Saturday, 13 June 2015

A Cup of Tea (and No Cake)

This post is rather overdue. I went to Blackbird Tea Rooms with a daytripping friend and her housemate back in May (the same day as we had a trayload of Full English at Caffe Aldo).
However, I was in two minds as to whether to post about this cute, vintage-styled tea room, as I didn't eat anything here.
Unfortunately, we picked the wrong time to go in - just over an hour before closing time, on a Saturday - and our visit was disappointing. 

The tea room was packed, but we were invited to sit out in the garden area, which is very quaint and pretty!
But then we waited 10-15 minutes for menus, and probably just as long to give our orders (meanwhile, the people on the next table were tucking in and we were eyeing their scones hungrily!)

Seeing the mess on the table behind ours was equally hunger-inducing--someone obviously had a fantastic afternoon tea!

Eventually we did get our order taken, but the server had to run back and forth a few times to get answers to questions: one of my companions wanted to know what the soup was, another wanted to know if a particular cake had any fruit in it. Turned out they'd stopped serving hot food 30 minutes ago, and yes, there was fruit. Cue everyone changing their orders!
Except me. I saw the option of Cream Tea and knew what I was going for!

...unfortunately the tea room had run out of scones. So no cream tea for me.
None of the cakes on the menu really appealed, so I plumped for the tea on its own.

The tea was probably the tea room's saving grace: proper loose leaf tea, with wonderful flavour!

It was our server's first weekend at the tea room, and they'd certainly been thrown in at the deep end. They also forgot to bring a fork for one person's cake, got part of our order wrong, and charged us for food and drink we didn't have. This can be forgiven, because if I'd been working that job at that pace all day, I'd have been crying in the toilets by the end of lunch!

Speaking of the toilet, I snapped a couple of shots of the cabinets on the wall of their outside loo, which continued the tea room's vintage theme...

This unit was over the sink, filled with old product packaging. Isn't it cute?

Another little display case on the wall, and more interesting objects from the past!

Although the decor itself was lovely, and apparently the cake was 'okay', I found this visit really disappointing, especially since it's been recommended to me so many times.
It was also frustrating because being the local, I was the one who suggested we went there! I left feeling that I'd let my friends down.

On the positive side, when we brought up our incorrect bill, someone fixed it for us, and didn't charge for our tea. It looked as though their system was messing around, which I guess explained why our bill was wrong!

Nothing about this trip could fairly be faulted once all the problems were explained away; it's clearly a popular place to go and the staff couldn't have been more helpful. It's just unfortunate that we went in at a time when they were so busy!

I might go there again, but only if it looks quiet. If I ever manage to get that cream tea (or better yet, afternoon tea) I'll blog about it here!

Since I did at least drink something here - and the tea was proper tea, rather than a cheap teabag slung in a pot of hot water - I'm counting this towards one of my goals:
036. Eat/drink in 30 new places (cafes, restaurants, food stands…)
Here's hoping that next time, I can eat there too!

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