Boswell’s of Oxford is an institution. It’s always been there, for those little things that you just can’t get anywhere else or for those quality items that you need for your home. So when I was asked if I could attend the launch party for their new tea room, I jumped at the chance, especially as there was a promise of tea.
After over 275 years of serving the people of Oxford, Boswells are introducing a tea room for the first time in the history of the store. The 1738 Tea Room Café will officially be opened on Saturday 28th November with a visit from Santa himself. The cafe is set on the first floor of Boswell’s and looks set to be a calming port in the busy streets of Oxford.
There will be a delicious range of teas, cakes, pastries and sandwiches, ideal for satisfying any tea craving. Products in the tea room café will be supplied by local brands with Peros Coffee, Happy Cakes, Truly Scrumptious, Natural Bread Company, Oxford Cheese Company, Limes Farm, Viva Las Cakes, Stephanie Almeida Bespoke Cakes and Brightwell Vineyard.
During the launch, we were treated to cake decorating courtesy of Happy Cakes and tea tasting from Twinnings. I had no idea how different loose tea is from tea bags or that you can get tea that tastes exactly like Ferrero Rocher. The lovely ladies at Happy Cakes also said I was a bit of pro when it came to decorating my cupcake and Phil said it tasted delicious!
Thank you to Boswell’s for inviting me and for my fab goody bag!
We didn’t have much a bank holiday planned, but we did want to relax as much as possible. So we decided to head into Oxford for a bit of breakfast and a bit of shopping. I’d seen on Twitter that the Jam Factory had a new breakfast menu so was really keen to give it a try, mainly because it contained pancakes! My favourite breakfast of all time! I had a quick look at the menu to see if there were any options with it (I’m partial to a fried egg or two with my pancakes!) & there were a few. You could have banana, blueberry compote or chocolate chips with it. I opted for blueberry compote, imagining that it would come in small dish on the side. I also ordered a chai latte, mainly because I was curious to see how it would taste, as it’s not a particularly common drink. My OH ordered a breakfast burrito & an orange juice.
The drinks arrived first & I was pleasantly surprised by my chai latte. It was really tasty, lots of spice without it being overpowering. The only thing wrong with it is that it wasn’t warm enough for my tastes. I do like my chai & my tea really hot, and this is a common complaint I have when ordering chai in cafes.
Then the food arrived. I was pretty disappointed. Not only were my pancakes covered in the compote (not what I was expecting or what I wanted) but they’d also been covered in icing sugar. What is this obsession that cafes have in this country with dusting everything with icing sugar?! Not necessary! The pancakes tasted great but they were a little on the small side and I could’ve done with 1 or 2 more. I really enjoy having breakfast out – it feels really decadent. So when I don’t get what I’m expecting, I’m always disappointed & I felt that we shouldn’t have bothered, even my OH was disappointed with his burrito as it wasn’t very warm.
I really like the Jam Factory. I like what they do & it has a great atmosphere. But we felt that paid a lot of money for very little breakfast, especially when we could’ve had a bigger, more filling breakfast elsewhere in Oxford, for less money. I’ll happily go back to the Jam Factory, for lunch or elevenses but I won’t be having breakfast there again. Such a shame.
I love a good mooch about an antique centre. It’s like a step back in time & it’s great seeing lots of old bits & pieces and imagining them in my home. Last Saturday we went to Lassco Three Pigeons at Great Milton, Oxfordshire. The thing I like about Lassco is that they always have something new, something you’ve never seen before, something that you’d expect to see in a stately home so it’s always a real adventure! We were on the look out for a few things – new tiles for my fireplace, lampshades, birthday presents for me and anything we can find for the garden. We did pretty well!
I was drawn to the framed images of butterflies that they had upstairs. I’d seen some lovely ones in Home Barn, but sadly, they were out of my price range. These are much more affordable and really lovely. We also saw a gorgeous set of green tiles for the fireplace but we’re just deciding whether it’s worth replacing the ones we have. We’ve already got a lot of work to do in cleaning it up! Plus it’s missing it’s basket on the front, so it was great to get advice on whether it’s worth doing or not.
We saw this gorgeous stained glass, which I really love – just wish we had somewhere to put it! We also saw these prison doors, which were really unusual. Walking around outside is a real experience. They have lots of things that are amazing & I think they do a real service by salvaging all that they do.
They had lots of great things for the garden. We’re looking for something to edge the borders & they had quite a few things so we’ll be back once we’ve taken the measurements. We’d like to use reclaimed materials as much as possible. Not only is it great to recycle, but it also makes the garden a bit more interesting.
After a good look around, we stopped in the cafe for a bite to eat. I ordered scrambled egg on toast and a pot of tea. I was very impressed when my pot of tea came with a second pot of hot water. I loved this! I remember this happening a lot when I was younger but it seems to have gone out of fashion. As a massive tea addict, I want my pot of tea to last as long as possible so this was a real treat. I was even more impressed when my lunch came out – the eggs were piled high on thick cut toast. There was so much of it, I couldn’t finish it. Very tasty, great value for money & service with a smile. We’ll definitely be heading back!
Yesterday afternoon I had some time to kill between a meeting & my Cath Kidston Craft event (more on that later!). Oxford City Guide had tweeted that The Rose had been listed as one of the top ten tea rooms in Britain. So I thought I’d give it a go. I like tea & cake so it seemed like a win-win. I read through the menu beforehand, obviously, and saw a few things that I could eat. Off I went.
Upon arrival, I was greeted by a very nice waitress. The tea room wasn’t too full but it wasn’t empty either. I was given a tea menu but was torn between a sandwich & a cake. I had to ask for the sandwich menu but went for a delicious flour-less chocolate & almond cake. It came with a decent sized dollop of cream on the side. I opted for the Assam tea. It was lush. And the pot seemed to go on for ever & it didn’t stew. I stayed for a while, reading my book. The only thing it could’ve done with was a little bit more atmosphere – maybe a bit of music. When I was ready to go, I paid my bill & popped to the loo. The stairs were, um, small but this wasn’t the worst thing. When I got downstairs there was a hideous smell. It made me feel sick. If I’d gone down there first, I wouldn’t have been able to stay. I needed fresh air. The loos are tiny & the hand drier isn’t positioned well. A bit of a let down & it spoilt my time there. I’ve been in way better tea rooms & The Rose doesn’t fit into my top 10. Maybe top 15, but that’s as far as it’d go.