My friend, Doll Face, and I like tea. Alot. Particularly the tea that they serve at The English Rose Tea Room in Carefree, AZ. We’ve been to the English Tea Room awhile ago, but thought it was time for a return visit.
From the minute we stepped out of the car in front of the tearoom, we felt like we were transformed to a tiny tea house in the English countryside (we mentally blocked out the cactus in the distance).
The front patio, surrounded by an iron fence, is lush with containers of beautifully decorated silk flowers, ornate murals of roses, chandeliers strung with tea accessories, and kitschy garden decor. Iron bistro tables dotted the patio, set with bone china, linens, and silver.
We stepped through the front door and were instantly captivated by the “magic” of the room. I don’t do “foo-foo” and frilly, but this was delightful. While in some settings, the lace and sparkle might be too “over the top”, here everything was arranged so beautifully, it was enchanting!
We discovered this was more than a tearoom, this was an exquisite gift shop as well. The front “lobby” held treasures for purchase: Victorian style linens, scented candles, tins of Harney & Sons Tea, antique bone china, handmade clothing, and “shabby chic” decor for the home.
The main dining room is similarly decorated, with the addition of wall art work, which is also for sale.
A hat trunk is tucked away in the back, full of frilly wide-brimmed hats for patrons to use while at tea. The weather was beautiful, so we decided to eat on the patio.
The menu offered traditional English fare such as Beans on Toast, as well as Cottage Pie. There were several varieties of sandwiches, salads and quiche, as well as a soup of the day. We both decided on the “Earl of Sandwich”, a tray of six tea sandwiches which included: chicken with nutmeg and tarragon, edged with walnuts; English hot house cucumber with orange mint butter, and smoked salmon and cream cheese with lemon.
The English Tea Room offers a Formal Afternoon Tea, complete with tea sandwiches, scones, petit fours, and a pot of tea. They also offer three types of lighter tea as well; Fireside tea with crumpets and a pot of tea, Cream Tea with scones and a pot of tea, and Just dessert tea with a scone, petit fours, and a pot of tea. They even offer a Nursery tea for children, complete with decaffeinated tea or hot chocolate. We chose the Cream Tea, and saved our plate of vanilla scones for dessert.
Our tea came first, Harney and Sons Tea Paris tea. The Paris blend is a black tea with hints of fruit and lemon bergamot. I have had several varieties of Harney and Sons tea, but Paris is my favorite. It is so yummy!! The tea room steeps the tea in loose leaf form, and then provides an infuser to strain the tea into delicate china tea cups. Cream and sugar cubes are available to stir into the tea.
Our sandwiches were brought next, and looked almost too good to eat! Bite size sandwiches circled the plate, accompanied by fresh fruit. Each sandwich was better than the one before, but the creamy Smoked Salmon was my favorite.
The vanilla scones were so big, we had to break them into sections to eat them. After spreading each section with devon cream and strawberry preserves, we took a bite and were transported to heaven! The scones were crunchy outside and sweet and flaky inside, with a light vanilla taste.
The owner, Joanne Gremmill, graciously greeted and sat us upon our arrival. We watched her throughout our lunch, fluttering amongst guests, making certain everyone was relaxed and taken care of. (As an aside, she was dressed adorably in a long fringe skirt and cowboy boots) Our server was efficient and polite, taking care of our every need. She even refilled our tea pot once we had drained every drop from the first pot.
According to their website, http://www.carefreetea.com/, they are the finest tea room in the Southwest. I wholeheartedly agree. I have been to a number of other tearooms, and The English Tea Room is elegant yet not pretentious, with a relaxing atmosphere, and fresh, delectable cuisine. The English Tea Room is a perfect place for Mother’s Day, a birthday celebration, children’s tea party, or just a nice day out with your best friend. Reservations are suggested, as they are very busy. Please see their website for more information.