May 22 2013 Latest news:
Monday, March 12, 2012
Tea and Little Cakes may take its name from the saying of the owner’s grandmother, but there is more to it than it would suggest. SIMON PARKIN visits Norwich’s newest café.
On the face of it this new tea shop sounds like a chintzy addition to the Norwich café scene — the sort of place where they serve fussy teas in bone china, dainty sandwiches and over-elaborate fancies on three tier cake stands.
However don’t let the name Tea and Little Cakes (or Talc for short) fool you. Yes they do teas (of both the standard and fancy varieties, the later coming courtesy of fashionable suppliers Tea Pig), coffees and lots of scrumptious cakes, but there is more to them than that.
They open early with a full breakfast menu — including the hearty Big Talc Brekkie, consisting of sausages, bacon, grilled tomato, mushrooms, beans and poached eggs on sourdough with hollandaise on the side for £6.95. At launch they do a full menu of snacks, sandwiches and a few more substantial dishes. Then in the evening they change again with a dinner menu. They are also fully licensed, so a glass of wine is equally an option as a pot of tea.
They wear many hats then but judging by the buzz surrounding the place and the queue for tables on our visit it has been quick to win hearts and stomachs.
That there has not been a café/restaurant on Timberhill before has always been a bit of a mystery. But when bespoke tailor and shirt-maker F.A. Stones & Sons closed its doors earlier this year, after 16 years in the street, the new owners Kurt Hewitt and wife Bec George-Hewitt saw their opportunity.
They didn’t hang about either transforming the clothes shop into a fully functioning café in the space of two weeks and two days.
“When we saw this we thought it was the perfect place,” said Bec George-Hewitt. I think of no better measure of their success than saying the place already has a homely, popular feel of a café that been a favourite for donkey’s years.
Apparently the name came from an old saying of her grandmother’s. “She used to take us for afternoon tea but she always said that she was taking us for tea and little cakes,” she said.
We visited at lunchtime which is when they are most busy. The menu options range from the super food salad to potato fritters with smoked salmon and horse radish cream, grilled sandwiches, soup and a risotto of the day.
We opted for the Talc burger which turned out not to be the choice for anyone wanting a light snack. It’s was however totally delicious. A large homemade burger topped bacon, cheese, tomato and salad accompanied by a pot of onion marmalade, a little dish of coleslaw and a bucket (literally, albeit a dinky one) of fat wedge-style chips it cost £8.50 and was worth every penny.
The £6.50 salad meanwhile was a well chosen selection of raw and roasted vegetables, goats cheese, salad greens and citrus dressing. Fresh and light, it had a zip that’ll make it a winner in the summer.
A look at the dinner menu (which begins at 6pm) shows a similarly well thought out range of dishes, including chickpea curry, 6oz ounce steak with bloody mary tomatoes, rocket salad and fat chips, classic braised beef stew with home made dumplings, Asian five spice duck salad and slow roasted pork belly with champ mash and cider gravy. We can’t wait to try.
In the meantime we left only sad that we’d left no room for the array of naughty but nice homemade cakes on display to tempt those little willpower.
TEA AND LITTLE CAKES
Open: Mon 7.30am-4pm, Tues-Sat 7.30am-late, Sun 9am-4pm
Prices: Full breakfast £6.95, dinner mains from £6.75, lunch dishes from £6
Vegetarian options: Lots and they’ll adapt dishes to cater for dietary requirements
Wheelchair access: Yes and toilet
As the gates to the Royal Hospital Gardens at Chelsea opened to the world’s media yesterday, with a frenzy of activity as photographers and camera crews vied for the best vantage points, there was also a very palpable sense of relief among the hundreds of nurserymen and women who have come to exhibit their prize horticultural specimens that their stands were complete and looking their very best.