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Sunday, 30 March 2008

Tea break

Shipp's Tearooms
4 Park St
020 7407 2692

It's late Saturday and after visiting my hairdresser, I decide to venture into Borough Market to pick up a few bits and bobs. Twenty minutes later, I'm jammed in a massive throng of people all pushing in different directions to wherever there is free grub to be sampled. The olive stall is one step away from me, but I can't physically move to get to it. I let the crowd carry me away then ride the next surge towards the stall I need. While it's great that the market is so popular, buying a block of tofu and some olives shouldn't be this unpleasant.

When I finally bust my way out of the crowd, I'm in need of a place where I can eat, chillax and nurse my trodden toes.

Carters and I settle on some afternoon tea action at Shipp's tearooms - I was drawn to its kitchy, mismatching chairs and teacup and teapot aesthetic that somehow it suggests that everything will be delicious and homemade.
Not so. The scones are OK but are a little dry and heavy. A thick slathering of clotted cream and excellent raspberry jam save the day.
The vegetarian selection of sandwiches arrive. I don't know about you, but eating eight triangles of cucumber and cheese gets pretty repetitive. I spread some raspberry jam on a few of my cheese sandwiches to keep my tastebuds from going into a coma.
The cakes, however, are much better - Carters's chocolate cake is just like the kind I remember eating as a child and I have an apple almond tart which is nice but not as good as the chocolate cake.

If it's atmosphere and a getaway from the maddening crowds you're after, this could be the place for you; just give the vegetarian sangers a miss and go straight for for the tea and cakes.

Yay! If you get a seat in the window on a Saturday afternoon, the people watching is superb.
Boo! It's just not as great as the decor leads you to believe.
Cost Afternoon tea for two around £35, includes tea, scones, sandwiches and a slice of cake
Veg friendly 2/5
Service 3.5/5

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