Date visited: Wednesday 16th October 2019
In many tea rooms, the cakes take pride of place with the tea offering often in a distant second place. In contrast, at Comins Tea Houses the tea is most definitely the principal item for attention with food subservient to the leaf.
Comins is a tea merchant with branches in Bath and Sturminster Newton. But in addition to selling high quality loose leaf teas they also serve tea to those visiting. The food on offer is mainly inspired by the countries from which they obtain their teas. Thus the short menu includes light meals of Indian, Japanese and Chinese food though, in a nod to more traditional tea rooms, they also offer open sandwiches and have a range of cakes on display at their counter. Formal afternoon tea is only available if booked in advance. There is a set menu with two similar options, both for £10.
The menu for leaf teas is significantly longer than the food menu, and each tea is served with a timer and advice on how long it should be brewed for and how best served. Coffee is not on the menu – this is the purest of tea houses.
Comins Bath Tea House occupies a narrow building, with tables for those taking tea towards the rear of the building. Decoration is simple and modern, and the tables and teawares have Comins branding. The staff know their teas well and are happy to advise on which tea would meet their customers tastes.
I chose to have pork, ginger, cabbage and spring onion gyoza (dumplings), a piece of cherry, almond, coconut and pistachio cake, and a pot of gyokuro green tea. The tea came with a timer, set for one minute, and enough water hot water for four infusions. At a set meal price of £10 this seemed quite reasonable, especially when one considers that Comins sell gyokuro loose leaf tea at £10 for 50 grams. As one might expect, the tea was exquisite. The gyoza, which came with a chilli sauce and soy sauce, were also very good.