This Sunday I was invited to two teas…the first The Hidden Tea Room by Lady Gray (which is the tea ‘consort’ of Earl Grey geddit?) which was a ‘proof of concept’ (a business term for a try out) which will be open to the public. The second by Angie who has helped me cook on a couple of occasions at The Underground Restaurant, which, though she asked for a contribution, was open only to friends.
Lady Gray and her husband have opened their living room and terrace to the public. Her particular passion is baking. I was asked along to give constructive criticism and hints on her new venture. I’ve turned into an Underground Restaurant consultant! (I also gave advice this weekend to another lovely couple who are about to start a restaurant in their shed. I’ve sat people in my shed, have quite a serious shed fetish actually so am looking forward to this one. Expect a report soon…)
“if people want a perfect seamless experience then they can go to a normal restaurant. Part of the charm of the home restaurant is the transparency, the fact that you can interract with the chef”.
One of the challenges of being a home restauranteur is that you are both chef and front of house. It’s hard to be in two places at once. As people are in your home, your intimate space, they want to meet you! My kitchen at The Underground Restaurant is separate from the living room. I tell diners that they are more than welcome to visit the kitchen after the main course has gone out. A kitchen where diners can see you is an advantage, so use it. If you are shy, well, frankly get over it (shyness is unacceptable in anyone over 25 in my opinion anyway). A home chef cannot be a shrinking violet.
As you can see by the photos, Angie and Co. had a lot of fun styling the biscuits and cakes. The sitting room was quirky, vintage and shabby chic in style. I missed the savouries but the menu looked great. This tea was not open to the public but seeing two teas in one day ( I probably now need testing for diabetes) was fascinating in terms of difference of style.