With less than 12 days to go till Christmas, you will probably identify with one of two camps; the smug “I completed all my Christmas shopping in the Black Friday sales, ha!”, or “I am in a state of perpetual panic, I cannot find a single thing despite trawling all 100 high street stores and 2000 internet sites”.
I have news for you, regardless of whichever camp you fall in. If you’re celebrating getting everything wrapped up for Christmas (see what I did there?), or continue to look wild-eyed in terror, then you are in dire need of a time-out. And I cannot think of a better time-out than an afternoon tea in a quaint tea room.
The 1750 Tea Room at Royal Crown Derby is one such place where I found myself this weekend hiding out from miserable weather and an angry, anthracite sky. I love fine bone china and I adore afternoon tea. Would The 1750 Tea Room at Royal Crown Derby soothe my slightly panicked soul (no I haven’t done my Christmas shopping, yes I NEED an afternoon tea treat)?
We arrived a little earlier as I wanted to take a look around premises. The Royal Crown Derby Retail Shop is strategically placed adjacent to the tea room, which is a great for a spot of either pre- or post-afternoon tea retail therapy. I am seeing an increasing number of eateries offering more than just food, and The Royal Crown Derby Retail Shop just happens to be at the forefront of this trend (the tea room was renovated in 2014).
Rows upon rows of elegant fine bone china was a sight to behold. I had fallen in love with the Mikado design when I visited The Great British Festival last month, and it was nothing short of spectacular to see it in its home.
Isn’t it funny how time magically flies by faster than Usain Bolt, when one is enjoying themselves, and somehow drags when say, one is at work? 30 minutes’ disappeared in what felt like the snap of my fingers in The Royal Crown Derby Retail Shop (I could honestly spend hours in there and not get bored).
We entered The 1750 Tea Room at Royal Crown Derby for our 12:30pm booking, and what struck me first was the space. It’s a delectably expansive area filled with light clinking of plates and hushed conversation – which I happen to think is the optimum atmosphere for taking afternoon tea.
The dinner plate announcing our reservation was a nice touch. We chose the “Afternoon Tea Your Way”, which consisted of sandwiches on a selection of brown and white bread with three different fillings, four cakes, and choice of beverage. For brevity sake, we had:
- Grated mature Cheddar cheese and ham
- Smoked salmon and cream cheese
- Grated mature cheddar cheese and red onion chutney
- Scone, clotted cream, raspberry jam
- Chocolate fudge cake
- Coffee cake
- Coconut and raspberry tart
There is an excellent selection of specialty loose leaf tea. The 1750 house tea blend is delicate in flavour and produces a gorgeously warm orange coloured tea. I also tried the 1750 house blend coffee which is a great sipping coffee; somehow the addition of a few drops of cream brought out the delicious caramel tones in the coffee. Both the tea and coffee is supplied by Northern Tea Merchants, Derbyshire’s tea and coffee specialists who augment traditionalism and a sense of occasion at The 1750 Tea Room at Royal Crown Derby.
The sandwiches were freshly made, crust-less and filling. The mature Cheddar had a good complexity, whilst the punchy smoked salmon was tempered by the gentle acidic tang of the cream cheese.
The cakes were very good and home-made, and having gluten-free options was a nice touch. My favourite was the coconut and raspberry tart, whose pastry with a short crumb was perfect, and which I am still dreaming about five days’ later.
The 1750 Tea Room at Royal Crown Derby is a lovely place to be. Tableware used was the Mikado design which happens to be one of my favourite ranges. Taking afternoon tea here has a sense of occasion, as you are keenly aware of the history behind The Royal Crown Derby.
I have vowed to myself, that I will be returning in the new year, or (most likely), earlier, when I feel a time-out is necessary. Their scones are very special, which is why I am sharing a close-up of these little beauties.
The 1750 Tea Room at Royal Crown Derby has various menus, including the ‘Afternoon Tea Your Way’ option. Their Saturday Special is a lovely little treat where you can nibble on a slice of home-made cake and a pot of tea or cafetiere of coffee for just £4.00 per person.
Rating: (1: Hate: I’d rather eat my shoe – 10: Love: I’d sell my kidney for a meal here)
Café name: The 1750 Tea room, Royal Crown Derby
Owner: Kevin Oakes
Open since: business since 1750/1750 Tea room renovated in 2014
Address: 194 Osmaston Road, Derby DE23 8JZ
Tel: 01332 712 833
Opening times: Monday – Saturday 10:00am – 4:00pm
Wheelchair friendly? Yes
Caters for dietary requirements / allergies? Yes
How to make reservation: Telephone to make a reservation for larger parties. Walk-in’s are welcome and although management try their best to accommodate, a seating is not guaranteed at busy times.
Chef: Matthew Allen
Quietest table: Any table towards the left-hand side of the tea room is quiet, although it is generally a peaceful space.
How to get there: parking is available on-site. The 1750 Tea Room at Royal Crown Derby is conveniently situated less than 5 minutes by taxi or less than a 10-minute walk away from Derby train station.
Whilst in the area: Get the full Visitor Centre experience. After indulging in afternoon tea, visit The Royal Crown Derby Retail Shop where you can pick up collectibles, investments pieces and outlet products. The Royal Crown Derby boasts an accredited Museum which holds one of the largest Derby porcelain collections and is complemented by an Exhibition and guided Factory Tour. Here you can discover how world-renowned fine bone china items are created.