I was a very lucky lady this week as I was taken to the Dean Street Townhouse for afternoon tea by the lovely ladies of Freud Communications. It was wonderful and what a treat. The Townhouse hotel and all day restaurant is made up of 3 houses built in the mid 17oo’s, outside is plain and simple with white-painted brickwork. There are a few tables and chairs, on either side of the main door, perfect for the weather-braving folks to watch the world go by or for alfresco dining whilst inside has more personality than you can shake a stick at. I was greeted at the desk and after leaving my broken and battered brolly in the corner, I was led through the bar and restaurant area to our table in the ‘tea’ room. Four large high-backed velvet armchairs were awaiting and I, gratefully, sank into one of them with plenty of time (I was early) to survey my surroundings and take it all in. The table was adorned with all the normal accoutrements required of a tea-time table with the exception of all of it being really nice and of obvious quality. The silver sugar bowl I was particularly taken with:- an solid and sturdy affair of a circular nature divided down the middle to create two sections one side being for white sugar cubes and the other brown. The other thing that piqued my interest was the ornate silver goblet on the table next to me. It was tall and long-stemmed like a champagne glass yet had a spoon in it which led me to believe that it had once contained pudding rather than wine. I never did find out which pudding. I’ll just have to go back.
The service was impeccable with the waitress patiently describing all the puddings available such as raspberry cranachan (a traditional Scottish dessert) and blueberry and marshmallow coupe (which isn’t a edible car but another type of pudding that I never fully understood). Having just come from the Laduree press show where I drooled over their chocolate mousse bauble cake from afar, I couldn’t not settle for the chocolate mousse and roasted peaches. It was utterly divine.
There is art work adorning all the walls from sketches to prints to embroidered pieces, wooden floorboards, floor-to-ceiling velvet curtains, beautifully traditional solid pieces of wooden furniture- a real hybrid of stuff. The Townhouse is very much in the present and yet there is an embracing of the era in which the building was build, all seemingly effortless and coming together smoothly. The last thing that is worth mentioning are the loos. Down in what would have once been the houses’ cellars the wall and curved ceiling are tiled in white gloss brick-tiles, there are bright flashes of red wall and each of the three tiled cubicles has an ornate Victorian ‘waterclostet’ each complete with their own sink and antique mirror. You may just have to go to believe me.
Definitely worthy of time spent. Get out the mayhem of town and treat yourself to an oasis of civility and gentility. You’ll come out a lady for sure, even if a slightly rotund one.