We wandered in, and the lovely owner admitted that they were very busy and we probably should have booked. But - their next booking wasn't for 35 minutes, so if we didn't mind taking our tea quickly, we were welcome to take a seat. His apologetic nature was so charming that we jumped at the chance.
I love the slightly eccentric nature, the cross between a tea shop and an antiques shop - and how very beautiful absolutely everything is. The attention to detail here is incredible.
|The welcome table - everything on display - and around the shop - is for sale!|
|The enormous tea menu, priced to take away|
|The serving counter. Beautiful cakes, scones, tarts and belgian chocolates and enormous tea caddies.|
|Our table in the back room, surrounded by beautiful things|
|Behind our table - fur coats, clocks, and a picnic basket full of silver crockery|
|Beautiful vintage cups, apostle spoons and silver milk and sugar bowls|
|A three tier cake stand! Beautifully presented jam and cream.|
Anteaques is a really simple, elegant concept. I think that's why I love it. From the selection of jams (raspberry, apricot, lavendar or jasmine), to the silver brush that our waitress cleaned the table with as we sat down, everything has been thought through and it really works. The trend for mismatching crockery and wobbling furniture in cafes seems to be staying - usually I'm not a fan - but in Anteaques it doesn't feel forced for effect or fashion, it feels completely natural.
Our homemade scones were delicious, generously filled with sultanas and served with huge portions of jam and proper clotted cream. My Devonian friend was impressed! The jams (we went for the florals) were incredible too, and the teas were lovely. We opted for a chilli chai and a cherry almond black tea.
Despite being tight for time, it was a marvellous break from the rain outside, and I thought it was particularly nice that the owner apologised for our not being able to take time over our tea as we paid. I get the impression that this cafe really cares about its customers and its tea - I love it.
Pots of tea and scones for two: £10.20
17 Clerk Street