With menus disguised as ration books, walls festooned with wartime slogans such as 'Dig for Victory', an old-fashioned wind-up gramophone and ample use of British flags, The Fourteas 1940s tea room is more than just a place to satisfy a rumbling stomach - it's an opportunity to step back in time.
Owners Rachael and Ian Barber met while stage managing shows at the Royal Shakespeare Company which, like their tea rooms, is situated in Stratford-upon-Avon, about 45 minutes' drive from Birmingham. The couple's theatrical bent is evident in the concept and design of The Fourteas. 'The 1940s was a time when people came together and made the most of what they had, yet also of good quality service and carefully sourced ingredients,' they explain.
There's definitely no rationing in place when it comes to the Noel Coward hot chocolate. Author image.
Billed as a venue which has 'all the fun of the forties but none of the rationing', The Fourteas is open daily, offering a range of sandwiches served on a choice of white, brown or granary bread. (In the finest tea rooms tradition, crusts are removed, so you'll need to ask if you wish them left on.) Sandwiches are filled with some unexpected combos such as brie and grape, as well as classics such as egg mayonnaise and cress, and then there's the showstopping three-tier Churchill club sandwich made with roasted chicken breast, smoked bacon, lettuce, tomato and mayonnaise.
The simple but elegant Fourteas tearoom. Author image.
Fancy something more substantial? Baked potatoes with chilli con carne or a range of other toppings including tuna mayonnaise are also on the menu. All-day breakfast options also feature, and include Monty's breakfast (bacon, sausages, eggs, tomato, baked beans, toast and tea), eggs benedict and homemade toasted fruit loaf.
The menus are hidden away inside ration books. Author image.
The Fourteas' decadent 'Ivor Novello' afternoon tea, which boasts a tiered stand of freshly made sandwiches, scones, a selection of homemade cakes and pastries, and a pot of the Fourteas house blend, also comes highly recommended. Want to toast a special occasion? Just add a glass of chilled Prosecco. Cheers!