Before I leave for London, I always do a bit of research to see if there's any new tea spots to check out. Or, of course, if there's any older spots that I want to finally get to. It's easier now, with so many online sources, but in a way that makes it more complicated, as now I have to narrow it down, or make sure a particularly wonderful place has not fallen between the cracks. In the end, no matter how much I research and plan, I don't manage to hit all the spots I'd like to. Mainly it's a matter of time restriction, but also, it's not exactly cost effective to go everywhere.
This particular trip, I was also weighed down by less than stellar health. That I managed to get two afternoon teas in is only explained by the fact that I'm not entirely reasonable. Still, I only made a dent in my tearooms-to-do-list, and that's fine. Like I said before, I love having something to look forward to next time.
And, something unexpected happened.
On Friday, after I'd spent a long time in the Tate (more on that another time), I headed to the West End and wandered around Covent Garden. Anyone who knows me well has heard me rave about Covent Garden, which to me has always been one of the most charming tourist traps on the planet. But it wasn't so charming during the holiday shopping season. No, it was overrun by people who have no concept of personal space, and I just kept getting crankier and crankier. I mean, I didn't even go back to Covent Garden for the rest of my trip, which is highly unusual. As I was edging slowly away from the area, though, I found BB Bakery, which I'd never heard of before, and was immediately drawn to its window displays of macarons. Sometimes I like to stick to the classics, and this place looked like it could be an upstart, but I was hungry and tabled my snobbery for a time.
I'm glad I did. From the beginning, I was pleased. The chairs were upholstered and comfy, and I could have spent hours in my high-backed stripey chair in the corner (I always sit near walls when I can - I'd prefer a draft to a table in the middle of a room.)
The menu was extensive - there was so much I would have loved to try, but it will come as no surprise that I picked afternoon tea. It turns out they usually require a reservation for this, but as they weren't too busy they made an exception.
I sat near a couple whose conversation sounded like it was straight out of an Alexander McCall Smith novel. Do all posh British people speak of risotto?
Here's the spread:
Gasp! Open tomatoes! I removed them with a napkin. It seemed unseemly to ask the staff to do this for me when I hadn't mentioned my aversion in the first place. Of course, now I can barely stand to look at these pics. Once removed, by the way, the sandwiches were wonderful - the bread was a bit rough - I think that's a French tea sandwich thing.
The scones were ever so homemade tasting. The macarons were delightful, as were the cakes, though sadly I couldn't finish them.
The English have a fondness for strawberries, I think. They're on everything. I loved this set (how cute is the creamer?)
I have sooo many tea places to try still, but I might try BB again. I'd also recommend this to any tea lover or Francophile, or anyone who likes girly places that aren't sickeningly girly.