Dates visited: Monday 11th February 2019 & Wednesday 16th June 2021
Lily’s Licensed Restaurant & Tearoom is rather hidden from passing shoppers, being in College Court, a small alley between Westgate and the grounds of Gloucester Cathedral. Despite its small frontage it has a large room for those taking tea, as it extends behind the neighbouring Gloucester Arts and Craft Centre. Interior decor is firmly set in the 1950s and recently refurbished. It is relocating in November 2021.
Lily’s offers a range of menus, serving an extensive range of breakfasts and a smaller range of lunches. Their afternoon tea menu offers four different full teas. There’s also a range of wines, spirits and bottled beers available. Rather unusually for a tea room, there’s no selection of cakes, and only one cake – with just one slice remaining – was on display at the counter.
I opted for a Tailor’s Tea, consisting of four finger sandwiches – two of cheddar and apple chutney, two of egg mayonnaise – with salad garnish, two of the daintiest mini scones – one fruit, one plain – with clotted cream and strawberry jam with strawberry garnish, two small pieces of warm Bakewell tart and a pot of Clipper green tea. The Tailor’s Tea also features a ‘hidden mouse’ – a dob of chutney placed on the saucer behind the teacup.
Service was excellent, but overall the meal was rather uninspiring for the price, £13.50, particularly the chilled strawberry jam – the only cold item in the meal – and the Clipper green tea. Whatever the ethical qualities of Clipper Tea – whose teas are the only offering at Lily’s – I’ve yet to have a pot of the stuff that amounted to more than coloured warm water.
On my second visit, I opted for a ploughmans, a chocolate brownie, and a pot of Clipper green tea, which came to £15.70. The brownie was a nice combination of textures, with a slightly gooey centre. The ploughmans was filling but let down by the butter being so cold as to be unspreadable, despite the half-baguette being served warm. Grated cheese in a ploughmans is also rather unusual.