7th May 2023
Each month, our food writer Bibi Roy reviews a TN partner to see what members can expect when they visit. This time she heads to The Earl Grey Tea Rooms in Southborough, where Roz thanks members for supporting local with 10% off their food and drink.
The Earl Grey Tea Rooms are situated on the main run to Southborough just near Hythe Close. You may have listened to Roz’s story on the TN talks podcast recently recorded with Jess. If not, check it out here, it’s a corker.
Opened in 2017, Roz and her team have gained a huge following from locals and patrons far and wide. Why you ask, just talk to anyone here and they will rave about the place. Incidentally it is full to the brim, in fact people book to ensure they get a seat and I see they are dog friendly too. I really feel businesses in Southborough embrace community hubs. Lots of smiling faces and catch-ups going on here, I love it.
As well as specials and drinks menus on framed blackboards, their regular menu includes an array of breakfasts, (veggie too), hot sandwiches, pancakes, toasted bagels and rye, thick cut and toasted sandwiches for lunch and jacket potatoes.
Cream teas have a choice of two scones, (plain or fruit) and loose leaf, yes loose leaf tea by Mr Ames. Afternoon Tea served on a proper China three tier has a choice of finger sandwiches, fresh scones with jam and clotted cream and a large slice of cake. Yes indeed you don’t have to blink, I am of course ordering the big one. They proudly display their China in a pretty glass cabinet with cloched cakes atop and there is the cutest dingaling old fashioned phone that rings as I sit down, proper old school.
I hear brilliant things about Rusbridge Family Bakery based five minutes away. Roz sources her bread, scones and rolls from them and I have to say they are excellent. Francesca at “Too busy to make”, has been supplying her cakes, chutneys and preserves for five years and they are the lightest, fluffiest treats one can wish for.
On the bottom tier, I choose Coronation Chicken. I can have one of six of the usual classics, like smoked salmon and horseradish mayonnaise, ham and mustard and cream cheese and cucumber etc, but I decide to start His Majesty’s celebrations early. I like that the sandwich is half white, half brown, the filling is succulent and importantly the bread is super fresh. Nobody likes stale sandwiches and these are superior to many I have eaten in London’s finest.
The scone is floaty light. It holds its own and doesn’t fall apart when you load it with clotted cream, (first) and jam. I can’t do fruit in scones, I always think it interferes with the flavour of the jam, but you may feel differently. There are lots of fresh strawberries on the top two tiers, a nice touch as it gives my palate a cleanse whilst not taking too much sweetness away. Roz gives me a hot water top up for my Earl Grey before over-brewing takes place and my tongue gets that strange numbness. I can drink EG all day. Twinnings is the one in my pot which I like because they never overdo the bergamot, but you can also have Taylor’s and if coffee is preferred then Bean Smitten provide.
The Cherry Bakewell cake is superb. It has all the right elements with fresh cherries making a huge difference to the filling. It’s decidedly generous, gone in seconds as one would expect.
As I leave the room is still full, tables have been turning throughout my visit, the girls gliding around without a single sign of stress. Takeaway boxes are asked for and I have to stop myself from doing the same. I’ll be back without a doubt, this has been an exceptional experience. The party of twenty booked in thinks so too. I will most certainly be arranging some girly gatherings here, what a treat for all.
Thank you Roz for a marvellous High Tea. I can’t wait to return!
Members receive 10% discount at The Earl Grey Tea Rooms as a reward for supporting local. Details here.