Sunday, 8 August 2010

Dotting the i's and crossing the teas

I don't often venture out to the wild west of Chiswick and rarely visit landscaped gardens but this week made an exception to see the new cafe at Chiswick House

You're probably looking at the pic on the left thinking that I've uploaded the wrong photo but actually no, this is the new cafe that opened on 1 Feb 2010, designed by architects Caruso St John (who I am assured are big in the world of architects) and is run by Company of Cooks

What's great is that it has plenty of seating, inside and out, and even outside under a jutting piece of roof to keep you sheltered from the elements. And combined with the surrounding gardens and free (yes really) parking, it's an unexpectedly good location.

The cafe has a simple food offer with good value stews (just £5-£5.50) and toasted sandwiches leading the way with a good selection of British produce sprinkled across the menu. I thought the stew might be just gravy and bits of carrot at that price so was pleasantly surprised to see a good mix of chunks of chicken, big shallots and  other veg. Gravy could have been a bit thicker though to make it less 'soupy'.

So everything was going swimmingly well for Chiswick House cafe until the fateful moment we ordered a cup of tea. You would expect such a cafe to offer a good range of afternoon teas and to take a bit of pride in what they do but no, the pictures speak for themselves - this was British tea served at its very worst with the cheapest teapots, grubby teacups and soggy teabags. At least they didn't put out UHT milk portions.

I'm really quite impressed at the teapot as it's been a while since I've since anything quite so revolting.

They must have spent a fortune on the architects - surely they can get some decent teapots!

So I'm on a mission to do something about the state of tea in London - and I'll tell you some more over the coming weeks...

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