The English Rose Tea Room in downtown Chattanooga is a fun place to go for a tea time experience. They serve other classic British foods as well.
How many of you have had a place that you’ve wanted to try for years but every time you could have gone there you completely forgot about it? I’ll admit, that was the English Rose for me. When I was first teaching, the British mom of one of the kids in my class worked there part-time. She would come to pick up her daughter looking adorable in her skirt and apron, and I was always curious about this place that she worked. Later, as I became more interested in food and other cultures, I became more curious.
Here we are, though, almost 16 years later, and I’m just now writing about it. And that just because a friend who is still fairly new to town asked me about it, so we decided to go. I’m not sure why, it just never popped up on my radar when we were trying to decide where to go eat! It was more of a “we really need to go there sometime!” sort of place as we passed it on our way to another spot for lunch.
Stephanie and I arrived around 11:30 on a Thursday afternoon and found just a few other tables occupied (the place filled up a little later on before we left). We were led through a small shopping area to the dining area where we were seated and quickly greeted by our server. She talked to us briefly about the menu before leaving us to peruse and make our choices.
The English Rose serves a variety of menu items in addition to tea, mostly traditional British items. I would love to try their cottage pie sometime, and they also serve Cornish pasties, bangers and mash, and a few other classics. It’s a tea room, though, so Stephanie and I decided to go for the Victorian Tea for 2. Victorian Tea for 2 includes your choice of tea for each person, 8 assorted finger sandwiches, a scone for each person (plain, cranberry-almond, or another flavor that I can’t recall) served with clotted cream, raspberry jam, and lemon curd, cheese and crackers, and assorted English biscuits and pastries. The cost for the tea for 2 is $29.95.
Our server brought our our little teapots (I had Earl Grey creme and Stephanie had decaf English breakfast tea) and put a little cozy over them, which she said would keep the pots warm for three hours. I didn’t think to take a photo of the teapots themselves, but as you see, I did get a picture of the cozies. And they certainly did keep the pots warm! Even as I poured out the last of my tea, I had to be careful to not burn my hand!
The finger sandwiches included two each of cheese and tomato, salmon mousse, egg salad, and cucumber. I’m going to be honest, I just wasn’t wowed by any of the sandwiches except the cucumber. I love a good cucumber sandwich, and theirs was delicious! Stephanie chose a plain scone and I chose cranberry almond, and we both found our scones to be delicious with an excellent crumb. She seemed to prefer the raspberry jam on her scones, while I could have licked the little bowl of lemon curd (which they sell jars of in their shop) clean.
There wasn’t much to say about the cheese and crackers except…they were cheese and crackers. As for the biscuits and pastries (biscuits here referring to cookies, of course), there were two chocolate cookies, two shortbread cookies, and two small pieces of Bakewell tart. I found the thick little chocolate cookies to be a little meh, but the shortbread was good and the Bakewell tart was excellent (if you’d like to make Bakewell tart at home, I have a recipe!).
The staff at The English Rose were very sweet and helpful. Our server was very attentive, and I regret that I didn’t get her name. The atmosphere is cute, with muzak playing in the background (Lorde as muzak!) and photos of the Downton Abbey cast hanging up around the dining area (I miss that show soooo much!). We enjoyed browsing the little shop, where you can buy children’s tea sets, tea cups, assorted English foods, and even your own little teapot cozy! The lady who rang us up told us that they will be moving soon and to pay attention to their Facebook page for more information. The English Rose Tea Room is definitely a place to go for an experience (though I will admit that I, having never been to England, cannot speak to its authenticity). Just be sure to feed your meter enough quarters so you don’t end up with a parking ticket like I did!
The English Rose Tea Room is located at 1401 Market Street, Chattanooga, Tennessee, 37402. They are open Tuesday – Saturday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. You can call them at 423-265-5900. For more information, you can check out their website, englishrosetearoom.net or like The English Rose Tea Room on Facebook.