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!
5348 Hickory Hollow Parkway
Dancing Girl and I found Shineworthy Tea in Antioch, TN located in a strip mall with ample parking and a large illuminated sign making it very easy to find. Once inside, the shop is large and open with minimal seating - 2 couches facing each other and 3 square tables positioned along floor to ceiling windows. The center of the room is spacious and open. The inside wall of the store housed shelves of silver tea tins, a small glass pastry case and a bar with seating for 6 patrons. A small smattering of tea paraphernalia such as books, pots and cups, are on display for sale. The steely gray, black and white color scheme is modern and monochromatic.
We ordered afternoon tea for one with and extra pot of tea. Choosing the tea was delightful! With over 40 teas to choose from, it took a few minutes to read the descriptions and smell some from a display on the counter. The tea was definitely the highlight of this afternoon tea experience! It quickly arrived at our table, which had been beautifully laid for us after placing our order. The loose tea was perfectly brewed using correct water temperature and steeping time and served over glass warmers. I enjoyed each sip of my countryside blend and Dancing Girl loved her Lapsang Souchong.
Despite the 25 minute wait for our three-tiered tea tray to arrive, the service was friendly. We found chicken salad, egg salad, pimento cheese and Nutella sandwiches, which were all fine, on the top tray. Next tier was a plate of grapes and a few sliced strawberries followed by the bottom tier dessert plate. This was the least appetizing portion of the meal; a selection of commercially prepared, bland tasting cookies and tiny “cake cubes” with thick sugary glazes. Scones were not included in this afternoon tea.
When the tea tray had been removed, we were served a glass flute of chilled Jasmine tea, a square of caramel chocolate and a chocolate truffle. The presentation was very attractive but the tea was floral and sweet and difficult to get down after the sweetness of the food and chocolates.
Overall, our assessment is that Shineworthy Tea is a tea bar which also serves an afternoon tea upon request. The cost was $30 for afternoon tea for one guest, which we shared, and $10 for an additional pot of tea. The total price seemed high for the quality of food and ambiance of the shop.