Today marks the end of my first week at Tea Thyme, and consequently, the end of the first week of the tea room being open. As a result of the tea room being so new, I have the pleasure of learning a new job at the same time as my bosses. We are all in this together!
Although I have mostly been washing dishes this week, I have been enjoying the job. The tea room is open for tea with dessert every day from 11:00 in the morning till 4:00 in the afternoon. However, on Thursdays and Fridays at 2:30 pm, afternoon tea (or high tea) is served by reservation. On Thursday I went in to look at the placement of the dishes and silverware on the tables and noticed that the silver was spotted. I picked up all the silverware, including the reserves, and threw them into the sink. “I’m sorry,” I said, “but I just can’t bear to see high tea served with spotty silverware.” Karen said, “I’m so glad you came in to see us about a job here!”
The reason I have mostly been doing dishes so far is that Karen and Lynn are experimenting with the menu. Once they have the recipes just the way they like them, they can teach me how to make them. I have been trying to help wherever possible. Today I asked Lynn if I could take an order for tea, but I asked her to stand with me and make sure I was doing it right. I could stand a little more practice, but I think I will enjoy serving the customers.
Let me tell you about the customer experience. The tea room has a purple and sage color scheme. There is soft classical music playing. Most of the tables are round and have white linen table cloths on them. The cloth napkins alternate around the table being purple, sage green, and white. Each table has the name of a different famous English person, and there is a flier on the table that tells about that person. These are the tables: Queen Elizabeth II, Shakespeare, the Earl of Carnarvon, Josiah Wedgwood (creator of Wedgwood pottery), Jane Austen, Beatrix Potter, and Winston Churchill.
I must say, the food is almost too beautiful to eat. We have pavlova daily. It is a baked meringue covered with whipped cream and berries. We have a cake of the day, such as today’s lemonade cake. We have scones with clotted cream and jam. (For your information, English scones are not hard triangular pastries with things in them. They are more like sweet biscuits that pull apart nicely.) We have shortbread cookies with icing sugar on top, and we have tea breads — tea brack, bran bread, and cinnamon bread. And for the high tea, there is the addition of a plate of finger sandwiches per person. The plate usually has four different types of sandwiches, and it wouldn’t be high tea without one of the sandwiches being a cucumber sandwich!
We also serve a pot of hot tea, a glass of flavored iced tea, ice water, or lemonade for each person. We have several teas on the menu, but if you happen to have started your culinary adventure in the tea shop and sniffed their one hundred sample teas and found an interesting aroma, you can order a pot of that.
I wish all my friends and family could come to tea!