Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Restaurant review: Dotty's Teahouse, Carshalton

Tea, cake, vintage crockery and crafts is right up my street – and now literally down the road as well. Dotty’s Teahouse recently opened in Carshalton in Surrey; I heard about it initially through a Facebook page and when I drove past, wanted to go there right away.
It took over a shop on the corner of the high street and the corner plot gives the perfect shop-front; there are chairs outside, bunting and shabby chic decorations in the windows. Inside, they sell crafts made by local people and have a room at the back where they offer craft workshops – one of which I did last week.
The first time, I went with my mother-in-law for lunch; we sat by the window and it didn’t take long to peruse the menu, which is quite short, at least in terms of food- there are 12 types of tea. In terms of savoury food, the only options are sandwiches – five flavours – or crumpets or toast. I actually love the sound of crumpets right now but we both decided to have sandwiches – tuna mayonnaise and egg mayonnaise.

The sandwiches were nice but very simple, from a mass-produced loaf of sliced white and a tin of tuna. I think doorstep bread – or bread from a bakery – would have given a better impression, even though they did taste very nice. They were served with a small salad and a few crisps, for £4.20.

We had been looking forward to trying the cake; they had a selection along the counter and I went for a slice of lemon and poppy seed while my mother-in-law had coffee cake. The cake was very good – definitely homemade, light and springy with a pleasant flavour. We were able to take our time over lunch and didn’t feel hurried; Dotty’s is a lovely place to visit and I've overheard several people saying they now go in there a lot for tea and cake.
I can also recommend the craft workshops, some of which are aimed at children and some at adults. I did a jewellery making class with Cara Fairbairn, who lives locally and has worked as a jewellery designer for several companies including Vivienne Westwood.

On this occasion we were working with beads, but it was more complicated than it sounds! We each made a pair of earrings, a bracelet and a necklace. Choosing beads and threading them onto the wire was the easy part; the more tricky bit is properly fixing on the clasp, or the part of the earring that goes through your ear - we had three different pairs of pliers for the different jobs.

I obviously didn't do a particularly good job as my bracelet fell apart as soon as I got it home and my the clasp on my necklace came off the next day, but Cara very kindly offered to fix them for me. It was really interesting learning the technique, and it's definitely something I would have a go at again.

The Dotty's staff waited on us throughout the evening, bringing copious amounts of tea and a lovely cream tea of a scone, cream and jam. They mentioned a sewing workshop coming up which I am going to look out for.


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