There are steps up to the doorway but, frankly, I found that in keeping with the entire ambience of the place. This is, after all, a time before door ramps and rails, more a time of bombs, rations, and blackouts.
Fortunately, this is not the side of wartime Britain on show here. This is very much the pack-up-your-troubles on your way to Tipperary to see your boogie woogie bugle boy from Company B aspect, where you are asked to keep calm and keep Mum. It is all designed to get you in the mood: windows are taped, staff are dressed in uniforms designed by Claire Dempsey, modelled on the headscarf-and-pinny-look familiar from even my own family photos. Tea is served in pale green Beryl Ware utility cups with the banding on the saucer and Deco curlicues on the handles.
And the only thing to do here is to truly accentuate the positive. This is not in the least bit gimmicky, or cheesy and, more importantly, not the least bit tourist-led. There is no sense that local people are sidelined in favour of visitors and the most telling evidence of this is the price of everything. A quick perusal of the menu, which is in the form of a ration book, shows a mere £13 for two rounds of eggs on toast and two pots of tea both of which served a minimum of four cups each*. I went for the Earl Grey. Sourced from the Golden Monkey Tea Company in Warwick, this is Sri Lankan in origin, super fragranced, very orangey aftertaste. The pot of leaf tea comes with a timer to ensure that the leaves are properly steeped to avoid the face-gurning stew so familiar to less sophisticated establishments.
Best poached eggs in town. No fancy schmancy boil-water-in-a-saucepan-and cross-your-fingers-you-don't-end-up-with-egg-soup malarkey. Just good old fashioned use of a poacher to make stunning eggs with the soft centre just perfect, and plump, glossy whites with the right amount of wobble. The scrambled eggs were creamy in texture on hot, buttery toast. Eat outdoors in the tea garden, or by the Anderson shelter, or just stay indoors and hum along to the Andrews Sisters.**
There is really only one way to properly describe this establishment: bei mir bist du schon. It means you're grand.
*You may have noticed, oh faithful bloggee, the lack of lattes these days and the profusion of tea . This is due to a combination of (a) age and (b) side effects of prescription drugs
** although you shouldn't sing along too loudly. They don't like that.