One for all you afternoon tea lovers out there… Now you can get your hands on the popular afternoon teas offered by Coombe Abbey Hotel but in the heart of Coventry in one of its most historic buildings.
St Mary’s Guildhall in Coventry’s Cathedral Quarter has recently reopened after a £6million restoration project. The Guildhall, widely recognised as one of the finest medieval guildhalls in the UK, survived the blitz of 1940, and has now been restored and refurbished into a major visitor attraction for the city.
On top of all that, its vaulted undercroft – believed to be the oldest part of the building – is now home to ‘Tales of Tea’, an underground cafe operated by No Ordinary Hospitality Management (NOHM), which also operates four-star Coombe Abbey Hotel.
On the menu will include freshly-baked breakfast options from Danish pastries and croissants to toasted teacakes, toasted fruit loaf and crispy bacon rolls. Tales of Tea will also serve up light lunches, ranging from heirloom tomato salad and chef’s soup of the day to steak and ale pie, roasted chicken ciabatta, Catch of the Day and vegetarian Strozzapreti pasta.
But the piece de resistance will be two quintessentially British traditional afternoon teas inspired by Coventry’s rich textile history – particularly its medieval wool and silk ribbon trade.
A Draper’s Classic Afternoon Tea comes with a selection of sandwiches with fillings including oak smoked salmon, black pepper and cucumber; slow cooked ham, plum tomato and Pommery mustard and Mature Croxton Manor cheese with Country Garden chutney.
Other highlights include a savoury Somerset Brie and fig tartlet, mini strawberry and coconut dome, banana bread cake with Biscoff cream and crumb, edible chocolate flower pot and a baked lemon and raspberry tart, as well as a warm scone, clotted cream and strawberry jam.
The Weaver’s Savoury Afternoon Tea features a smoked haddock, spring onion and chive croquet with chunky tartare sauce; Warwickshire Whizzer sausage roll; savoury Somerset Brie and Fig Tartlet, Malt Kiln Farm pork pie and freshly baked cheese scone with Estate Dairy salted cultured butter. Sweet treats are an edible chocolate flower pot of Belgian chocolate mousse and candied orange, and banana bread cake with Biscoff cream and crumb.
Both are priced from £21.50 and a special afternoon tea menu for children has also been created including finger sandwiches, soft fruit jelly, a mini brownie bite, banana bread and a warm scone with jam and clotted cream, priced £8.95.
You can choose from a range of eight bespoke loose-leaf teas including black lemon tea and ginger, English breakfast, chai spice, chocolate, Moroccan mint, red berry and rose petals or rum arabica. Coffee is also on offer, including ethical and fairtrade Grand Cru Coffees by Café Du Monde ranging from El Salvador, Kenyan, Sumatra, Ethiopian to Swiss Water Decaffeinated.
Other options include Mercer’s Sparkling Afternoon Tea served with a glass of Prosecco for £27 per person, Champagne Afternoon Tea for £31 per person and a cream tea at £12.95 is another option with warm freshly baked scones, strawberry jam, whipped Cornish clotted cream and a choice of loose-leaf tea.
Ron Terry, NOHM’s Group Operations Director, said: ‘Tales of Tea is a sympathetically refurbished luxury heritage setting to open in the heart of Coventry city centre dedicated to afternoon teas, lunch and drinks, and it caters for up to 70 people.
“A new menu has been launched as part of the experience and we have worked with top UK and local suppliers in order to source the highest quality ingredients.
“By redesigning the beautiful, historic undercroft cafe space specifically for this purpose, we’re opening an exciting new chapter in St Mary’s Guildhall’s history.
“We’ve combined the best of Coombe Abbey Hotel’s afternoon teas with the history and grandeur of this fascinating building to create a truly special afternoon tea experience.
“We have people travelling from across the wider region to experience our afternoon teas at Coombe Abbey Hotel and at the moment we sell out every single day. We believe they are perfectly suited for Tales of Tea at St Mary’s Guildhall and will allow people to either experience them in a new setting or for the very first time.
“Our aim is for Tales of Tea to become renowned for afternoon teas not just in Coventry but nationally!”
Councillor Jim O’Boyle, Cabinet Member for Jobs, Regeneration and Climate Change, said: “St Mary’s Guildhall is a prized asset for Coventry, and its transformation and restoration over recent years has been stunning.
“Tales of Tea at the Undercroft is further evidence of the detailed work that has been undertaken and it is going to provide a great experience for visitors.
“The Guildhall is already proving to be a significant tourist and cultural attraction for the city and with the addition of the catering offer I’m sure it’s popularity will grow in the coming months. The Guildhall was always hidden gem and now we are seeing the building in all its glory.”
Tales of Tea can also be hired for private parties and celebrations for up to 90 people, including birthdays, anniversaries and baby showers.
To make a reservation or party booking at St Mary’s Guildhall’s new Tales of Tea tea room between 10am and 4.30pm call a member of the team on 02476 430 535. For further information visit https://www.stmarysguildhall.co.uk/cafes-in-coventry/