Whitstable has a very English seaside charm about it which draws us back time and again. The selection of independent shops selling clothes, gifts and food are a refreshing change from the modern high street experience. It was on a particularly hot and humid day that I popped into town for some gift shopping and managed to squeeze in a quick pit stop at Tea & Times.
Situated along the High Street on the North side out of the sun, it was a welcoming cool and airy spot to have a quick cup of tea. Painted in a royal blue with vintage looking sign writing, it looks a friendly and relaxing non pretentious place. Seating is available in the window or upstairs in the spacious cafe area.
Snaring one of the well used tables and chairs behind the huge floor to ceiling windows, I grabbed a newspaper and ordered a builders tea. This is a place where you can sit and read without feeling out of place, just don't think the reading materials are free though! The best table is upstairs in the first floor window but this is usually always taken.
Being tight on time and loose change I could only peruse the food menu with lust, sandwich fillings galore along with some great looking cake chalked up on a huge blackboard. All reasonably priced and homemade, there was also a good selection of teas and espresso based drinks on offer. I didn't have to wait long from my brew to turn up and sipped whilst reading for a good 15 minutes. It would have been nice to have had a teapot for one, but the tea was served already brewed with milk added in a rather dirty white chunky mug. It may have been an off day but I wasn't that impressed, I felt like I could have been in a truck cafe.
This place reminds me of The Apothecary in Rye, but Tea & Times is a little grubbier. Both have a feeling of being well lived in with lovingly worn chairs and tables along with original features such as this super stained glass window in the background. Both have huge wooden counters which feel like they have been there serving thirsty and peckish customers over the centuries. Large globe lights hang from the tall ceiling creating a subdued but relaxing light. The service is much more friendly and professional in The Apothecary however.
An OK spot to enjoy a cup of tea whilst reading the paper. Service was quick, prices on par with other cafes in Whitstable along with a very laid back atmosphere. The rather surly staff who seemed more interested in gossip than being polite to their customers let the experience down and I wouldn't come back.
36a High Street