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Published September 7th 2011
When I was growing up in London, tea rooms were found everywhere. Generally they seem to have been supplanted by coffee shop chains, but Orange Pekoe in Barnes, south west London, is a treat and worth visiting. It first opened in April 2006 and is still run by tea experts, Marianna and Achilleas.
When you walk into the teashop, you will see numerous large black caddies full of loose tea leaves, whilst to your right is the counter with a selection of homemade cakes, biscuits and scones. However Orange Pekoe does not just serve tea and cakes, but is also open for breakfasts and light lunches. In my opinion their warm scones, whether plain or filled with sultanas, and served with clotted cream and jam, are among the best I've ever eaten.
Another typically English dish they offer at tea time is hot buttered crumpets with honey. You could just settle for tea or coffee with cake, a scone, or crumpets, but you could spoil yourself with a traditional cream tea, which is served all day. Or you could indulge yourself with either the Traditional Afternoon Tea, or the Champagne Afternoon Tea, both of which are served between 2 pm and 5 pm.
The inside of the teashop is divided into several small rooms, but if the sun is shining you could find yourself a table and eat outside. The place is extremely child friendly, and they will warm baby food and milk, make up a drink in a child's own cup and supply high chairs where necessary. Dog walkers are also catered for with a bowl of water left outside for your canine friends.
Should you wish to taste a different tea, you can talk to a trained tea sommelier, who will help to advise you.
You can buy tea to take home, or even purchase a copy of their helpful little book, which explains about the five different varieties of tea: Black, Green, Yellow, White and Oolong. Forget about tea bags, the precious leaf works best in a pot, with boiling water poured on top. However you can buy special sachets for making your own 'tea bags'. You can also purchase other tea making equipment from them.
If you aren't impressed so far, let me also add that Orange Pekoe belongs to the Tea Council's Tea Guild and has received Awards of Excellence for the last three years.
Orange Pekoe is at 3 White Hart Lane, Barnes, London SW13 0PX. You can get there by train to Barnes Bridge station, or take a tube to Hammersmith and then catch a 209 or 419 bus.