational sweets.

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Anyway, I’m here to try a cupcake in my role as blogger/critic/glutton/cake connoisseur and nothing is going to stop me, even the creeping sensation that I have walked into a posing, preening, selfie-seeking melee of overly made-up women decked out in their Sunday best posing with a cake as though sponge and frosting is a sign of having made your mark in the world. Eating cake is not a sign that you are a success that others should seek to emulate. Eating cake is a sign that you like cake. Or it should be. Looking at those seated outside as I queued for a table I didn’t see that much eating going on. Instead I saw people using their phone; and people taking selfies; and people taking group selfies; and people asking the waiting staff to take photos of them; and people taking pictures of the doorway and the decorative toadstools adorning the walls and the cups and the teapots and what their Chanel sunglasses would look like placed on a plate next to their vegan chocolate slice (answer: ridiculous). The cakes themselves could be made of plasticine and rubber sealant. The taste doesn’t seem to be a priority (there is a lot of cake left behind whenever guests leave a table, something that would normally ring alarm bells but which doesn’t surprise me in this context). What matters is being seen to be here, whether you actually like cake or not. I would suggest that sunglasses woman, pouty woman posing in the doorway and surgically-enhanced woman painting her oddly inflated lips couldn’t give two shiny shillings about sponge density or soggy cake bottoms. The desserts look nice, the place is popular with social media influencers and that’s about the end of it. This strikes me as strange, as whilst the cakes do indeed look pretty they don’t necessarily stand out in terms of their decoration. For example, Percy Ingles bakery on Bethnal Green road sells iced fingers with lapis blue icing. Now, I’m not saying that they are better than the cakes available in Peggy Porschen because I’m not a idiot and they actually look revolting, but they stand out on the basis that most cakes aren’t usually blue, yet these oddities aren’t cropping up on Time Out’s top ten places to eat cakes that resemble a science experiment gone wrong.

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So, Peggy Porschen is a posuers paradise. We get it, but what is the place like when it isn’t filled with women in ball gowns too scared of cellulite to risk doing anything as foolish as actually eat? Well, it is a pastel pink paradise designed to enchant the little girl hidden beneath the Lancôme and lashes of big girls everywhere (I don’t mean to imply that men won’t get anything out of the experience but the atmosphere is definitely geared towards a more feminine clientele). And what do the cakes taste like, I hear you moan. Well, I’ll tell you. They taste… well, lovely. Yes, it would be easy to dismiss Peggy Porschen as a creation of social media sheep following a long established flock, but the truth is that the cupcake I had – a moist sponge filled with blackberries and jam and decorated with lightly flavoured cream cheese – was delightful. It isn’t the best I’ve ever tasted – the idea of it being the best in the world as espoused by Vanity Fair is the kind of hyperbole that few people actually take seriously, anymore than people would believe a quote on a poster that declared a new Will Ferrell film to be the funniest comedy of the year – but it is genuinely delicious and is made with great care and attention. The same can be said of the hot chocolate (if I’m not boucing off the walls with the most severe sugar rush after this I will consider the trip to have been a failure), beautiful to look at and perfectly rich and creamy. Again, it isn’t the best I’ve ever tasted but it is lovely and I couldn’t help but giggle childishly when it arrived surrounded by a heap of mini marshmallows.

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A special mention must also be given for their superb Chinese Yunnan green tea, a subtle, slightly smoky blend that finished off the experience just as Sinatra crooned about waking up in a city that never sleeps. As he had already sung about longing to stray forty minutes earlier I suspect that there is a cassette tape somewhere that needs to be turned over to side B, but as complaints go this is pretty non-existent. The desserts are lovely, the cafe is charming and the service is spot on. Just be sure to duck under the table whenever someone brings out a smartphone. You WILL end up as the ghost at the feast in their next Instagram post, and no one wants to be the strange grimacing head that can’t be cropped during resizing 🧁

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*Prices/information correct as of 13.10.19

Feel free to share stories, views and tips in the comments section below. Always fun to hear from fellow teaholics xx

Oh, You Little Teas! Eggbreak review – Notting Hill

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Eggbreak

30 Uxbridge Street
Kensington
W8 7TA
Tel: 020 3535 8300
http://www.eggbreak.com
Turkish Eggs £12.00*
Crabcake with Proached Eggs £15.00*
Nutella French Toast £12.00*

20191012_155352~3A short post today from Eggbreak in the heart of Notting Hill (they say Kensington, I say Notting Hill. Tomato, tomahto). As the name suggests this is a cafe devoted to the humble egg and all its incarnations. It’s crowded, the bathrooms are roughly the size of the cupboard Harry Potter slept in under the Dursley’s staircase and you can expect a fair old wait for a table at the weekends (pre-booking is not an option, but at least you know that those smugly snaffling muffins in the warm probably suffered a similar fate before you), but the eggs are pretty darn good, especially when served atop crunchy golden crabcakes or poached besides a toastie oozing hot butter and melted cheese. I can also highly recommend the Nutella French toast with mascarpone and cornflakes, a treat so delicious that it almost made me forget the Christmas I spent fielding complaints about personalised Nutella jars that failed to reach there rightful owner with the correct sticker on the front (What do you mean our store has destroyed your Christmas? It cost £3.99, mate. You’re actually telling me that your Christmas was “devastated” because a jar of £3.99 chocolate spread didn’t arrive with some dope’s name stuck over the official label? You can’t be that stupid. No one could be that stupid and still get up each morning to put their pants on, you vacuous, insipid…)

Oh, er, apologies about that, folks. Seems I drifted off there for a moment. Awkward. Very… very akward. Er, any-eee-way, Eggbreak. Very…er, very good (author shuffles sheepishly away to scream into a cushion for a while…) 🍳

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*Prices/information correct as of 12.10.19

Feel free to share stories, views and tips in the comments section below. Always fun to hear from fellow teaholics xx

Oh, You Little Teas! TWG Tea review – Leicester Square

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TWG Tea

48 Leicester Square
WC2H 7LT
Tel: 020 3972 0202
https://twgtea.com
Tarte Tatin: £7.00*
Passion Fruit Tea: £7.00*

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It was the use of the word ‘unctous’ that first caught my attention. Unctous is a term that doesn’t belong on a menu. Neither does ’emulsion’, ‘ethereal’ or ‘artisanal’ when used to describe a muffin. There are too many words (yep, I know. Pot, meet kettle) and none of those words make sense in this context. No one wants an unctous dessert. Unctous is a ugly word suggestive of ooze and slime and something vaguely medical that desperately needs to be lanced. Yet I am an intrepid foodie and am reaching a point where the more bizarre something sounds the more eager I am to try it. So Tarte Tatin with “unctous” caramel coulis I shall have, along with an oleaginous batch of blueberries, a smarmy smattering of strawberries and a Pecksniffian scoop of ice cream, accompanied by a pot of pretentious twaddle tea, if you’d be so kind (I took the liberty of photographing a particularly funny byline from the menu as exhibit A. If someone told me that they were responsible for a pudding created by “ethereal desires” I’d assume that they had just wanked into a pie).

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When the money runs out I think ‘Ethereal Desires’ will be my stripper name

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If you can get over the ridiculous wording, barn-like atmosphere, eye watering prices (I could snorkle in tea for a month with what a single pot here costs, and this was the least expensive option on the menu), a draft that envelopes your nether regions in an arctic wind and the sense that you were branded a naive tourist twonk the second you walked up the staircase, there is some fun to be had. The apple tart with ice cream (let’s call a spade a spade, shall we? Though if TWG had it’s way they would probably call a spade ‘an integral gardening implement plunging the emotional appetency of the mulch’) is really rather lovely. Basically it’s a splat of stewed apple slapped onto a biscuit base and encased in a dome of gelatinous, apple-flavoured gunk, and if that doesn’t sound as poetic as it appears on the menu then at least everyone knows what all those words mean when strung together to form a sentence (maybe they meant to write gelatinous but a dodgy autocorrect changed it to unctous by mistake, a bit like when my autocorrect writes ‘melon farmer’ when I want to write… er, well, nevermind) There is a scoop of tea-infused ice cream that works well with the apple and a smattering of berries and cream that looks and tastes very nice. In fact, for £7.00 I would say you actually do get your money’s worth, if stewed apples, digestive biscuits and jelly is your thing. The tea comes in a deceptively large teapot that they clearly don’t fill with enough water, thus providing tiny cups to fool you into thinking you’re consuming more than you really are, the music alternates wildly from ‘Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head’ to the main aria from Madame Butterfly (think Glenn Close flicking the lights off and on in Fatal Attraction. You know, jolly, sing-along fun) and there is a code you need to ask for so that you can use the bathroom, because there is nothing classier than alerting the waiters to the fact that you need to evacuate your bowels imminently. I’m leaving now so I can go outside for a warm. Till next time, folks 🍏

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*Prices/information correct as of 06.10.19

Feel free to share stories, views and tips in the comments section below. Always fun to hear from fellow teaholics xx

Oh, You Little Teas! – Melange Chocolate Shop & Café review – Peckham

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Melange Chocolate Shop & Café

2 Maxted Road
Peckham
SE15 4LL
Tel: 07722 650711
Milky hot chocolate with whipped cream: £3.50*

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I have made a pilgrimage to Peckham to pay a visit to Melange, a tiny chocolate shop/Café where the air is thick with the scent of cocoa and babies screech and squawk in that way they have that resembles knitting needles being stabbed repeatedly through your eardrums. There are babies everywhere. Babies in papooses; babies in buggies; babies in moses baskets; all poised to set off a ear-splitting shriek that will prompt the others to join in like a batch of defective Furbies from the 90’s. Clearly this is a family-oriented place, but as I have braved traffic jams, torrential rain and sodden shoes to get here I won’t let a little thing like deafness and a Miss Trunchbull-like aversion to other people’s progeny stop me from enjoying myself. And enjoy myself I do. It is a lovely place; a cosy nook hidden away from the madness of the high street that is warm and welcoming and utterly charming. From the gorgeous aroma of chocolate that hits you the moment you approach the entrance to the homely sitting area at the back, Melange feels like the kind of place Vianne Rocher would have opened if Joanne Harris had chosen to set Chocolat in South London rather than Lansquenet-sous-Tannes. I opt for a cup of milky hot chocolate with whipped cream, a smooth and malty creation that avoids the usual chocolate pitfalls of being either sickly sweet beyond belief or far too bitter to be palatable. I am in my element, and seeing the dedication that has gone into the store and into each cup of creamy chocolate is a delight. The free samples of chocolate over by the counter don’t let the side down either. A lovely way to spend a lazy Sunday. Happy weekend, teaholics ☕

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*Prices/information correct as of 29.09.19

Feel free to share stories, views and tips in the comments section below. Always fun to hear from fellow teaholics xx

Oh, You Little Teas! – Basement Sate Dessert Restaurant review – Soho

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Basement Sate

8 Broadwick St
Soho
W1F 8HN
Tel: 02072873412
http://www.basementsate.com Peaches & Cream £7*

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Right, let’s start by getting the negatives out of the way. There are quite a few so bare with me, and as I’m leaving out the lack of Wi-Fi and the cacophony created by the barman brandishing a cocktail shaker that sounds as though it is filled with rocks and ball bearings that’s saying quite a lot. Firstly – and perhaps most distressingly – there is NO tea. Or coffee. Or hot chocolate. Or any drink that requires the use of a kettle (do they have a kettle in the staff area? They must do. Can I go in there, please? I promise I won’t ransack your Hobnobs). That for me is a very big negative, as my blood runs green with the amount of Twinnings, TeaPigs and Tetleys I sup on a hourly basis. What if I’m cold? Or a member of a latter-day temperance movement? Or a recovering alcoholic shoved off the wagon by a lack of hot water and tea bags? Hipster trendy twonks don’t think that Yorkshire tea is like sooooo yesterday, man, do they? (I don’t know how hipsters talk but I imagine it’s a cross between someone strung out on pot at Woodstock and someone stressing to a friend that their Nespresso pods haven’t been delivered on time) So, no hot beverages: big negative. Second negative, the options for soft drinks are… well, does anyone ever crave ginger beer or a tall glass of strawberry juice to such an extent that they represent the highlights of the soft drinks section of a menu? So, non-alcoholic drinks are a bit thin on the ground. Thirdly, it’s dark. Too-dark-to-read-the-menu dark. So dark that you have to use the light on your phone in order to read the thing, immediately ruining the candlelit atmosphere. We are talking dark. Right, so so far, so disgruntled. Then my dessert – Peaches and Cream – arrives, and I know that my skills as a amature photographer are going to be challenged. Try as I might, whether with flash on, flash off, candles in the background, candles in the foreground, candles to the left of them, candles to the right of them (rode the six hundred. Sorry, couldn’t help myself) every picture from every angle looks like it was taken down an abandoned mineshaft or… well, in a basement. To make matters worse, Diana Ross is singing about coming out as part of the disco soundtrack. Well, my bloody pictures won’t be coming out, Di, but thanks for not harping on about it!

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Normally in times of stress (yep, this is what I consider stressful. Sad, isn’t it?) I would kick back with a nice cup of tea, read for a few minutes and listen to something soothing on my Ipod, Sid Vicious murdering ‘My Way’, for instance, or ‘Vindaloo’ by Fat Les, but all of these options are currently unavailable, so I find myself in the strange position of trying to enjoy a beautiful looking dessert almost out of spite. ‘You better be good!’ I threaten telepathically, stabbing into what appears to be a peach but which is actually a ball of cream dusted orange to impersonate a peach. I am actually angry with a pudding! The adoption of the food blogger/Instragram mindset has clearly addled my brain. I can’t enjoy it because others won’t be able to see me enjoying it, and the post won’t work because the pictures will be naff and no one really wants to read this toss as a substitute for the fabulous pics I’m struggling to take. Then I realise something. It isn’t that I’m not enjoying it because I can’t capture it for posterity. I’m not enjoying it because the dessert consists of balls and dollops and splats of buttercream, and buttercream has always been the first thing I scrape of fairy cakes because the taste does nothing for me and I believe it to be the work of the devil (along with HP sauce and sweet potato mash). Thankfully there is a nice scattering of nuts and biscuits and a delicious scoop of peach sorbet to raise the spirits, but overall my feeling towards this particular experience can be expressed with one emoji: 🤨

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However, once I got over my aversion to any disco music that isn’t Bony M and got used to viewing the world through Stevie Wonder’s eyes, I recognised that Basement Sate is actually a pretty cool place to be. I like the low key exterior; the speakeasy vibe; the gentleman’s club furnishings. It’s a sit back and chill place; a bar that encourages lively chats and conversations, something that will come in handy when you’re coming back from the toilet as you’ll need to follow the braying voice of a companion in order to stumble blindly back to your table. I also like the presentation of the desserts as they are clearly made by creative people who want to impress with their innovative menu. The problem is that there isn’t much substance behind the creativity and taste is taking a backseat to the desire to make a blob of sickly cream look like a peach or a tree or a Orbital Sander. So, overall – and suffering the withdrawal symptoms from going a whole hour without a brew – the only comment that really does my feelings justice is a big, resounding meh. On the bright side, once I stumbled back up to street level and my eyes adjusted to natural light I found that my pictures weren’t such a car crash after all. Behold fake fruit in all its murky glory 🍑

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Feel free to share stories, views and tips in the comments section below. Always fun to hear from fellow teaholics xx

Oh, You Little Teas! – SAID Dal 1923 review– Soho

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SAID Dal 1923

41 Broadwick St
Soho
W1F 9QL
Tel: 02074371584
https://said.it/en/

Strawberries with choice of Chocolate: £9.00*

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Today we are paying a visit to SAID in Soho because… well, because I saw someone else had been and despite my protestations to the contrary it turns out that I am heavily influenced by hype. It wasn’t the reviews so much as the pictures; a vast collection of food porn ranging from chocolate-covered donuts to chocolate-covered waffles to cups of steaming hot chocolate sitting in pools of chocolate with more chocolate oozing downs the sides in a chocolatey flood of chocolatey goodness. To cut a long story short, there’s a lot of chocolate. And there’s a lot of people covered in chocolate. Namely me. I’ve got chocolate down my dress, under my fingernails, around my mouth and all over the table. Strawberries may be an aphrodisiac but not when juice and chocolate is dribbling down your chin and coating the tip of your nose (another reason I don’t share pictures of myself whilst eating, as all too often I look like I’ve fallen head first into a trough).

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I opted for milk chocolate-covered strawberries (dark and white chocolate options also available) as I hoped that the decadence of the chocolate would be offset by the healthiness of the strawberries and this is the best way of getting me to eat fruit voluntarily. At £9.00 for 11 strawberries I’m not going to pretend that this is even remotely reasonable, and the only comfort I could derive from the price was the hope that a bag of Godiva chocolate strawberries would probably cost more if I was ever inclined towards such things (I rarely am. My budget generally runs more to Jaffa Cakes and that’s perfectly fine with me). You are paying for an experience and the Instagram-friendly posts that such places inspire. I am sure the owners are aware of this, and that with such exposure comes an army of other snap-happy chocolate enthusiasts eager to capture a chocolate puddle congeal into a hardened chocolate splat before their zoom lenses, and as such the prices will go up and the need to keep tables turning over quickly will increase and others like myself will be left with a vaguely discontented feeling of having been sold a costly, not-as-unique-as-it-once-was photo op rather than a proper dining experience. This may be true (from my perspective at least. I’m sure others would argue differently but they aren’t here and even if they were it isn’t a debate worth having in the first place), but this doesn’t take away from the fact that the strawberries are lovely, the blackcurrant tea is refreshing, and the cafe itself is comfortable and really rather charming. It just isn’t the sort of place you can imagine ever needing to re-visit once you’ve taken your pictures and garnered the likes you’d hoped for on social media. London is full of places like this, and although I love exploring them and sampling what they have to offer, right now I do have the hallow feeling of being out £12 for something I didn’t know I wanted until someone I didn’t know in the blogosphere said it was amazing and not to be missed. It’s nice, it’s different, but can I honestly recommend that you should head here for anything other than novelty value and a blog post the way I did? Hmmm…🍓

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*Prices/information correct as of 15.09.19

Feel free to share stories, views and tips in the comments section below. Always fun to hear from fellow teaholics xx

Oh, You Little Teas! – God’s Own Junkyard review– Walthamstow

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God’s Own Junkyard

Unit 12, Ravenswood Industrial Estate, Shernhall St,
Walthamstow
E17 9HQ
Tel: 02085218066
http://www.godsownjunkyard.co.uk
Open Friday, Saturday & Sunday only

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Hello fan. A short post from God’s Own Junkyard, the Instagram friendly, hipster-heavy hangout in Walthamstow for those of us who love novelty kitsch and have wondered what the Blackpool illuminations would look like up close and reflected off a sausage roll. I am getting to grips with the camera on my new (painfully expensive) smartphone and logic dictates that the best testing ground would be somewhere buried under flashing lights and neon tubing, and if cake and a good cuppa can be incorporated into the journey then so much the better. God’s Own Junkyard is a fabulously lively place; fun and relaxed with people with piercings and tattoos and little rats tail-type ponytails that the guys rock as though it isn’t the most unattractive fad in the history of male grooming. There are books to peruse, brilliant punk/rock/new wave music blasting from the speakers (‘Teenage Kicks’ double CD compilation. I recognized that The Regents ‘7teen’ was followed by The Lambrettas ‘Posion Ivy’ in the running order. Ask your parents, kids. There’s more out there than Ed Sheeran) and plenty of reasonably priced cake and tea to make a trip here all the more enticing. I highly recommend a warm sausage roll (£2.50 each) and a slice of delicious ‘three milk’ cake (£3.80), though there is alcohol aplenty and a proper afternoon tea option if arranged in advance. A miniature Las Vegas without the misery of actually going to Las Vegas, and worth the money for the Clash/Sex Pistols/X Ray Spex soundtrack alone. A neon paradise 🍰

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Prices/information correct as of 08.09.19

Feel free to share stories, views and tips in the comments section below. Always fun to hear from fellow teaholics xx

Oh, You Little Teas! – Mari Deli Review – Hammersmith

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Mari Deli

1a Eyot Gardens

Hammersmith

W6 9TN

Tel: 020 7041 9251

Warm Chocolate Soufflé with summer berry coulis £4.50*

Almond flavoured petit fours with cherries: £1.20* each

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Hello fan. Two posts in two days. Wow, how blessed you must feel. I know I’d feel giddy if I received two blog posts from me within two days. I crack me up, so I can only imagine how hysterical others must find me. Anyway, today’s post is rather on the brief side (by my standards, at least. I usually ramble in print to such an extent that my readers hope that the lid of my laptop crashes down and breaks all my fingers), but I felt it necessary to share whilst I was in what can only be described as a paroxysm of bliss. Tomorrow I will be setting off on more continent-trotting adventures but while I am packing pants and rolling socks into balls I decided to escape to Mari Delicatessen & Dining, my favourite Italian deli located between Chiswick and Hammersmith on the Thames pathway. I have been a semi-regular here off and on for two years and return often for green tea, delicious lasagna and pistachio cannolis. However, as I am overflowing with Taking Annual Leave cheer and can’t face BA’s online check-in process or filling in luggage labels (pointless as I carry my rucksack with me on-board the aircraft, so if my bag ends up stranded in Kuala Lumpur the chances are high that I’ll be stranded right along with it) I concluded a mozzarella-stuffed lunch with a seemingly simple chocolate soufflé glimpsed whilst I was ordering my tea at the counter. Served warm with a berry coulis and dusted with icing sugar, I knew I was going to enjoy it immensely. Then as I took my first bite and watched a river of thick, rich, gooey chocolate goodness ooze onto the plate I knew I was entering heaven on a cloud of sugar and cocoa. Simply magnificent, and the perfect way to spend a Sunday afternoon before returning home to stuff far-too-short shorts into a travel-bag. Na Shledanou, folks ☕️

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*Prices correct as of the 25.8.19

Feel free to share stories, views and tips in the comments section below. Always fun to hear from fellow teaholics xx

Afternoon Tea at The Drawing Room at Flemings Mayfair Hotel – Mayfair

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The Drawing Room – Flemings Mayfair Hotel Review

7-12 Half Moon St Mayfair London, W1J 7BH

Tel: 020 7499 0000

https://www.flemings-mayfair.co.uk/fine-dining-london/the-drawing-room

The Drawing Room Afternoon Tea: £34.50pp*

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Spontaneity is a good thing. Flying by the seat of your pants. Winging it. Embracing the unexpected. Take today for example. There I was walking along Piccadilly, desperate to spend money on books but trying to keep to a self-imposed budget in order to buy food, water, socks etc. Simultaneously pleased and disappointed at how boringly well-behaved I was being I determined to treat myself to soup and ham and cheese croissants from a well-known coffee outlet whose name rhythms with Caffe Zero. Being told that my soupy substance of choice was off the menu during the summer months (hot food very much a seasonal thing, apparently. Clearly I never got the alert that microwaves were being decommissioned till January) I walked despondently towards nothing, kicking my heels with a empty stomach and no destination in mind. That was until I happened upon Flemings of Mayfair. I don’t know what encouraged me to venture inside. My initial plan was to snuggle in their lounge area, make one pot of tea last three hours and use their Wi-Fi to stream my latest terrible movie of choice (I am one of the 9 people who can now claim to have sat through Movie 43 from beginning to end, heaven help me). But as with most of my ideas I was quickly swept off course into a new and extremely delicious direction.

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The Drawing Room is richly appointed with colonial scenes decorating the walls (tying in with the hotel’s partnership with The East India Company), Assouline books lining the shelves (I’ll bet dollars to donuts that no one as ever opened a single one of them) and plush turquoise sofas beckoning weary customers to collapse into their velvety embrace. I had the lounge all to myself for the first half an hour, only to be disturbed by two men talking incessantly about money and stocks and how much they enjoyed Jordon Belfort’s self-help book on how to pee other people’s money down the toilet as though moral torpor was something to aspire to. They were quickly followed by two American women who ordered the afternoon tea and spent most of it bemoaning the inclusion of bacon in one of the finger sandwiches. I was tempted to suggest a trade between my egg mayonnaise and their BLT but that might have lead to a conversation; not an activity I encourage when food is keeping my mouth busy.

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Because I am winging it/flying by the seat of my pants/living it large etc. pesky matters such as reserving a table in advance has fallen by the wayside. Thankfully this was not an issue and I was still able to make dietary changes to my order to ensure that the dreaded egg option was no more. The sandwich collection consists of chicken with mango dressing, sun-dried tomato and mozzarella, bacon with lettuce and tomato and salmon and cream cheese. Each flavour was exceptional and left me feeling pleasantly full, all washed down with two pots of tea brewed to perfection prior to serving. The first was a caffeine-free Nile Chamomile infusion the colour of sunshine, whilst my second pot came at the recommendation of the hostess, a warm and charming lady whose name now sadly escapes me (apologies for my forgetfulness. For the purposes of informality I will refer to you as Gertrude. Unless your name really was Gertrude. In that case, kudos to me for remembering the little people). She arrived at my table brandishing a mahogany tea caddy the size of a briefcase, happily inviting me to admire and sniff the various loose leaf options available in each lined compartment. I was only too happy to oblige. Afternoon tea is all about luxury and spectacle, so to have a host of exotic tastes and aromas presented for my delectation was a real treat. So caught up was I in Gertie’s obvious enthusiasm for the Lis-Han Oolong tea that to choose anything else would have seemed like a personal insult. She is clearly a woman of good taste, so much so that I would recommend that she stop allowing idiots like me to shorten her made-up name to Gertie because it isn’t a name that does her (or anyone) any justice. The blend is a nutty, smoky infusion with woody undertones that complements the scones perfectly. Two pots of tea are included in the price and allows you to sample different blends that you might otherwise miss if you are like me and tend to stick to green tea because someone once told you it cleared your skin, flushed out your toxins and made you age backwards like Benjamin Button.

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Two warm, perfectly sized scones are served with Chantilly cream and super sweet strawberry jam. They are lovely and the quality of the ingredients is exceptionally high, but when afternoon tea is taken with regularity there comes a point when scones start to feel like the intermission period before the all important second half. Another drawback is that scones, to a greater or lesser extent, all tend to look the same, so from a photographic standpoint the only indication that these scones are different from the others I have eaten is that the pattern of the crockery is different. I may solve this lack of diversity in future posts by drawing tiny penises onto currants whenever I am served a fruit scone, asking fans to count how many they can find in a genital-themed version of Where’s Wally? Where’s Willy, I think I’ll call it. All answers to be submitted by carrier pigeon for the chance to win a pirated copy of ‘Blame it on the Bellboy’ on Betamax.

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Getting back to the matter at hand (‘thank God for that!’ I hear you cry, ‘you don’t get this kind of nonsense on Bake Off, soggy bottoms aside.’) it is time to focus on the true reason that this tea is so special. Yes, the savories are great and the scones are all that a good scone should be, but they are left in the shade by the intriguing collection of desserts and petit fours that take pride of place on this impressive stand. They are a winning mix of modern art and Victorian sitting room. I find myself in a state of wonderment trying to capture their beauty and craftsmanship from different angles, hoping against hope that the ingenuity of their design will be matched by the taste.

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Firstly there is a chocolate and passion fruit slice, a light, flavourful dessert with a zingy ganache topping. This is followed by a fluffy pavlova filled with raspberry and rose coulis, so delicate that it fell apart between my fingers when I tried to pick it up. Then comes the rhubarb and ginger compote – just the right side of tart – complete with a creamy custard foam. The Thai basil and lime macaroon was, from my perspective, a adventurous combination of flavours that won me over and left me wanting more. This view however was not shared by one of the American women at the table opposite. She tasted her own macaroon, made the face of a bulldog chewing an entire nest of wasps, swore under her breath and promptly spat the masticated macaroon into a napkin with as much grace as was possible given the sacrilege she was committing. I watched this scene of culinary carnage whilst nibbling on a elderflower and marmalade cone, essentially a fun-sized Cornetto balanced inside a miniature teacup. I might be illegally streaming cinematic stink bombs and wearing the kind of outfit you’d throw on when putting out the bins on collection day, but at least I wasn’t gobbing into a tissue and declaring that the hotel could shove its 12.5% surcharge where the roses don’t grow. By comparison I was Grace Kelly, Audrey Hepburn and Kate Middleton all rolled into one. That’s got to be worth thirty-odd quid of anyone’s money.

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Service: 5/5

Surroundings: 4.5/5

Savory selection: 4.5/5

Scones: 4.5/5

Dessert selection: 5/5

Verdict: Elegant, unique and imaginative. 5/5 teacups

*Prices correct as of 24.08.19

Feel free to share stories, views and tips in the comments section below. Always fun to hear from fellow teaholics xx