Saturday, 31 May 2014

The Garden Tea Rooms [formerly Act V], Stratford-upon-Avon

On the menus in this establishment there is a quotation from Hamlet, Act V, scene one, the 'Alas, poor Yorick' palaver that we all know so well. Far better would be a quotation from Act II of The Importance of Being Earnest; because this is the perfect place to go Bunburying.

Partly because it is an excellent place to hide, even if just to escape the crowds on Waterside. It is at the bottom of Sheep Street, just up from the chip shop, a small café/gift shop combo. And the recently refurbished outdoor space is the real gem here, with comfortable furniture squeezed into a tiny garden that is absolutely, positively the best place to sit in the sunshine writing in your diary, eating cucumber sandwiches and drinking Earl Grey tea in copious quantities. In fact, having ordered said cucumber sandwiches, it occurred to me that I know no other place in the town that sells them. For £2.50, you get two slices of bread, lightly moistened with margarine or butter and quite a few slices of crunchy-but-soft cucumber with a few leaves of salad and some crisps. The tea is the teapigs brand, popular in some of the more upmarket establishments in the town. Be warned - the combination of the two means that you will find your pinky finger creaks involuntarily outward  with every bite and sip.

Following this up with the cream tea is practically compulsory. One of the few places to serve the scones warm and use clotted cream. This all adds up to a delectable melt-in-your-mouth concoction, a heady combination for eschewing your German grammar in favour of starting your revoltingly sentimental three volume novel.

Access: *****

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