Saturday 3 March 2012

Review: Poppy's Tearoom Thaxted

It's the first weekend in a very long time where I have had absolutely no plans whatsoever, other than to relax. And relax I did, it was well needed after my last few weeks of planned and privately booked Secluded Tea Parties and my first ever LIVE TV debut on BBC's “The One Show” on Friday 24th February alongside the Clandestine Cake Club feature - So exciting! 

So, I was on a super sugar charged high over the weekend, with all the cake love being emailed to me thanks to this feature and my live airing and cake pointing from the mighty Chris Evans over my Tuck Shop cake that I was showing off there! (Well, Miss Sue Flays / Miss Soufflés Tuck Shop Cake ; )
On Sunday morning I was lazing around in bed watching Downton Abbey (I don’t know why I haven’t been hooked on this sooner, where on earth have I been?!) and feeling seriously jealous of all the afternoon tea that the Grantham ladies and their guests get to sit and enjoy throughout their day, that I decided I wanted to try somewhere new for a spot of afternoon tea myself. The mister didn't want to head to Ely for afternoon tea and I didn't want to go into Cambridge for a change as I couldn’t be doing with the potential traffic and crowds, so we agreed to head south and drive out the sunny Essex countryside in the search of a fabulous sounding tearoom called Poppy's Tea Room in Thaxted. 
Thaxted, home of Dick Turpin, is in fact a pretty and very peaceful little town/village on the outskirts of Saffron Walden and it's the perfect distance for a little joy ride on a lazy Sunday Afternoon. 

Passing all the chocolate box thatched cottages and water towers along these winding roads, it felt like a mini escape from Cambridgeand it was welcomed after a day in London 2 days prior... It seems more and more so, that am a countryside sort of girl through and through!We had pre-booked our table at this very quaint tea room and I am glad that we did, as you must note that this is an extremely popular afternoon tea spot and it's fairly small tea parlour would not have easily accommodated us if we had just turned up on this occasion. I am very polite British citizens and we always pre-book for afternoon tea as we appreciate just how fiddly it can be to prepare and this is only fair on our tea hosts. Good afternoon tea etiquette, of which I am sure my new friend, William Hanson will approve of in preparation for our joining of forces in September. We were warmly greeted and the waitresses throughout were smiley and helpful and couldn't do enough to make us feel comfortable and at home at our warm and cosy table, which was laid with a clean and pretty floral table cloth, with perfectly white china and gleaming silver cutlery beckoning to be used. I was in awe at how shiny the butter knives were, I am perhaps so easily pleased!

Our fabulous hostess talked us through the afternoon tea for two menu, of which is the minimum you can order, whilst offering us a varied selection of finger sandwiches, even a choice of scone from Plain, Fruit or Cheese. This is just fantastic, as usually I am either told on my menu what I will receive, or it is pot luck depending on which afternoon tea establishment you are visiting.
They also are very sure not to put Bicarb of Soda in their scones, so no horrible, tacky tasting scones here, something which happens in too many tearooms for my liking. 
So, to be asked what we would like and proving their knowledge of the loose leaf tea blends on offer, we went with their own blend, which was a light and very addictive Ceylon tea of which we re-ordered when it came to more later on. It was the perfect accompaniment with our order and we couldn’t get enough of it.

We also had a choice of cake to go with our tier and whilst I went for an unusual choice for me (A very generous slice of Lemon Drizzle Cake which was so moist and light I couldn’t resist but get stuck into) the mister went for a nice strong and deep ginger infused loaf cake which was the perfect end to his afternoon tea feast. He absolutely loved this dose of double ginger and was chuffed to have stolen the very last piece before a larger group walked through the door. The delicate finger sandwiches that were served to us were a selection from Wild Red Salmon, Cucumber & Cream Cheese and Wiltshire Ham & mustard, all delicious and moreish, with us both arguing over the last salmon sandwich is rare for the mister, as he is not usually a big fan of salmon, but it was delicious. 

Everything was homemade and it took a little time to be served to us, which was fine as it had been politely noted when our hostess took our order and we told her not to rush of which I think she was pleased to hear. This was welcomed, as again their friendly service is second to none here, they even told me over the phone to come no later than 3.30pm so that we could allow plenty of time to sit and enjoy our food and to not rush it before they closed their tearoom. That is the way afternoon tea should be taken and they do not push you out of the door as soon as you are finished, it’s just a wonderful place and I just wish I had found it sooner.

The only downside I would say and suggest to them is that the loose leaf tea could be served within a tea pyramid or removable strainer so that the tea does not turn bitter after a little while. But this is a minor query on an otherwise faultless feast of afternoon tea treats. It’s my favourite to date and I felt so pleased with myself to have found this perfect little Essex bolthole, as I have not yet ventured out to this part of the world, tut tut.
I think it would be the perfect place for a spot of tea on a rainy winter morning, or a sunny summer afternoon, it wouldn’t matter when you take a visit.

What made the afternoon even more perfect was a little wander up the beautiful cobbled paths to an old windmill with picturesque views of Thaxted and the rolling green countryside beyond it. It was such a lovely afternoon and we got to watch the sun set from this location which put smiles on our faces and ended the perfect weekend being lazy and, a feeling that is very rare for Miss Sue Flay, I didn’t feel guilty for it.

If you love afternoon tea as much as us, then I would suggest not wasting any more time (not that reading my lovely blog is a waste of time hehe ; )  and get yourself a table booked at Poppy’s Tea Room in Thaxted quick sharp and leave a comment below if you do take a visit.

Visit Poppy’s Tea Room at
or call 01371 830453 to book a table for their wonderful afternoon tea.

Miss Sue Flay

1 comment:

  1. Sounds perfect & hubby & I want to visit very soon.