Friday, 31 August 2012

Brethren's Kitchen, Lord Leycester Hospital, Warwick

This is a perfect place for revelling in history. Properly, I mean. Not the kind of crowd-management-and-gift-shop style of tourism to which Warwickshire is prone; but where you can sit in the chapel, or the Guildhall and revel in the sheer oldness of the place. You can sit for ages and listen, to paraphrase the Welsh bloke, feeling that time passes.

Access is not too bad - mostly the usual problem with historical buildings of narrow doorways and tight corners. You can get in via the garden without visiting the Hospital but that entrance does involve steps. The cafe serves light lunches and teas, sandwiches and cakes. We had spiced ginger cake and lavender cake as we couldn't decide. The former was moist and tasty, dense and rich, not too strong an aftertaste with a gritty, sweet buttercream icing. The lavender cake was a slice of crumby cake, like a Victoria sponge, mottled with lavender seeds. Quite a subtle taste, more experienced in the aroma than in the tastebuds. Both served, noted an approving Drew, with proper cake forks. My latte was strong, not too foamy, piping hot, served in a glass mug on a saucer. Drew went for a black filter coffee which was accompanied by a generous jug of milk.

The tea rooms are not a polished-to-perfection cream tea establishment; but that doesn't matter. For a proper leaf tea and scones experience there are plenty of other places. What matters here is the location. Where else can you be in the same room where there is embroidery by Amy Robsart and the signature of the old rogue himself, Dudley? We sat outside by the colonnade overlooking the courtyard and leaned on a structure intact since the fifteenth-century with a view of the emblematic blue porcupine of Philip Sidney (steady, ladies).

Latte: *****
Access: *****

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