Orange Pekoe, an independent establishment, is situated in Barnes Village near the river, a short bus ride from Richmond Station, with several routes serving it. It’s also on a direct train line from Waterloo, with a journey time of twenty minutes.
The tearoom: Celebrating ten years in business in 2016, the tearoom has become something of a local landmark, prominently positioned near Barnes Bridge on White Hart Lane. At the front is a retail section where all their quality teas and coffees are sold and then it’s through to three small rooms. I was in the conservatory, with a glass roof flooding the room with light. Wooden floors and well spaced chunky wooden tables and chairs completed the streamlined but welcoming look.
The tea: Majoring in carefully sourced leaf tea, the staff are knowledgeable about their product. From a wide range, one could choose from a huge variety of leaf teas. They also serve very good coffee and have trained baristas.
The food: The tea was served on a two-tier rack. Ingredients mostly come from quality locally sourced suppliers.
Price: Afternoon Tea is £20.95 per person.
Other options: Prosecco is offered at £6.95 per glass. Or half a bottle of house Champagne is £25 with a full bottle £35.
Dietary requests: With 24-hour notice, gluten-free, dairy free and paleo diets (no sugar or dairy, no preservatives or artificial additives) can be catered for.
Times: 2pm to 4.30pm daily.
I was offered a glass of Prosecco on arrival and when I declined, I was offered a glass of sparkling elderflower instead. I know Luscombe products and the bubbly was indeed delicious. I thought it was a nice touch to offer an alternative. I tried the black spice festive tea that was warming and flavourful and then switched to Earl Grey to cleanse my palate to taste the food. Pretty bone china crockery has been chosen to complement the wonderful teas. As well as black teas, there are green teas, white teas, herbal teas and Rooibos, all with detailed descriptions, or you can ask the staff if you need help choosing. Some herbal teas are served in glass so you can appreciate them more.
The afternoon tea consists of five fingers of sandwich, a plain or sultana scone with jam and clotted cream and a choice of cake, together with your choice of tea.
The food was brought on a two-tier plate. Sandwiches were interesting: in particular, the unpeeled cucumber with fresh mint leaves on white bread, and cream cheese with chargrilled red pepper on brown were both delicious. Other options could include honey roast ham or gravadlax. I was told to let them know when I was ready to eat my scone, so they could heat it up. On being told this, I quizzed the waitress. Microwave re-heated cakes and puddings are my bête noir. She assured me it would be reheated in an oven. And so it was. Perfectly warm and superb – an outside crispy crust and crumbly middle – obviously made that day. It was the best scone I have tasted this year. It was only let down slightly by the jam, which I would have preferred to be of better quality – it was too sweet and didn’t taste much of strawberries.* The clotted cream was spot on, however. Ploughing on, I tried the lemon drizzle cake. (Other choices that day were gluten-free brownie, ginger or chocolate.) It was light and fluffy and pleasingly lemony – another triumph.
It was busy when I was there, but service was attentive. There is a laid back atmosphere here – one is not rushed – which is quite important when enjoying an afternoon tea. I’d certainly recommend this place.
*The owner had since told me that they had been having problems with their jam supplier when I visited and have now switched to another brand.
More details here.