The British tradition of afternoon tea is center stage at the Britannia Tearooms, a new venue created to showcase the tea-related ritual that’s part social event, part between-meal snack. Replacing Country Waffles in the Midway District, the stand-alone space is an extension of Shakespeare’s Corner Shoppe, the longtime India Street food and gift shop specializing in goods from the British and Emerald Isles.
Proprietress Selina Stockley, who hails from Surrey, England, managed Shakespeare’s for six years before taking over ownership 17 years ago. She’ll relocate the elaborate afternoon tea experience that she used to host on Shakespeare’s patio to the Midway location and will serve a more streamlined and informal cream tea at the Middletown shop.
Stockley scoured thrift shops and local estate sales to decorate the Britannia Tearooms, which invites guests to enter through a Sherlock Holmes-themed parlor into the main dining area adorned with vintage Tiffany-style lamps and flower garlands. Among the custom murals is an Alice in Wonderland tribute in the Mad Hatter’s Tearoom, which can be booked for private parties. Even the restrooms, designated for “wizards” and “witches”, hold fun Easter eggs from the Harry Potter books and films.
The menu will change monthly but includes a starter salad along with an array of savory and sweet items ranging from finger sandwiches, quiches, and sausage rolls to scones, sponge cakes, and shortbread biscuits, all made in-house. Stockley is serious about tea, installing a reverse osmosis water system to brew the perfect pot and featuring 60 different varieties of tea, many of which she blends herself like the “James Bond” tea that contains Scottish caramel pu-erh, rose petals, and vanilla. Reservations are highly recommended for the full afternoon tea service, which will be offered at three seatings a day at $49.95 per person.
There will also be themed teas with special menus: upcoming dates will feature Bridgerton, Harry Potter, and Narnia.
Before Britannia Tea Rooms officially opens early next week, it’s throwing a grand opening party on Sunday, July 30 from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. that’ll have live music and treats available for purchase.