Tucked in the back of a small shopping center, in the corner of a building, next to an antiques and collectibles mall, is the Best of British Tea Room.
The building is unassuming, and the tea room can be easily missed due to the older style building and location if one is not familiar with the location. However, once you know it is there you can’t miss it. My husband discovered Best of British by accident when he was playing a gig at the entertainment venue housed in the same building.
Since Easter and April Fool’s Day coincided this year, Best of British had a White Rabbit Empire Tea, based on Alice in Wonderland. Even though the tea room regularly offers Empire Tea, we decided this one would have an extra detail of fun.
Sally McSweeney and Elizabeth Thompson are the owners of Best of British. Both women were raised in England and then immigrated to the USA as adults. Their full stories are on the Best of British website.
We had the opportunity to meet Ms. Thompson during our tea time. She is a jovial spirit and appears to love a good laugh. Her upbeat personality makes visiting with her a pleasure. The website says she “adopted the culture of wherever my dancing shoes took me.” Given her laughter, and keen ability to make her customers feel at home in her tea room, that statement shines through as a perfect description of her.
Tea Emporium & Shop
The tea room was opened in April of 2017 and will be celebrating its one year anniversary on 8 April 2018, per the conversation we had with Ms. Thompson during our tea time. As mentioned above, the Best of British is in an unassuming building. The building looks more like a warehouse, or old supermarket, than a place where a tea room would reside. However, once you find the tea room, you can’t miss it. The white, silky curtains that adorn the window sashes, and the myriad of tea accessories in the window displays, let you know you are in the right place.
The entrance takes you into the tea room foyer where there are unique and attractive displays of tea cups on a tree and an electric fireplace adorned with tiered displays and themed decorations.
There are multiple tables in the seating area that can be joined, or separated, to accommodate the varying group sizes that come for tea. Every table is draped with a colorful table linen and has tea place settings already in place along with a hors d’oeuvre plate topped with a napkin.
There is also a cozy corner near the back of the tea room, by the windows, where one can cozy up into a high back chair next to another fireplace and take in the ambiance.
Towards the back of the tea room is the retail shop. The shop has an assortment of British goods along with tea cups and kettles, charming glassware, and a jewelry display case filled with vintage and new watches, mini clocks, jewelry, and other unique and one-of-a-kind accessories.
White Rabbit Empire Tea (Afternoon Tea)
Our afternoon tea began with being seated at a table for two. It was adorned with two place settings for tea, Easter napkins, and a tin of their special teas.
Upon being seated, Ms. Thompson described the three teas they had available so we could choose the one we desired to try. We selected to try the Lewis Carrol’s Black Tea Blend from the Literary Tea Collection by Simpson & Vail.
After selecting our tea (you can each have a different one) they prepared it and brought a tea pot, wrapped in a cute cozy, to our table. Since we selected one tea we were brought one pot, but each customer will receive their own pot of tea if they select different teas to drink.
The first course served was the savory treats. On the top tier were Deviled Eggs, Creamed Potatoes and Mini Beef Pies.
The second tier had tiny, tea sandwiches in Curried Chicken, Cucumber, Ham, and Lox and mini quiches.
They wait until you are entirely done with the first course before serving the second, which was the bread course. Since this was a cross between an Easter and an Alice in Wonderland Tea they served Hot Cross Buns with Victoria Plum Jam.
The final course was dessert. This was the showstopper for us, personally. A few of the treats were almost too delightful and elegant to eat, but that didn’t stop us. The dessert course had mini Blueberry Cheesecakes, Raspberry Cream Tartlets, Carrot Cake, Macarons, Peanut Butter & Chocolate Millionaire Bars, Bunny Fruit Preserve Pies, and Alice in Wonderland Pocket Watch Clock Cookies.
They provide little to go bags if you are unable to finish everything on the platters. After tea we made sure to peruse the fares for sale in the retail shop while we prepared to pay. (The register is in the back.)
Best of British is a quaint tea room where you can relax and enjoy a nice cup of tea (or “a cuppa” as they say) and get a taste of Britain. They have customers who come “as they are” and others who “dress for the occasion.” Either way you dress you will feel welcome. We were impressed that they staggered the reservations so they could ensure quality and attentive service to each party. The day we were there the staff consisted of one of the owners and an assistant.
The themed, Empire tea was nicely done, as the owners acquired unique food fare for the menu.
They went to great detail to emulate the Alice in Wonderland tea party atmosphere.
If you want just a taste of Britain they offer small bites on the savory side and sweet side. Their Empire Teas do require a reservation. If you want a quiet place to have “a cuppa” and British fare, the Best of British Tea Room will not disappoint.
They also carry fun, British items in their store that would make unique gifts or an addition to one’s home decor.
To find out more about the Best of British Tea Room, or to make reservations, you can find them here.