You may be surprised to know I also eat them. A lot. Not to the point that I almost too big to fit through the door of my local bakers, but to the extent that if I was filling in one of those forms which asked for my hobbies, afternoon tea would come pretty near the top. And it doesn’t just have to be in the afternoon. I’m not ashamed to say I’ve eaten cake for breakfast before, and damn right I’d do it again!
So, with the 4th and final day of a great jubilee bank holiday weekend, I went into Nottingham city centre to meet some friends to partake it said afternoon tea hobby. At 10.30 in the morning. We were sat out the front of an Italian, having a drink and a cake, and people watching. About an hour in I noticed something behind my friends head that I’d not seen before. My excited squawk was so high pitched that probably only dogs could understand it. A. TEA. ROOM. About 5 metres from where we were sat!
What you have to realise is that tea rooms in Nottingham are 1) few and far between, 2) normally very busy and difficult to get a seat, 3) mostly closed on bank holidays, and 4) end up selling out or shutting down just when it becomes your new favourite place.
Finishing at the Italian we gave into our urges and went to explore the intriguingly named Thea Caffea – from the street you really could have no idea what would be inside – just a couple of simple wall signs and an a-frame to tell it was “now open”, flanked by a newsagent to the left, and a cobbler to the right:
But my how we weren’t disappointed! Even before we’d walked through the front door we were in awe! How could this amazing space exist at the back of such a busy street, with hundreds of shoppers walking past every hour completely unawares??
Inside it was like a fantastic retro tardis – tables, chairs, cakes and chandeliers stretching as far back as we could see.
The furniture was simple but elegant, interspersed with wide ferns, vintage photographs of Nottingham, and an amazing piano in the back corner.
When we finally quelled our excitement enough to take a seat, the menus were no less delightful. A fantastic selection of fresh leaf teas, breakfasts, sandwiches, daily specials and of course the homemade cakes we’d already eyed up on the way in.
The tea was served in beautiful bone china pots, cups and saucers, and even the table centres were in matching little china tea cups!
My choice of a cream tea (scone with jam & cream plus pot of tea) was certainly a good one – it looked and tasted delicious! Made the ‘proper’ way of course… jam first and then cream, although certain friends would disagree…
We got chatting to the owner, and quickly established they’d only been open a week! Up until about 6 months ago, the very space where we were sat had been a derelict outside space, behind the back of some offices and flats. She and her builder husband had seen the potential of the space in such a prime location, and built the back section with the fantastic glass skylights to let daylight streaming in.
So my review – a hearty recommendation! The place looked great, staff were brilliant, tea tasty and cakes yummy! It will definitely become one of our new favourites – and hopefully will stick around for a while, as only a week in and it already had a good stream of customers through the door.
Their website is advertised on their menus but at the time of writing this it doesn’t seem to be up and running yet – www.theacaffea.co.uk – here’s hoping it will be soon so you can all have a peek at our fantastic find!
They do have a Thea Caffea facebook page setup with a few photos and you can send them a message about their yummy cakes too!
For those of you lucky enough to be near Nottingham and fancy a visit, it’s on Low Pavement, just down from Jamie’s Italian and Paul Smith – if you get to Paperchase you’ve gone too far. Let me know what you think!
A bank holiday well spent- I hope you’d agree. Not the best of photos (the humidity has played utter havoc with my hair) – but nevertheless – my best friend Matt and I very much enjoying our tea :-)