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06 April, 2006
The Tudor HouseI've been meaning to try The Tudor House since we drive by it so often. As the oldest tea shop in a city with a high concentration of British expatriates, I figured it's worth a visit. It certainly looked inviting from outside, so I was looking forward to their high tea service over the weekend.
The shop is divided between a tearoom and a grocery/bakery; though charming, it's beginning to show its age (it was opened in 1962). The tearoom especially felt drab, hardly the sunny and cheery kind of place where I imagine people lingering over their cup of tea. Fresh flowers would’ve done wonders, but no one seems to have thought of them the day we were there.
After perusing the menu -- it had a long list of salads, sandwiches, pies and hot entrees -- D. and I opted for the Tudor House Afternoon Tea which gave us a little taste of everything, including a pot of tea of our choice. Everything was served in the classic blue and white toile patterned china, which I thought was a nice touch.
D. chose Earl Grey tea while I chose their house Red Rose tea (actually Orange Pekoe). Surprisingly, what arrived at the table were pots with tea bags, not loose tea. My tea was good considering, while D.’s was a bit bitter, with a tad much of a bergamot aftertaste.
The food, instead of being served in succession or in platters from which we can help ourselves at leisure, were all plated together. Instead of high tea, it felt like I was eating a blue plate special at a local diner.
On our plates is the Tudor House Salad with lettuce, tomatoes, carrots, red onions, grapes, feta cheese and a creamy dressing with a slightly sweet, mustardy flavor. It was a good salad, although the big slices of tomatoes weren't too pretty.
We also had our pick of finger sandwiches. D. went with the smoked salmon and cream cheese while I opted for the ham and tomato with grainy mustard; though unremarkable, they were both alright.
For our third item, D. and I went for the mini vegetable quiche, which was a disappointment. They were bland and stale. I mentally kicked myself for not going for the sausage roll, which would’ve at least been hot and hopefully fresh.
The scones were better. I found it dense and soft the way scones should be, generously studded with currants just the way I like it. Though it came with raspberry jam and creamed butter, I made a mental note to order clotted cream with it next time.
Our desserts were also disappointing. D.’s almond tart was hard and awfully sweet. My Battenburg cake, though coated in raspberry jam and marzipan, was barely edible because of its horribly dry sponge cake base.
I wish our first dining experience at The Tudor House was better. We’re willing to give it a second try, but will remember to steer clear of the aforementioned quiche and desserts.
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