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Beatons Tearoom in Petersfield: Review

PUBLISHED: 09:00 19 April 2018

Archant

After a long morning of chores in the pouring rain, I headed to the new Beatons Tearoom in Petersfield for an hour of joyful solitude, to read my book and reflect on the passing week with my favourite thing on earth: a warm, fresh cream tea

It’s Englishness on a plate; a moment of constancy as Britain muddles through what can only be described as an identity crisis. Beatons prides itself on its traditional roots, named after the photographer and designer Cecil Beaton, and I was curious to see how this tearoom had drawn on the elegance, glamour and style of his work.

From the moment you enter, it’s clear this is no ordinary high street tearoom. The awkward bustle and squeezed seating of the modern coffee house is gone, and in its place there is a lightness - simple white tables surrounded by bright, pink walls adorned with Beaton’s photography. The soft sound of jazz floats past a table loaded with flowers and fresh cake slices under Edwardian-style bell jars, and in the corner stands a white bookcase filled with a carefully curated selection of books for sale. The space is effervescent yet soothing, much like the cool glass of prosecco I’m offered as I take my seat.

With over thirty varieties of loose-leaf tea to choose from, I opt for the Duchess Earl Grey, a citrus twist on the original with fresh lemon on the side - and a charming miniature hourglass to indicate when the pot is brewed. Next, the traditional cream tea tower arrives. I requested the vegetarian option, which includes a bottom layer of neatly cut sandwich squares straight from the pages of an Agatha Christie novel. Aside from the compulsory cucumber filling, there is also egg and watercress, brie and cranberry, and two tiny cheese tartlets, hot from the oven.

After this, it’s time for my favourite layer: two fat, warm scones. In a delightful twist, not only have I been given the traditional scone with clotted cream and strawberry jam, but beside it lies a savoury version with cream cheese and a spiced chutney that brings back happy memories of a trip to India last winter. Finally, I approach the top tier of my afternoon indulgence: two slices of homemade cake. The first is a crumbling carrot cake filled with soft sultanas and thick creamy icing; the second, a delicious, oozing orange and almond polenta cake.

Having completely overindulged, I sit contentedly for a while and chat to the waitress about book recommendations and a new theatre production in London. With a final glance at the bookcase, I leave the vibrant peace of the tearoom and wander slowly home to enjoy the weekend. I will return soon with friends or a loved one, if only to try another tea from the grand loose leaf selection.


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