1401 Market Street
The English Rose Tearoom is located on the ground floor of an old historic building on the corner of an artsy neighborhood just 2 miles from the University of Tennessee, Chattanooga. The big teapot sign and flying British flag make it easy to find. Plenty of street parking available. Once inside one quickly realizes this is a traditional English tearoom. Queen Elizabeth’s portrait hangs over the fire place, a life-size cut out of a palace guard is positioned at the rear of the dining room and Downton Abby memorabilia accent the decor. A small gift shop comes first; clotted cream and lemon curd are for sale in tiny glass jars along with Weetabix cereal and digestive biscuits. Several tea-inspired gift books, cook books, note cards and tea cozies are also on display for purchase. Lilting instrumental piano music fills the entire shop lending a refreshing note to the tea experience. We did not have a reservation and at 2 pm we were seated promptly in a comfortable corner at a table for two. Approximately nine tables, seating 2-6 guests, were attractively arranged to create intimate corners for couples as well as central tables for larger groups. The menu offered English-style pub lunches; bangers and mash and Yorkshire pudding, in addition to tea with scones and a full afternoon tea. We ordered two afternoon teas. The tea selection was small, only about six loose teas, but offered a sampling of everything. Barefoot Girl chose an Assam and I ordered Darjeeling. The tea arrived very quickly, to our relief, as we had been caught in a deluge and were wet and chilly upon our arrival. Loose tea was steeped in disposal bags and left in the pot. We did not know this and got a weak first cup, perfect second and stewed third. A little extra hot water corrected the problem and we didn’t let it happen again! The three-tiered tea tray arrived quickly and contained the traditional chicken salad, egg salad and cucumber sandwiches, all freshly made on nice bread followed by a large scone on the middle tray served with lemon curd, jam and clotted cream. Although a little dry, the scone was flavorful and enjoyable especially with various spreads liberally applied. The bottom tray had a selection of commercially prepared English biscuits; some fruity, some buttery and some plain but all delicate and crisp and the perfect accompaniments to tea. The service was warm and friendly and we were left to linger over the last of our tea and generous portions of delicious food. We left our tea time refreshed and very full!
Over all our assessment is, The English Rose Tearoom is a perfect place to experience British-style afternoon tea. The menu is very reasonably priced at $16.99 per afternoon tea and the food well balanced in flavors and attractively presented. Be sure to print off coupons from their website before you go!