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Biddy's Tea Room opens pop-up in Japan

PUBLISHED: 11:32 30 October 2019 | UPDATED: 12:10 30 October 2019

Brad Smith, manager and Charlie Buchan, owner, Biddy's Tea Room and Biddy's Kitchen are out in Tokyo cooking up scones and bakewell tarts for the Japanese. Pic: Biddy's Tea Room/PA/Archant

Brad Smith, manager and Charlie Buchan, owner, Biddy's Tea Room and Biddy's Kitchen are out in Tokyo cooking up scones and bakewell tarts for the Japanese. Pic: Biddy's Tea Room/PA/Archant

The owner of two popular tearooms in Norfolk is hoping to make it big in Japan after setting up a pop-up bakery in Tokyo.

Brad Smith, manager of Biddy's Kitchen, Aylsham and boss Charlie Buchan, owner of Biddy's Tea Room, who are in Japan. Pic: IsetanBrad Smith, manager of Biddy's Kitchen, Aylsham and boss Charlie Buchan, owner of Biddy's Tea Room, who are in Japan. Pic: Isetan

And while Japan is gripped with Rugby World Cup fever with the final on Saturday, Biddy's Tea Room boss Charlie Buchan is more worried about scoring points with her scones than scrums.

That's because Charlie, who runs Biddy's Tea Room in Lower Goat Lane, Norwich and Biddy's Kitchen in Aylsham, has been working around the clock with manager Brad Smith to cook up bakewell tarts and scones - with a flavour of quintessential Norfolk - for the Japanese.

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Biddy's Tea Room, Lower Goat Lane, Norwich. Pic: ArchantBiddy's Tea Room, Lower Goat Lane, Norwich. Pic: Archant

It has been Charlie's dream to visit Tokyo since the age of 10 but after being offered the chance to cook for a major food fair in one of Japan's biggest department stores, she nearly didn't go. Staff back home said when an email arrived from Isetan, a major store with branches across Japan, inviting her to take part in its Christmas-themed 'British Fair,' Charlie thought it was a scam.

A spokeswoman from Biddy's Tea Room told this newspaper: "I passed the email on to Charlie and she didn't get back to them as she thought it was fake, but then it turned out to be genuine. We couldn't believe they wanted us to go because we are just a small independent."

The Isetan store, based in Shinjuku, Tokyo, is hosting a major food exhibition and flew Charlie and Brad there to cook two types of scones and a bakewell tart. The fair lasts until November 4 in-store, with other exhibitors from across the UK including major brand Hotel Chocolat.

Owner Charlie Buchan at Biddy's Tea Room, Lower Goat Lane, Norwich. Pic: ArchantOwner Charlie Buchan at Biddy's Tea Room, Lower Goat Lane, Norwich. Pic: Archant

For Charlie and Brad, it has meant getting their display area branded up like back home, even putting up some wallpaper to depict the Norfolk tearoom and they've been getting to grips with the kitchen and different ingredients, although have been using specially imported flour.

Charlie posted on Instagram: "I'm shattered but we are all prepped up and set up, recipes tested (in the most temperamental ovens ever) and ready to go.Bakewells are baking well and everything is starting to smell pretty darn good here in Japan.

"The team are working through the night here to get everything branded while we get baking for the morning. I'm so tired but it will be so great to see it."

And Biddy's Tea Room has been promoted by the Japanese store which praises the scones - a lemon and a 'Christmas' variety - for their flavour and moisture and describe why it's called 'Biddy's' - after Charlie's dog. Both shops in Norfolk are open while they are away.

The entry on the Japanese department store Isetan's website which details the scones and bakewells from Biddy's Tea Room in Norfolk with a picture, inset of the Norwich base on Lower Goat Lane. Pic: IsetanThe entry on the Japanese department store Isetan's website which details the scones and bakewells from Biddy's Tea Room in Norfolk with a picture, inset of the Norwich base on Lower Goat Lane. Pic: Isetan

Biddys Tea Room heads to Japan, as this post on its Instagram feed shows. Pic: Biddys Tea RoomBiddys Tea Room heads to Japan, as this post on its Instagram feed shows. Pic: Biddys Tea Room

Biddys Tearoom heads to Japan. Pic: Biddys Tea RoomBiddys Tearoom heads to Japan. Pic: Biddys Tea Room

The Isetan department store, Shinjuku, Tokyo, where Biddy's Tea Room is exhibiting. Pic: IsteanThe Isetan department store, Shinjuku, Tokyo, where Biddy's Tea Room is exhibiting. Pic: Istean

Charlie Buchan getting prepped up in Japan. Pic: Biddy's Tea RoomCharlie Buchan getting prepped up in Japan. Pic: Biddy's Tea Room

Putting up wallpaper in the Japanese store to make it look like Biddy's Tea Room in Norfolk. Pic: Biddy's Tea RoomPutting up wallpaper in the Japanese store to make it look like Biddy's Tea Room in Norfolk. Pic: Biddy's Tea Room

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Work going on around the clock to get Biddys Tea Room in Japan ready. Pic: Biddys Tea RoomWork going on around the clock to get Biddys Tea Room in Japan ready. Pic: Biddys Tea Room

Lost in translation; the praise for Biddy's Tea Room scones and the discussion over the name. Pic: IsetanLost in translation; the praise for Biddy's Tea Room scones and the discussion over the name. Pic: Isetan

A promotion by Japanese department store Isetan of one of Biddy's Tea Room's scones. Pic: IsetanA promotion by Japanese department store Isetan of one of Biddy's Tea Room's scones. Pic: Isetan

The promotion by Japanese department store Isetan of one of Biddy's Tea Room's scones. Pic: IsetanThe promotion by Japanese department store Isetan of one of Biddy's Tea Room's scones. Pic: Isetan

The promotion for the Japanese department store's Christmas food fair with Biddy's Tea Room taking part. Pic: IsetanThe promotion for the Japanese department store's Christmas food fair with Biddy's Tea Room taking part. Pic: Isetan

Biddys Tea Room making it big in Japan. Pic: Biddy's Tea RoomBiddys Tea Room making it big in Japan. Pic: Biddy's Tea Room

Tokyo. pic: PATokyo. pic: PA

Biddy's Tea Room, Lower Goat Lane, Norwich. Pic: ArchantBiddy's Tea Room, Lower Goat Lane, Norwich. Pic: Archant

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