Published in The Herts Advertiser 15 March 2018
We are in pretty Redbourn this week, at the newly opened The Enchanted Tea Rooms. Situated in a lovely old building right on the High Street, the cafe is full of character, with ceiling beams, paned windows and a narrow winding staircase.
Pale vintage-style furniture, green walls, tulip wallpaper and tables set with vintage crockery create a light, welcoming atmosphere. We sat in two high-backed armchairs which are exactly the same as those my 91-year old grandmother has in her sitting room, which surely can only be a good thing.
Sisters Alexandra and Andrea run the cafe, along with mum Elena, and the cafe has already been very busy with lots of locals going in to see the transformation.
It is table service, so find a spot and read the surprisingly long menu – I was expecting tea and cakes of course, but they also do simple breakfasts and a lunch menu, including quiche, soup, jacket potatoes, sandwiches and salads. The superfood salad, for example, is made with spinach, beetroot, quinoa, sun-dried tomatoes, sweetcorn and peppers and is 5.00; add avocado for a little extra.
Cakes and bakes are made each day by the in-house patisserie chef and you choose from the small counter. When we went in there were brownies, banana bread, blueberry muffins and mini fresh cream buns; a freshly baked Bakewell tart was being cut up, so I waited for a slice of that. My partner chose a cream tea which came with two small, warm scones, clotted cream and either jam or lemon curd.
Pots of loose-leaf tea are a sensible price at 2.50 for one person, which gave us 2–3 cups each. There was a long tea menu, and I was surprised there was no decaffeinated black tea option, but there were alternatives including mint.
Full afternoon tea is the cafe speciality, with sandwiches, scones and cakes for 19.95. You can add Prosecco or Champagne, and gluten-free and vegan options are available with a little notice. I like that they do a smaller tea for under 12s, which include mini rainbow bagels and sparkly cakes; a lovely idea for a special birthday. Upstairs are two spacious rooms and I am sure you can book one for a special tea occasion; the room with the huge chandelier is very pretty, and they use them at weekends when busy too. Do have a peak upstairs; there is a beautiful mural in one room, painted by local artist Sarah Nicholson, which explains the ‘enchanted’ name.
Alexandra explained to us that the bread comes from Yummies in Radlett, where she used to work, and they buy flour from nearby Redbournbury Mill for bakes that work well with their strong flour.
I was pleased to see a glass urn of tap water with proper glasses rather than disposable plastic, and if you want to get a takeaway coffee, their cups and lids are recyclable.
The front door to the tea rooms is kept closed, which is sensible for warmth and road noise, so do venture in; it is a deceptively large cafe. I like that there are high chairs, and sensible children’s options, which makes it a useful cafe option for the village. I did ask about dogs, and they are not allowed.
With The Hub down the road always busy, there is definitely need for a new cafe in Redbourn, and I think Alexandra and Andrea have made this a great local option, whether for an everyday cup of coffee or a special occasion. It is open seven days a week, 7–6.30 during the week, and 9–5 Sunday and 9–6 Saturday. 71 High Street, Redbourn.