The Tea Cosy
The Tea Cosy,
3 George Street,
01273 677 055
There is a sense of intense purpose about the Tea Cosy which hits you immediately
upon entering. We liked the imposingly kitch window display - made steamy against the
cold January backdrop from which we sought shelter - and the way we were asked to
wipe our feet and shut the door behind us without so much as a by your leave.
With the excitement of naughty school children, and not a little apprehension, we were
lead to our seats amongst half a dozen or so other diners whose expressions ranged
from uncomfortable to bemused by the eccentricity of their surroundings.
They have hoarded, for example, an elephantine collection of Royal Family memorabilia
bordering on obsession, from an imposing portrait of Queen Victoria to (suspended
from the ceiling) a toilet seat once graced by the Bottom of Her Royal Highness the
Duchess of Cornwall.
Then there are the menus, which specify the house rules on a range of afternoon
etiquette, from the sensible (please turn off your mobile phone) to the daft (please avoid
the unnecessary clatter of spoon-on-cup) to the downright ridiculous (much to Amos'
chagrin it is expressly requested that milk be added first, and Lily - who's vitriolic mezzo
soprano can be heard from one end of the lacrosse field to the other - had to suppress
her exultations of glee to "2 beats lighter than chink of a teacup").
Our minds turned to the teas they serve, which are called things like "The Charles &
Camilla Elevenses" or "Lady Diana Spencer, Princess of Wales, Queen of Hearts, 10
year Anniversary, Your Death Has Torn Our Lives Apart, Fairwell Dear Princess Queen
Of Hearts, Forever In Our Thoughts, Memorial Afternoon Tea". Our order was taken with
a carefully metered dose of camp distain and our tea and crumpets were deposited at
the table so curtly it made us squirm with pleasure.
It's fair to say that the atmosphere they create is a little overbearing to say the least. It
probably won't be the most relaxed experience but it may be one of the more
amusing/bizarre depending on your outlook. The scones and what we were charged for
them were placated both our pockets and our palates and we look forward to returning.
There's a lot to like and we wavered between three and a half to four pots, but they
couldn't quite scoop up the high scores because we felt they lacked vigour in their pursuit
of a dream. If anything we expected it to be even queer, even more camp, even more
OTT. Next time we go, and when Amos sends the sugar bowl flying and Lily guffaws so
loudly it upsets the plastic fountain on table three, we expected to be smacked firmly on
the knuckles and asked politely to leave.