We nipped in to Richmond for a stroll around the shops on Saturday, and I had in mind a more than vague idea of taking afternoon tea somewhere. However, having arrived we realised that we knew of no tea rooms in the centre of Richmond, and my husband was dressed in shorts and walking boots, which precluded a visit to one of the more stylish hotels... Increasingly antsy, with bloodsugar levels falling fast (as they are wont to do in my case), and after going around in circles for too long, we alighted upon a little coffee shop at the top of the bridge where we shared a very tasty coronation chicken wrap 'à la libanaise' (yes, it may sound curious, but the combination worked)
Collapse averted, we then proceeded to mooch around a couple of shops, and even picked up a little present for a family member's birthday next weekend. At least the trip hadn't been completely wasted. Turning down the narrow Brewer's Lane to look at a gallery window we suddenly found ourselves in front of a little tea room we had never seen before. Just a cup of tea, I said to my husband, I just want to see what it's like. It was like stepping back in time, somehow the owner had managed to do what I would have done in that space, pretty floral wallpaper, old-fashioned light fittings, dark wooden floorboards. And beautiful vintage porcelain. Mismatched, on purpose. I just loved it. And in the end I plumped for Cream Tea (£6.50), watched by my weary other half who clearly thought I was being greedy. But this was research! Two perfectly formed little scones arrived on a traditional two-tiered cake stand, with clotted cream and strawberry jam. And believe me, as soon as I put my knife to the first warm scone I knew that it would be perfect. Most scones crumble a bit when cut, but not these ones. They were perfect. A gentleman who turned out to be the owner came over to ask if everything was all right, and divulged that he bakes the scones with buttermilk - following the recipe of Nigella - every day. And this gentleman really can bake. Add to that a lovely selection of sponge cakes and a decent list of black and non-fermented teas, plus great service. The Tea Cup is a little gem which I would highly recommend - we need independent little tea rooms to distract from the tedium of the big coffee shop chains. Try it if you're in the area, it's lovely.
The Tea Cup
Surrey TW9 1HH
0208 914 8402