Geoff and I visited The Cream Tea Rooms in Albert Road, Southsea a couple of weeks ago. I tried the week before but alas, it was on a Tuesday which is the day they close, d’oh! Luckily I had two other places to choose from just up the road, Hunter Gatherer and Tea & Thistle.
As you enter The Cream Tea Rooms there is a cabinet with a selection of cakes and some ready made sandwiches to take away. On another table a little further in are some more cakes – so don’t miss these! There are several tables in this main part of the cafe where we sat and if you carry on through you come across a couple of tables in the ‘hallway’ with a small little room on your left with cosy chairs, then at the rear is the ‘Hatters’ function room where you can hold a party. There are pictures of Alice in Wonderland characters and clocks etc., (a large colourful mural would look much better I think), it was all a little too spread out and plain for me, losing the effect I thought.
It was very quiet which meant we could hear another couples conversation, all very interesting I’m sure but I would have preferred some light music – although there was the white noise of the fridge which went on and off every so many minutes.
All the items on the menu are cold apart from the warmed quiche and sausage roll (I guess) and I’m not surprised as the kitchen was minute, if I had to work in that there would be much banging and crashing around and lots of swearing going on, haha 😀
You won’t find any of the ‘hipster’ type food such as smashed avo’s on toasted bagels or overnight soaked oats with chia seeds here, which although I love, it’s nice to go back to ‘normal’ food now and again.
A lot of the produce The Cream Tea Room use are locally sourced, the bread from Southsea (I’m guessing Bread Addiction), pickle & mustard from Hayling Island, cheese from The New Forest to name but a few.
They have a good selection of teas if you’re into them, Lady Hamilton, smokey Russian, lavender to name but a few.
The tables have plastic ‘lace’ covers of which I’m not fond of but the fresh tulips on each table kind of made up for it.
The brown sourdough bread was fresh but I’m not keen on sourdough as a sandwich bread, I love it for toast or as a base for smashed avocados. I had tuna mayonnaise sandwiches and asked if I could have some thinly sliced cucumber in it if they had any, of which they kindly obliged.
Geoff had the Coronation chicken sandwich which he said was a little watery. Sandwiches are served with a good handful of Tyrell’s crisps.
For cake we shared both the cherry Bakewell slice and a toffee gluten-free cake with a dulce de leche type topping. Both were fresh and tasty although we could taste no hint of almond in the cherry bakewell (I’m sure it should?).
Just as we were leaving some music came on, Michael Bublé.
Geoff and I came to the same conclusion that we probably wouldn’t return, the main reasons being the bread and ambience I suppose. But, I don’t like to give up on places quite so easily so just over a week later I did return, this time with my gym buddy, Sarah.
Again it was very quiet with only the noisy fridge. The only other person in there was a chap who was more than likely listening to our conversation this time.
We decided to share both the quiche of the day, which was bacon and mushroom and the sausage roll. Alas, there were no sausage rolls (even though it was only 12 noon) so we both had the quiche. It was nice enough, not a lot of mushroom or bacon in it but fresh and the pastry was nice, not with a soggy bottom as mine seem to suffer from. It was served with a very small side salad of iceberg lettuce, raw onion, cucumber, sliced cherry tomatoes and a handful of salt & vinegar crisps (last time we had chilli & red pepper ones which were lovely.
I had loose leaf English breakfast tea whilst Sarah had a cappuccino which she said was very nice. I haven’t yet tried the coffee myself, on my last visit I had a lemon Pellegrino which seems to have become quite popular.
We each took cakes home with us, spiced apple and I took a tiffin cake too, to share with Geoff later that evening. The spiced apple had no spice whatsoever but I didn’t really care much as it was lovely how it was. Very fresh and very moist. The tiffin cake was also very nice, a large slice so half each was enough as it was quite rich. This had not only biscuit pieces inside but cherries and marshmallows too. Sarah texted me that evening saying how much she enjoyed her slice of cake and asking me if I felt the same.
On this visit I noticed a little room which I hadn’t seen before, a very small room with comfy chairs, it looked quite cosy and private.
Again the service at The Cream Tea Rooms was very good and very friendly. Have I changed my mind about returning? Hmm, I probably would although it wouldn’t be my first choice, if they change the bread and put on some music then quite possibly. But don’t let me put you off, perhaps I’m getting picky in my ‘old’ age and what I like or don’t like might be the opposite to yourself and you won’t know until you try it as they say. It’s friendly, clean and good value.
Return? Not in a hurry, sorry
Living life, loving cake