Tea for you and me

Join me on my epic quest to find the best tea ever


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Wally’s Kaffehaus

Wally’s Delicatessen, 38-46 Royal Arcade, Cardiff, Wales, CF10 1AE.

Visited on: Sunday 26th March 2017

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Tea and teapots at Wally’s Kaffehaus (I was trying to illustrate the different sizes of pots, but apparently I’ve failed miserably as the perspective makes them seem roughly the same size).

R and I were visiting Cardiff and wanted somewhere to go for a nice cafe lunch. We came across Wally’s Kaffehaus in one of the arcades and decided to give it a try. Well, to be fair, we came across Wally’s Delicatessen and I saw the sign in the window for the Kaffehaus upstairs and we looked at the menu and decided to try it.

It only occurs to me now that once again I picked somewhere with coffee in the name, but luckily Wally’s Kaffehaus bucked the trend and also served good tea.

I had a most marvellous rooibos tea and R had Japanese Sencha. He even ordered a large pot (that the waiter said was big enough for two) because he really wanted a lot of peppermint tea. The tea was loose leaf and rather nice. I hadn’t read the menu properly and asked for milk with mine, only to find that it was delicately spiced and fruity and didn’t need milk. Most refreshing.

The food was really good. Wally’s Kaffehaus is a Viennese Kaffehaus and has lots of Austrian food. R had a sausage mixed platter (three different sausages with mustard, curry ketchup and rye bread) and I had a Styria open sandwich with the most ham in one sandwich I have ever had. It also came with cheese, pickles and mustard on rye bread and a side of delicious potato salad (all the more impressive as I don’t particularly like potato salad).

A most satisfying lunch and tea experience, with the added bonus of looking out onto the arcade of shops below. Worth a visit if you’re ever in Cardiff.

  • Teapot? Yes.
  • Leaf tea? Loose leaf tea and a teapot shaped saucer thing to put your infuser basket on once the tea was the desired strength.
  • Milk jug? Yes (not that I needed it).
  • Price? £2.10 for my small pot of tea, £3.50 for the big one, £5.95 for the sausage platter and £6.75 for the sandwich.
  • Cake? Yes and sandwiches and hot food and nice looking biscuits. I really wanted some cake, but that sandwich was quite filling.
  • Go again? Yes, I had serious food jealousy the whole time we were there and now I want to go back try everything else on the menu (including the cake).

 

 

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Zooby’s

Units 4 & 5, Winter Garden, Surrey Street, Sheffield, South Yorkshire, S1 1LH.

Visited on: Saturday 12th November 2016

 

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The view from our table, looking up into the plants and the arched glass roof.

The Winter Garden in Sheffield is an indoor garden, housed inside a huge arched glasshouse. It’s a nice place to be and, obviously, an even better place to be if there’s tea. Zooby’s is a cafe inside the Winter Garden, with some chairs and tables next to some of the planting.

After the disappointment of Manchester cafes not wanting to sell me rooibos (hibiscus being the ‘in’ thing), it was a welcome surprise to see that Zooby’s not only sold rooibos, it was listed on the menu as a separate category (instead of being lumped in with ‘selection of herbal teas’). I ordered a large cup for the very reasonable price of £1.70.

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My large rooibos tea at Zooby’s.

  • Teapot? No.
  • Leaf tea? No, but a very nice Clipper teabag.
  • Milk jug? No, but they added milk for you so none of those tiny plastic pots. Though the cups were takeaway cups (understandable in a garden cafe) and I unfortunately I didn’t have my re-usable cup with me.
  • Price? £1.70 for a large cup of rooibos tea, £1.60 for a large filter coffee and the bargain price of £1 for a small tea or small filter coffee.
  • Cake? Yes and flapjacks, crips and sandwiches.
  • Go again? Yes, it’s a lovely setting. Next time I’ll try and bring my re-usable cup.


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Sourced Market, Marylebone

68-72 Wigmore Street, London, W1U 2SD.

Visited on: 24th October 2016.

 

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Rooibos tea in a pot at Sourced Market, with milk in a bottle and a glass of water. Apologies for forgetting to take a photo of the tea once it was poured out.

Oxford Street can be very busy, but if you go through the tiny gap into St Christopher’s Place and out the other side, you come to Sourced Market.

Sourced Market has two locations: St Pancras International and Marylebone. The Marylebone location is a two storey cafe and bar, which also has some expensive but lovely looking food and drink for sale. There’s seating upstairs and downstairs and though it looked busy from the outside, there were lots of spaces once you were inside. The upstairs has a cafe counter, a sandwich and deli counter, a juice bar and a hot food counter. Downstairs is the bar.

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Decaf Americano with hot milk on the side (in the trendy milk bottle) and a little glass of water.

I ordered at the cafe counter, but the drinks were brought over to us at our table. The little wooden boards worked well in such a busy place and I liked that everything came with a glass of water. Definitely somewhere I’ll come again when I’m next in this part of London.

  • Teapot? Yes.
  • Leaf tea? No, but rather tasty Brew Tea Co. rooibos teabags (there were two in my pot).
  • Milk jug? The oh-so-fashionable miniature milk bottle.
  • Price? £4.10 for a decaf Americano and a pot of rooibos tea. For central London, this is very good value.
  • Cake? Yes, and pastries. Also sandwiches and hot food.
  • Go again? Yes, it was a great place to escape Oxford Street and the rooibos was very smooth.


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Farewell, Cafe W

I’ve been adding reviews to this blog for a number of years now and have seen a fair few cafes open and close in that time. One of these days I’ll manage to double check all of the reviews and note which ones are now shut.

The most recent one to close is Cafe W in the Oracle Waterstones, as the whole shop has shut down. There is another Waterstones in Reading, but that one doesn’t have a cafe.

In my review of Cafe W I said I’d like to go back when they were more established (and I wanted to see what their tea was like in a pot rather than in a paper cup). I’m sure that they must have got their crockery sorted a while back, but I’m afraid I didn’t make it back before they closed.

Other Waterstones have cafes and they’re also called Cafe W, so I could try one of those instead. The cake sold at the Reading Cafe W was supplied by Picnic, so you can still get the same cake in Reading.

It’s still a shame though. So long, Cafe W, thanks for all the rooibos tea.

 

 


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Le Valentin

30-32 Passage Jouffroy, 75009, Paris, France

Visited on: Thursday 22nd October 2015

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A view of the cake counter at Le Valentin.

Another Lonely Planet recommendation, I’d been looking forward to going to a proper French patisserie the whole time we’d been in Paris. Le Valentin, which is situated in a covered shopping arcade, did not disappoint.

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Chocolate eclair, chocolate cake, fancy sugar sticks and pots of tea.

The waitress seated us and then came to take our order. R only wanted tea, but the waitress and I managed to persuade him to try a chocolate eclair as well. I asked for something that was chocolate and the waitress pointed out a particular cake in the cabinet. It had a special name, but I’m afraid I couldn’t quite catch it.

The tea was loose leaf and came in metal teapots. R had chosen a sencha green tea and I had chosen rooibos, neither came with milk and I didn’t ask for milk as I felt I should try it without. In the end, that turned out to be a good idea as the cake was very rich and the tea was more refreshing without milk.

 

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My glowing rooibos tea.

Each of us were served a fancy sugar stick with the tea – a wooden stick with crystallised sugar on it. Neither of us take sugar with our tea but as they were so fancy I folded a napkin around them and took them home with me to give to someone who did take sugar in their tea. R found this highly amusing.

R’s chocolate eclair was light and not too heavy on the cream. My chocolate thing was rich but not cloying and I especially appreciated the little piece of silver on the top of it. The tea was good too.

 

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My chocolate cake thing in all its shiny glory.

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The cake and mousse interior of my chocolate cake thing.

We were sat next to the cake counter, so could see what everyone else was ordering and I enjoyed watching everyone come and go. Good tea, great cake and a nice experience overall.

  • Teapot? Yes.
  • Leaf tea? Yes. Not only that, there was a very wide choice of tea on their tea menu.
  • Milk jug? No, but neither needed milk.
  • Price? €5.10 for the rooibos tea, €5.50 (I think) for R’s sencha tea, €4.40 for the eclair (eat in price) and around €6 for the chocolate deliciousness that I had (eat in price).
  • Cake? Yes! And lots of it. Plus pastries, breads, savoury tarts and pies.
  • Go again? Yes.


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Little Breizh

11, rue Grégoire de Tours, 75006, Paris, France.

Visited on: Thursday 22nd October 2015

Little Breizh crepe and tea

My marvellous crêpe, the delicious citrus rooibos tea and R’s bowl of cidre.

Little Breizh was recommended in the Lonely Planet as somewhere good to go for lunch and so off we went. I wasn’t expecting to drink tea here, but when I saw that rooibos tea was listed on the menu I happily ordered it.

R had a bowl of cidre (cider) and I had a citrus rooibos tea. There was a French name for it, which I noted down, but now I can’t read my handwriting and so can’t tell you what it was. Apologies.

The crêpes were delicious and very filling. My tea was a good accompaniment to the richness of my crêpe and R was so taken with the cidre that he ordered another bowl.

  • Teapot? Yes.
  • Leaf tea? No, but it was a very nice teabag.
  • Milk jug? No, no need for it with this type of tea.
  • Price? €4 for a bowl of cidre, €4.50 (I think) for the citrus rooibos, €11 for R’s crêpe (ham, egg, bacon, cheese) and €11.50 for mine (bacon, mushrooms in cream, fried egg and cheese), €2 for a side salad. There were also set lunch menus that (if I remember rightly) included a savoury crepe, a sweet crepe and a drink for around €12/€14.
  • Cake? No, but there were sweet crêpes, which looked amazing. Sadly I was too full to try one when we were there.
  • Go again? Yes.
Crepes at Little Breizh

Both crêpes and side salads and drinks. Note that R is ignoring normal blog photo protocol and continuing to eat – that’s how tasty the crêpes were.


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Siblings Home

16 Hemdean Road, Caversham, Reading, RG4 7SX.

Visited on: Sunday 20th September 2015

Tea and knitting at Siblings Home

Our tea, knitting, spinning and cakes at Siblings Home.

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The middle room at Siblings Home.

Siblings Home opened in February 2015 and despite often walking around this area, I didn’t know it existed until someone at Outcasts mentioned it to me. Once I heard about it, and once everyone else there who hadn’t been had heard about it too, we decided we needed to visit. And so the monthly ‘Knit brunch’ session (every third Sunday) was moved to Siblings Home, so that we could all experience it.

Brownie and tea at Siblings home

Brownie, caramel tart and pot of rooibos for two at Siblings Home.

I thoroughly enjoyed being at Siblings Home. They sell homewares and it makes for a homely feel. There was loose leaf rooibos (hurrah!) and you could have it in a pot for one, or two or even three, with it being cheaper to share a pot. Some cafes are sneaky and offer you a big pot (that’s sometimes not even especially big) with no discount.

Back room at Siblings Home

Some more things for sale in the little room at the back at Siblings Home.

I had a pot of rooibos tea and held off the cakes until later on, as I had eaten breakfast relatively recently. When I did head for the cake, I went for the chocolate brownie. Apparently I’ve lost my ability to make a varied choice when it comes to cakes. I do apologise if this is making the blog posts less interesting.

It might help to know that the brownie was very good, with chunks of chocolate and raisins in it. The raisins added an extra dimension to the brownie and left me wondering why I’d never come across the combination before. Forget chocolate covered raisins, this was chocolate brownie covered raisins.

We all had such a good time eating and drinking our way through the menu (between us we managed to sample every cake they had and all reported excellent results) that two of us stayed longer than our knitting session and had lunch there too.

We moved to a different table for lunch, because it had turned sunny and we wanted one near a window. There are three rooms in Siblings Home and each has a different feel to it. When you go, make sure you have a look round all the space before you pick a table. When you go the time after that, pick a different table and enjoy the difference.

Siblings Home

View of where we sat for lunch at Siblings Home.

Door view at Siblings Home

View out of the door at Siblings Home (I got a bit snap happy at Siblings Home, can you tell?).

Lunch at Siblings Home

Piadinas for lunch at Siblings Home.

Lunch was a toasted Piadina (flatbread) with Spanish chorizo, Jarlsberg and mushrooms inside. It was very tasty, though not very big. As a light lunch after a chocolate brownie, it did very well.

  • Teapot? Yes.
  • Leaf tea? Yes.
  • Milk jug? Yes, though technically it was a little glass bottle for the milk. Having glass bottles for the milk is definitely the current trend in cafes. There are a few I’ve been to recently that do this.
  • Price? £2.30 for pot of tea for one, £3.50 for pot of tea for two, £5.20 for pot of tea for four. I haven’t made a note of how much the brownie was but I think it was £2 something.
  • Cake? Yes, four different types of cake. Between us I think we had one of everything: chocolate brownie, cheesecake, caramel tart and pistachio topped chocolate brownie. I’ve been back recently and the cake was different, so I think they change the cake offered.
  • Go again? I already have and I plan to go again soon.