Our SW Londoner reporter Amaris Cole looks at the luxuries The Tea Box in Richmond-upon-Thames has to offer.
Richmond-upon-Thames boasts many award-winning restaurants and bars, but The Tea Box offers something different to the borough.
Decorated with an east-meets-west flair, this tea shop is unlike anything else in the area.
This is not the cafe to come to if you’re after a builders brew.
With over 40 teas on the menu, including the likes of Tipsy Teas and Ice Frooteas, this is the perfect destination to escape the daily grind with people who are ‘potty about tea’.
As soon as you step through the belled door which rings to announce your arrival, you are charmed by the combination of cultures- bowler hats hung on Indian dressing screens and Moroccan tables holding china tea sets.
On top of this, The Tea Box offers more than just a scone and a unique variation on the standard cuppa.
Last year, the venue held two Jazz nights a month. Due to demand, four Sunday evenings are currently dedicated to this live music.
Alexandra Wrenn, who attended last Sunday, said: ‘It’s a good concept because tea is a very social event- it’s either very 18th or 21st century, I haven’t decided which.’
Jemma Swallow is co-owner of The Tea Box. She says they are now forced to turn away those who have not booked.
Customers mingled together at the latest event on Sunday, chattig over large tables and enjoying freshly brewed tea, locally sourced cake and live jazz.
One such customer, Kerry Radden, said: “This is a really great venue for jazz- and tea in the evening is unusual. There’s an immediacy of having (the musicians) right there, that’s lovely”
Jazz is not the only thing the menu, with Tea-he comedy nights, a Social Knitwork knitting club and story-telling for adults throughout the week.
The boutique tearooms are going from strength to strength, with plans to expand further into South West London soon.
Ms Swallow admits these are tough times though, having seen many businesses in Richmond close.
“But we just keep adapting ourselves to keep creating reasons for people to come in here- we’ve just introduced shisha pipes, for example.”
This new addition is said to be very popular with customers.
The high quality of service and the unique factors are what Ms Swallow believes will see the business through the next couple of years, which she predicts will be tough.
While we are surrounded by gloomy financial forecasts and being told to tighten our belts, perhaps a trip to experience The Tea Box is the perfect excuse to tuck into a slice of sponge, sip a Chococha, and loosen yours.