No Consideration for Dieting Food Bloggers

A review of Royal Teas, Greenwich.

Royal teas has always sounded like an intriguing name for a vegetarian cafe. The ‘royal’ bit, yep well it is located on Royal Hill, the teas bit, yep full of teas (more about that later) but the combination of royal and teas sounds like a cream tea destination, and yes it does do cream tea… which is vegetarian…. But it isn’t Vegetarian (that’s a capital ‘V’ there just in case it’s too early in the morning to tell) in the way that is indicative of the aubergine hanging over the words Royal Teas on the logo. Get what I’m saying?

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You know what else? Being located very close to my beloved Buenous Ares cafe, It has taken me 11 years of Greenwich, Blackheath living to get thought the front door. This is not just because the Argentinian location is definitely not vegetarian, but that it has cake and a sofa that I know about.

There were some fabulous looking all day breakfast options, including an Americana tortilla of beans and cheese and eggs. My only reason for passing this by, was that I had already had 2 eggs for breakfast.

We ordered smoked salmon baguette,

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houmous and crudities and deep fried halloumi.

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Where are we on deep fried halloumi? My personal opinion is that cheese is mostly fat, so putting extra fat on the outside can’t really change that too much. Have a smaller piece if it bothers you? We had a long wait for both of these items, but they were delivered with the most gorgeous fresh and colourful salad, which given the affordability of the meal was impressive.

The lapsang souchong we ordered along side was very watery to the extent I could taste water more that I could taste lapsang. Tea should never taste of water right? One might consider its ability to make water taste of something other than water to bite the raison d’être of tea. The charming proprietor balked not at actually opening a new packet for us, from which new cups were filled.

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And here is the best part: A Cake Filing System.

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What a great way to showcase cake! Especially in a quaint cottage interior like this one. I want one of these built into my quaint cottage rectory fields. I might have to throw out the washing machine to make room for it, but it needs no plumbing.

We went for ginger cake. This was full of dried fruit and was unexpectedly offered hot with ice cream. The heat made the ginger creep into your nose (this was a good thing). Despite sharing we were given 2 scoops of ice cream (no consideration for dieting food bloggers), which seemed to me to be dairy vanilla, but to my husband clotted cream. Enlightenment welcome.

Royal Teas
76 Royal Hill, SE10

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The window experience differs depending where you sit.

A review of cream tea at the Clarendon, SE3

You’ll have seen the Clarendon. It’s that impressive Georgian hotel right on top of the Heath. Looks like you’d have to be a millionaire to stay there right up until you see the room prices

The Clarendon has been branching out lately: jazz nights, afternoon tea. I approve of all of this, it’s bars and restaurants are always on the quiet side and the rest of the village can be a struggle to find anywhere to sit- especially for a genuinely quiet drink and chat on a Saturday evening…. If a little clincal.

This visit was to investigate the afternoon tea. Also reasonably priced at 12.90 per person – non sparkling (the tea menu, that is, not the person. Both my husband and I are very sparkling thank you very much). And they have “load of teas” according to the enthusiastic waitress, “absolutely loads”. English breakfast, Earl Grey an and loads of fruit teas to go with our “grub” . Lapsang? Oh she’s heard of that one from Costa, but the Clarendon is not as exciting as Costa.

Now aside from her tea expertise, I’d like to add that this waitress deserves a paragraph in her own right for being switched on to customer needs. She gave us the window table (definitely the best table in the hotel… I’ll come back to that), but then had the wherewithal to go and check first if she should close the window, and whether the table was too cold. How many better meals in my life would I have had if they had not been spent shivering?

The window experience differs depending where you sit. If you face the window, you get the vista of the heath, framed by a book case of heritage titles. If you face the restaurant, you look at the shabby navy curtain separating the rooms and keep wincing with the thought that surely it couldn’t be too expensive could it just be to buy new ones from eBay. It just seems so rude to such an elegant building.

Afternoon tea arrived with the standard supply of sandwiches, scones and cake. Oh, and tea, Darjeeeling from Twinings- a basic model for success unless you want to offer a seat of your pants teatime experience). The sandwiches of ham, salmon and egg were in brown bread which surprised us, and the scones too had a golden hue- very different from the bleached white picture in the advertisement. And everything had fresh strawberries scattered over it- a nice touch, as were the attention to detail of removing the crusts, and the fact that every ingredient was notably fresh to the extent that you commented on it. There had been no attempt to hide slightly aged cucumber in the salmon sandwiches. There had been an attempt to hide margarine in the ham sandwiches, with the use of mustard. This wasn’t entirely unsuccessful, but why would any self respecting restaurabter ever cond themselves having to hide margarine? At least stale food started off fresh.

The golden scones were delicious. Really so, fresh and warm and crumbling. I had to ask what made them different, and received the reply that they were really were normal scones but had sultanas in them. Who’d’ve thought it sultana’s in scones? (We had the suspicion that a brown sugar had been used instead of white, but are otherwise at a loss for the difference in flavour and taste).

Clotted cream came in mini jam pots which raised suspicions but it was faultless and there were no dodgy substances in the ingredients list, perhaps clotting was a process to preserve cream anyway? Portions of jam and cream were a little on the mean side. The mini fruit tarts were the only disappointment. Defrosted, or just out of the refrigerator and hence lined with cold custard. We should talk about this sometime- he appropriateness of custard in all fruit tarts. The exotic looking mini cakes on the flyer, coated in chocolate they were not. I don’t mind missing those by the way, they’ve being touted everywhere. Anyway, by this stage in anybody’s afternoon teas I have moved from needing something to soak up the tea to something with which to wash all the food down.

I’d call it a good value and good quality afternoon tea. Is good value what afternoon tea is supposed to be?

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