Tea drinking is a global ritual. In Marrakech, you can’t wander around the souks without being ushered in by a street stall owner to enjoy a cup of sugary mint tea. In Malaysia, tea plantations stretch for miles across the country and are a must-see on the travelers trail, where black tea is harvested and brewed to perfection. In China, its inhabitants are said to drink the most tea in the world, closely followed by India, where the well renowned ‘Darjeeling’ leaf is grown and enjoyed in masses. Personally, however, I think it’s us Brits who linger at the top of the tea-drinking ranks. We are a nation where drinking tea is part of the everyday and lies at the very core of our culture. Indeed, whilst I can’t think of starting my day without a lovely brew, there’s nothing more quintessentially British than a classic cream tea with scones, jam and clotted cream or afternoon tea, with cakes, scones and cucumber sandwiches. Which is why when I discovered Pettigrew Tea Rooms, one of the newest additions to Cardiff’s growing cafe scene, I couldn’t resist stopping in for a pot-ter.
Perfectly located at the entrance to Bute Park, near the Millennium Stadium, Pettigrew Tea Rooms is close enough to the center of Cardiff to make it obtainable and far enough inside the gates of Bute Park, Cardiff’s beautiful walled gardens and home of the River Taf, for a slice of tranquility. They serve a lovely range of teas, including Earl Grey, Organic Lavender Grey, Sencha Green Tea and Angel Peach Tea; a delicate blend of Sencha green tea and fruity peach. I had the Angel Peach and was pleased to find upon its arrival that all PT teas are loose leaf and come served in a large pot for one with beautiful bone china tea-cups and a strainer, so you don’t have to fish out the brewed leaves with your teaspoon – which would be terribly uncouth, wouldn’t it?
There’s also a good selection of homemade cakes, lovingly displayed in a glass cabinet inside the cafe, which is set in The West Lodge, an extension of Cardiff Castle, just a few meters away.
Sandwiches on the menu sound delicious and when I go again - which I definitely will – I’ll be trying the beetroot and goats cheese salad.
But what most will be after in the next coming weeks with the onset of the Queen’s Jubilee is Pettigrew’s afternoon tea. At £13.50 a pop or £24.95 for two, it includes your choice of fine loose leaf tea, a selection of mixed elegant finger sandwiches, two scones, local fruit preserve, clotted cream & your choice of cake – a very good deal indeed. Especially when compared with the price of the afternoon tea at Cliveden House in Berkshire where the winners of this weeks task on The Apprentice were sent after breaking deals for online deal-of-the-day company KeyNoir. At a staggering £550 per person, tea at Cliveden includes white truffles, Beluga Cavier, Da Hong Pao, a rare tea which is harvested from one-thousand-year-old plants and a glass of Dom Perignon Rose. Whilst sounding delightful, I’d much rather save myself a pretty penny and take a “leaf” out of Alan Sugar’s book by grabbing a deal when I can see one and celebrating Queen Liz’s 60 year reign with a traditional tea at Pettigrew Tea Rooms, ta.