Date visited: Monday 18th November 2019
Tearooms are often presented as being in combination with something else. Almost always, that something else is intended to indicate a wider menu than ‘tearoom’ might suggest to potential patrons, such as ‘Tearoom and Restaurant’, ‘Tearoom and Kitchen’ or, regretfully, ‘Tearoom and Coffee Shop’. As its name suggests, 7 Flowers & Tea in Reading is rather different, being a tearoom and florist.
With less than seven tables available for those taking tea, yet surprisingly busy on a Monday lunchtime, 7 Flowers & Tea can afford to be somewhat expensive. The tea menu is quite extensive – almost twenty teas on a well-filled side of A4 paper – though tisanes and teas with floral additions dominate. In contrast, the food menu is quite limited – a rather sparsely covered sheet of A5 paper – offering fewer than ten desserts, which include a couple of gluten free options. A choice of four ice creams were also offered. But if you’re after a filling meal, this is not the place for you as there are no hot meals or sandwiches on their food menu, just desserts and ice cream. 7 Flowers & Tea is definitely a place for those preferring to savour their food in small portions.
There are considerably more than seven flowers in 7 Flowers & Tea, with the wall behind the row of tables being adorned with foliage, whilst opposite are a range of floral offerings for sale. The floral decoration does make it a little difficult to relax, as one cannot sit back on the bench seats without leaning into the foliage.
I chose to have a skinny blueberry muffin, which was none the worse for its alleged skinniness, and a pot of sakura bloom tea, for £6.25. The waitress, who is also the florist, assured me that the sakura bloom tea was a tea and not a tisane. The tea was barely if at all discernible, and the sakura bloom flavour was almost most delicate, though slightly stronger by the end. The tea was served in a large glass teapot accompanied by a diminutive glass tea cup. The pot was kept hot on a glass stand above a tealight. The tea came with brown and sugar cubes, honey and artificial sweeteners, though this particular tea was so delicate that it would not have withstood any sweetening. This serving arrangement is reserved for the floral teas and tisanes. Those patrons choosing one of the few conventional teas on the menu were served their tea in large pottery mugs.