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Elizabeth Bradley
Elizabeth Bradley,
Plas Bodfa,
LL58 8ND

The moment we set foot at Elizabeth Bradley's Tea Rooms we had
the sense we'd reached a peculiar paradoxical place. Driving up the
sweeping driveway lined with Rhododendrons and unusual blue
wild flowers, you first realise the place is going through some kind
of identity crisis when you pass the peacocks sauntering around the
"mind the ducks" sign, written in tip-ex on an old cardboard box.
The house itself resembles a grand family home in need of some
urgent maintenance, but if you can see past the peeling paint and
broken glass you'll realise the setting is really something quite
special, with beautiful views right over the glistening blue bay and
to Snowdonia beyond.

When we finally summoned up the courage to unlock the car doors
and venture inside, we discovered a quirky mix of sophistication
and tawdriness. Jazz music filtered through the rooms made for a
relaxed atmosphere, and the tables were set for tea with sleek
white china, yet the menus were covered in plastic, the tablecloths
had seriously seen better days, and each flower vase contained one
solitary greeny brown leaf. Although the tea choices were
non-existent, the deliciously sharp and citrusy 'very lemony' lemon
cake lived up to its name and the cheese scones were light and
surprisingly fresh despite us being the first, and probably the last,
guests of the year.

The contradictions continued in the gift shop, where embroidery kits
worth 95 were sold alongside edible bikinis and flavoured
condoms in flamboyant carrier bags, and extended into the grounds
where we had the choice of feeding the chickens, ducks and other
assorted animals, or playing croquet. It may seem like an absurd
experience, but if you can overcome the incongruity of the place,
you're find a warm welcome and homemade food in a beautiful