Dates visited: Thursdays 11th May and 21st September 2023
First impressions of the Buckingham Tea Room are of a very traditional establishment. It is situated in a building called ‘The Lower Shop’ which is Grade II listed by Historic England and dates from the seventeenth century. Inside, the decor includes plentiful displays of traditional floral bone china, and furniture in a style befitting the eighteenth century. Things become slightly less traditional once one looks at the menu.
The Buckingham Tea Room has a single room with six tables of varying sizes for those wishing to take tea. On the day I visited, this ranged from tables for two to a table for a party of eight. Unusually there’s no counter. Instead the kitchen area is separated from the tea room by swing doors and customers needing service ring a small bell on their table. There is a display of cakes, though this is near the back of the tea room and difficult to reach if the large table is occupied.
The menu has separate breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea sections. The breakfast offering ranges from several lighter options to a full English breakfast. The lunch menu is also quite extensive, but notably most of the main items are served with rice rather than potatoes, reflecting the Spanish origin of the proprietor. Those wanting a lighter (though not by much) lunch can choose from a selection of jacket potatoes or hot baguettes. In comparison, the choice for afternoon tea is more limited, with just scones or four cakes on offer when I visited. On the beverages menu, thirteen different teas are offered, as well as coffees, hot chocolate, soft drinks, wines and cocktails.
On my first visit I chose a ham and cheese hot baguette, carrot cake, and a pot of Original Breakfast tea. The baguette was served with salad in a raspberry dressing, though a more conventional dressing was also offered. The baguette was very well filled, both with ham and with cheese. The raspberry dressing made an enjoyable and unusual combination with the salad, though was rather sweet. The carrot cake, rather than being the rather heavy cake usually served with that description, was two small delicate tart-shaped cakes, well-filled with a very sweet cream and topped with strands of carrot. In total this very filling, though exceptionally sweet, meal came to £16.60.
On my second visit, I again chose a ham and cheese hot baguette, but this time had chocolate brownies and a pot of jasmine tea. The baguette was much as before, though slightly less well filled. Once again, the cake was unusual, with an exceptionally soft, almost too wet, interior for a brownie, and an exterior that was more cake-like than is customary for brownies. However they were quite chocolatey and filling. The jasmine tea was served with pieces of lemon, which I’ve not experienced before, but would perhaps have helped balance the tea’s flavour by the time the large pot had been emptied and the tea infused for quite a long time. The meal this time came to £20.85, over £4 more than four months earlier. With the brownies apparent costing over £6, it’s fortunate that I took plenty of time to savour them.
The Buckingham Tea Room is, at the time of writing, open from 9.30 am to late afternoon from Wednesdays to Sundays.