Category : Covent Garden

Where to Buy Tea in London: Whittard of Chelsea

Whittard of Chelsea
Whittard of Chelsea
Walter Whittard started selling tea from his Fleet Street shop in 1886. It became Whittard of Chelsea in the 1940’s when the company relocated after losing premises in the Blitz.

There are branches of Whittard dotted around the West End which I confess, I rarely visit, assuming they mainly sold souvenir tea.

Also, I once looked at a teapot on their website, and it followed me around for days – a bit annoying.

The Piazza at Covent Garden is another place I tend not to venture, so avoiding the fire-eaters and (more…)

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Where to Buy Tea in London: The Tea House

Tea Pots The Tea House, Covent Garden
Cast Iron Tea Pots
The Tea House
Covent Garden
The exterior of The Tea House Covent Garden is reminiscence of a Japanese screen.
Black lacquer window frames form a grid on four levels – each square containing a display of teapots, cups and tea. Vermilion lettering enhances the oriental feel.

The shop has been on the same spot in Neal Street since 1982. It is good to see an independent still trading amongst the larger stores.

What I like best about The Tea House is their range of unusual (more…)

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Roast + Conch, Hotel Chocolat, Covent Garden

Hotel Chocolat, Seven Dials
Jasmine Tea
Roast and Conch
Hotel Chocolat, Monmouth Street is easy to find; simply follow your nose and outside no. 4 you will perceive a sweet aroma in the air.

Peer in the window, and the source of the smell, a metallic contraption, is roasting cocoa beans in preparation for making chocolate.

Inside, the shelves are laden with chocolate; slabs, blocks and truffles, all manner of shapes and flavours.

Descend the wrought-iron spiral staircase to Roast and Conch where the beans are ‘conched‘ to make small batches of chocolate. (more…)

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Canteen, Covent Garden

Canteen Covent Garden
English Breakfast
Canteen
Covent Garden
‘Convent’ Garden was the 13th century kitchen garden of the Abbey of St Peter, Westminster.

In 1630 the Duke of Bedford commissioned Inigo Jones to build houses ‘fit for the habitations of gentleman’. Inspired by trips to Italy, he created Covent Garden Piazza – the first open square in England.

Market stalls have been trading in the area since the mid-17th century. When the fire of London destroyed smaller markets, it became the most important fruit, veg and flower market in the country.

In 1973 the market was relocated to Nine Elms and Covent Garden faced demolition. It was saved by campaigners, and is now a lively area of shops and (more…)

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Tom’s Kitchen, Somerset House

Toms Somerset House
English Breakfast
Tea Tom’s Kitchen
One my recent visit to Samuel Johnson’s House, I bought a booklet of essays entitled ‘Tea and coffee in the age of Dr Johnson’; a fascinating insight into the coffee houses of 18th century London.
I learned that one of the early coffee shops was called Tom’s. Established by Thomas Twining in 1706 nearby the shop on Strand that sells tea to this day. Tom’s had a library and was ‘…a place renowned for its polite and scholarly interests’*. Further up Fleet Street was Nando’s coffee shop (perhaps shortened from Fernando’s).

I am reminded of this 300 odd years later, and (more…)

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Fernandez & Wells, Somerset House

Fernandez and Wells, restaurant Somerset House
Kyoto Green Tea
Fernandez & Wells
Somerset House
Somerset House, originally a Tudor Palace, has been home to Elizabeth I, the Navy and the Royal Academy of Art. It has seen routs and masquerades, and has fallen into ruin – ‘…the haunt of spectres…magicians and murderers.’
The free tour gives an excellent overview of it’s extraordinary history.
It was fascinating to visit the lightwells – underground alleyways visible from the courtyard – and the ‘Dead Room’, with it’s Catholic gravestones.
Easy to see why Somerset House is used by film crews as an atmospheric London location.

The Courtyard is a fantastic space, unique in London. The East wing is home to an eatery, and very fine place for a cup of tea. (more…)

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Salt, Covent Garden

Salt Covent Garden
Jade Cloud
Green Tea
Salt

**UPDATE MARCH 2014: Salt is sadly, now closed. It was a great little place; I wish the fellas that ran it all good luck and hope they will let Tea at Three know if they open up elsewhere.

Great Queen Street in Covent Garden, is dominated on one side by the massive Art Deco edifice of Freemasons Hall. In its shadow is a row where at no.31, William Blake, London’s great poet and mystic, learned his trade as an engraver. Today it is home to Stephen Jones, hat maker and some intriguing looking Freemason’s outlets.

Salt is nestled in between. This ‘Espresso, Lunch and Tea Bar’ prides itself on bakery, and, as I discover, the tea is pretty special too.

They have an excellent choice of brews with the optimum temperature and steeping time noted on the menu.

(more…)

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Poetry Cafe, Covent Garden

The Poetry Cafe, Betterton Street
Assam
Poetry in a Cup

Poetry and a cup of tea, a perfect combination:

“We had a kettle; we let it leak:
Our not repairing made it worse.
We haven’t had any tea for a week…
The bottom is out of the Universe”

Maybe not Kipling’s finest, but I was looking for a tea poem, and, coincidentally a kind tweeter sent it to me.

Poetry Place is the headquarters of The Poetry Society, an organisation that host various events, poetry readings, competitions, exhibitions etc. (more…)

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