The London Tea Room: An Anglophile’s dream in St Louis
The thought of real hot tea sounded very welcoming, so last weekend after ambling around the Tower Grove Farmer’s Market we were happy to try a new place (for us) in St Louis—the London Tea Room in the Tower Grove South neighborhood, just a block off the south side of the Tower Grove Park.
This location of the London Tea Room has been open for 5 months, in a re-habbed historic building (it was Hyde Park Beer) but the British owners have another location 4 miles away, open since 2007. I spoke briefly to owner Jackie James and she said they are very happy with this new location.
The tea room was certainly doing well the Saturday morning we were there. The warm and cozy main dining area seats about 25 people and there is limited seating outside too. Down a few steps beyond the counter is the Hyde Park Room, bright and elegant, which is for special Afternoon Teas (reservation required) or special events, like birthdays, baby showers, or anniversaries (reservation required).
The staff, all wearing matching “Tea Shirts”, take your order at the counter and bring it to your table. There are about 80 varieties of loose-leaf tea available, plus all kinds of delectable goodies, from pastries, to English shortbread, to scones, to quiche, all in glass display cases. It’s mostly tea-time goodies, but some light lunch items are also available.
It’s a bit of a dilemma as to which tea to choose. The cafe’s tea options take up four pages of a laminated menu in these categories: breakfast teas, smokey teas, flavored black teas, single estate black tea, oolong tea, green tea, white tea, red tea, and herbal tea. They start at $4 per individual pot, which gives about two and a half cups—more than enough for a relaxing tea and chat session with friends or family.
We opted for a pot each of jasmine green tea, regular Earl grey, Earl Grey with lavender, and the Naughty Vicar (black with a hint of vanilla), plus a shortbread and a spinach and cheese croissant. The staff steeps your tea order behind the counter and carries out the pots of these fragrant teas, in real china pots and we drink from real pottery cups. What a treat.
We (as ex-British colonials) felt right at home with the decorations, which are British/London themed, such as table order numbers with mini London Underground station names, biscuit tins with English themes, miniature Union Jack flags on top of shelves etc. Loose-leaf tea is for sale, plus tea pots and cups, tea cozies (we loved the one shaped like a Scottie dog!) and other fun things linked to tea. We bought a tea cloth (kitchen drying cloth) with a “letter to my son” (see pic), which is hilarious with its typical dry British humor.
Hours: Monday through Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Address: 3128 Morganford Road.
It now offers tea education classes twice a month (starting again in September).
Can buy tea and tea ware there, or online at http://thelondontearoomshop.mysupadupa.com
PS. Take the time to read the words of this the cloth—most visitors to the tea room laugh out loud when they do! (Click on the picture to see it bigger)