Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Canterbury: Tiny Tim's Tearoom

Situated on the sunny side of St. Margarets Street in Canterbury this is a tearooms I have known about and walked past for years but have never felt I had an occasion to try it out. Viewed amongst my friends as the holy grail of tearooms in Canterbury we excitedly queued for a seat before being led to a small table at the back.

Tiny Tim's Tearooms is a family run business and first impressions are great, pretty window boxes, smart black exterior with cute bay trees guarding the entrance. It almost feels like your walking into the tearooms in Dad's Army, old fashioned but with the prim and proper service of that era. All staff are smartly dressed and there are a lot of them scurrying up and down the stairs, busy clearing tables and serving. 1940s swing style music gently warbles away in the background as we make our minds up as to what to order.


Lots of lovely cakes displayed on glass stands line the counter and I would have liked to have spent a few minutes checking them out but we were whisked off to a seat pretty quickly. Busy with tourists having afternoon tea, we absorbed the possible menu options whilst having a peek at what everyone else had. I decided on the Kentish Cream Tea whilst he went for a cheese scone with local apple juice. 

We sat at a little plastic topped table on comfy wicker chairs near the rear windows. Garden seating was also available and proving popular in the sunny weather which had the staff constantly peering out the window by our table to keep a watch. The atmosphere on our visit was rather flat, it almost feels like being in a restaurant, very formal and serious. It lacks the homely feel of say Pegotty's in Tenterden or The Cobbles Tearoom in Rye.

My tea was lovely and refreshing, the teapot giving just about two cups unlike at Pegottys where we had way bigger teapots for one. My tea was loose leaf Assam Dikom Estate whilst he had a Kent apple juice, both lovely and refreshing. All crockery is chunky and white with real flowers on all tables.

My Kentish Tea arrived displayed on a metal stand with scones as big as my face (well almost!) along with tiny dishes of strawberry jam and clotted cream nestled on top. First off I tackled the warm fruit scone, smothering it in jam and nearly all of the cream. My first mouthfall was somewhat disappointing, an over crunchy outer almost biscuit like with not very fluffy innards. No way as good as the scones we have had at Peggotys, Edith's House or Mrs Jones Kitchen. This Afternoon Tea is also the most expensive at £7.50 for two scones and small pot of tea compared with Mrs Jones Kitchen where you can get a platter of finger sandwiches and scones for £6.50. I was so full after the first scone I couldn't finish the plain scone and he was so full too after the cheese scone he couldn't help me out.

The loos are located up these gorgeous creaky wooden stairs which take you past the baking hot kitchen. Claiming to be the most haunted building in Canterbury, it certainly has character with many period features and a ghost room explaining the buildings history.

The Verdict?
Lovely staff, clean and well organised shop layout but on our visit the scones were a let down. This appeals to a lot of tourists seeking the quaint English Afternoon Tea experience and for them it is perfect although pricey. A great menu selection from breakfasts to lunches and loads of cakes and bakes all cooked on site by the chef. They try to use as many local ingredients and products from Kent as possible which is great but having experienced better quality afternoon tea elsewhere we wouldn't be coming back for that. The cakes and savoury lunch menu deserves another visit though so watch this space! 

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