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Saturday, 23 March 2013

The Loft Tea Rooms

In the past few years there has been a resurgence of interest in all things to do with tea, probably because as a nation we are going through a difficult patch. As we all know the British like nothing better than slurping and gulping down buckets of tea at times of trouble, "batten down the hatches and put the kettle on love, we might be here for a while!"  There has also been a huge increase in retro and vintage tea cups and associated china.

One such coastal tea room, The Loft (Tea by the Sea), situated in the village of Tollesbury opened in April 2011, in a converted Sail Loft. It will come as no surprise that sail lofts were originally used by
sail-makers to spread out their sales. 

Yesterday, it seemed that the whole village of Tollesbury had actually descended upon The Loft. Every nook and cranny was taken and we just managed to squeeze into a corner table. The place was rammed to the rafters with young mothers and their offspring, all very well behaved of course, chatting and enjoying speciality tea and scrumptious handmade cake.

Step back in time as you enter the tea room. The restaurant is decorated with an array of vintage china with many designs that I can remember as a child.  

The light egg shell blue melamine table tops and chairs have also been chosen with care to give that retro feel. Even the owner, Sheila, is dressed in retro clothing, well, I hope she was! The whole experience is very enjoyable. It's one of those places where the volume control on the vocals just keeps going up and up. It's vibrant!

Local sourcing is important and many ingredients come from the surrounding area including fresh locally baked bread, Wicks Manor meat and Essex Birds Chicken. 

Speciality teas, which are their forte, include Suffolk Special Blend; Earl Grey Blue Lady; Green Gunpowder; Egyptian Mint and Glamour which all sound very dramatic for cups of tea! 

The Suffolk Special Blend was excellent with a rich full flavour. I need a tea now.....

The menu is what I would call simple, uncomplicated and well executed including freshly made sandwiches, soup and bread (£3.95); Panini (£4.95); Homemade Cakes (£2.50); Mugs of tea (£1.45); Cappuccino (£1.90)  I don't think there is much time to faff in this little tea room. Gluten free cakes are also available.

We had a cake take-away!
Well, was it worth the 60 mile round trip from Chelmsford? Yes, absolutely! 

The tea room is open from 10:30 am until 3 pm and interestingly only open between Tuesday to Saturday according to their blog
The Loft, Woodrolfe Road, Maldon CM9 8SE