The long summer holidays allow for all sorts of possibilities. In our day (70s and 80s) they involved being out of the house from dawn till dusk on various adventures: playing endless football, exploring wasteland, building dens, setting fires, hunting and, it would appear from the news, avoiding the odd Jimmy Saville character. For the young today things appear much more formalised and so, on a grey non-entity of a day, I delivered the boys, Fidget and Shy, to a local tennis camp, leaving Red (the wife) and I with a morning to ourselves. Any romantic intentions here were dealt a terminal blow by the arrival of our local handyman so, whilst he worked, we decided to breakfast and with Red having already enjoyed the delights of Annie’s Tea Room we decided on somewhere new, Pennys Tea Room (maybe the sign makers have had a run on apostrophes).
In our day (70s and 80s) they involved being out of the house from dawn till dusk on various adventures: playing endless football, exploring wasteland, building dens, setting fires, hunting and, it would appear from the news, avoiding the odd Jimmy Saville character
We arrived into a quiet dining space, in two halves, which was wonderfully laid out as a quaint tea room, with the emphasis upon shabby vintage chic. It was a quiet day and we were greeted immediately with a smile and hello. Once seated we purveyed the small but well selected menu: Red opting for a simple decaf tea and bacon on toast (£3.50)whilst I went for the full breakfast (£5.50 including a bottomless pot of tea / coffee). Now, before we progress any further, what is an egg worth? Probably, in the hustle and bustle of your daily life, not a question you were mentally debating. However, for me it is a regular question whenever I go for a breakfast as I do not eat eggs so have to negotiate / haggle / threaten / beg with the serving staff to swap the egg for another breakfast item. The egg exchange market for me, therefore, is the first test of any cafe: do they try to stitch me up suggesting my egg is only worth a couple of mushrooms or a tomato or can I swap it for a ‘top shelf’ item such as a sausage or piece of bacon. Pennys Tea Room passed the first challenge, sausage it was, with no fuss.
Service throughout was excellent and very pleasant without being overbearing
Service throughout was excellent and very pleasant, without being overbearing. Indeed, Red engaged the young girl on the subject of vintage tea cups and pots, which her tea was served in, apparently from a vintage market. Red’s tea was very good, more so as she has a thing about needing to drink tea from china cups, she is so classy. My coffee was good standard fayre.
My breakfast was big enough, without roaming into the cholesterol-fest world of overindulgence: sausages were plain but tasty and well cooked, bacon nothing special but again well cooked, beans and tomato good, mushrooms very well done with no grease. The weakest element was the granary toast which was, like the ginger boy on a hot day, anemic and wilting. Red’s bacon was similar to mine and her toast better. As we were in a relative hurry to return for the handyman we did not make use of the bottomless beverage, settling up for under £10.
This place has a lot of potential. The decor and feel is spot on and with maybe a touch more investment in ingredients (better bread and maybe a more substantial bacon) then things will be top notch. At the moment I would place it behind Annie’s but with a bit of thought it could easily be the best of a competitive market in Waterloo cafes.
- Service: 9/10 pleasant, interesting and not overbearing
- Atmosphere: 8/10 quiet day but decor well done
- Food: 7/10 standard fayre, mostly well cooked
- Value for money: 8/10 decent value and nice ‘bottomless’ refill option
- Overall: 8 Great service, tasteful vintage decor, just a bit more work on the food
These are judged against the best of that type of restaurant. For example cafes against what you would expect from the best cafes, high end restaurants against the best high end restaurants etc.
Website: None at the moment