Friday, July 15, 2011

The secret tea room

I've heard of geurilla gardening, but this was the first guerilla tea party I had ever heard of!

I received an invite from the Secret Tea Room and myself, and quite a few others, were given a rendevouz point (outside the Zest cafe on site) and arrival time. At the duly appointed 5.45pm a few individuals started to gather in the square as the light finally warmed the concrete squares that had been so shadowed by the clouds all day. And then I saw someone I know with a box full of plates. I followed!

Into the building - signs saying 'this way, shhh!' appropriately positioned along the route. I followed the box of plates and the signs until reaching a cozy common room. Lights low, soft 20's style music playing on the gramophone (well, ipod really), and coffee tables decked in white, lace, and with tiered cake stands laden with delectables.

One table held the most marvellous looking carrot cake - huge, square, moist, decked with icing and crushed nuts. Another held neat little sandwiches, filled with cucumber, cheese and qunice jelly. The scones were given pride of place with cream and jam as standard bearers, whilst fresh strawberries added a blazen of rich colour to the delicious scene. Pure white fresias, gently drooping on green stems, bowed to the scene.

A teapot bedecked in a colourful knitted cosy, complete with china lady, sat plumply expectant next to the crockery, awaiting the infusion and preparing to delighted the now-gathered company. A blend of special teas, served from the pot with a strainer.

From just 8 months old and squirming to dignified 70s, young and old, men and women, faces from around the world gathered to chat and 'take tea' in the old English manner. A delightful and enchanting evening, where the home-baked food surpassed visual anticipation and the company was varied and stimulating.

I do hope there is another one before I leave this wonderful and surpising place. And I wonder if I can track down the remains of that delicious carrot cake today?

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