Sunday 13 May 2012

Tea & Cake London by Zena Alkayat

Tea and Cake London

It's taken me a while to do this review, mainly because every time I pick up the book, I end up researching a new place to go the next time I'm in London. This little book is like a tearoom pocket compendium for the lady (or indeed gentleman) who likes a little (or indeed a shedload) of cake with their lunch... Consider it a baked goods Time Out Guide for the cakey connoisseur!

The author, Zena Alkayat is a freelance journalist who wrote the book because of a 'bad tea' experience. I wish my work included sampling tea rooms around the capital! 

I love a book that has good structure. I know I bang on about it a lot, but it makes navigating to the correct section so much easier. I often know what type of food I want to eat or make, but finding it is another matter. For example, if you Google 'tea rooms London' it's a veritable minefield of different locations. This little beauty splits dining experiences into chapters:

  1. Everyday Specials - Cafes and Tearooms 
  2. Grand Affairs - Afternoon Tea
  3. Pop In, Take Out - Bakeries and Patisseries 
  4. Tea with a Twist - Alternative and Themed
  5. Virtuous Vices - Vegan and Allergy-Friendly

The book celebrates the emergence of the independent shop and shuns the large coffee houses (you know who I mean...) in favour of the flavour of home-made. The book celebrates the historical value of 'taking tea', and welcomes the afternoon practice of stuffing one's face with cake (yes, it's ok... we are being refined because we're drinking from china... sometimes...) 

There are some beautiful pictures in this book which capture that moment of wonder as you wander into a shop full of inviting cakes! I love that! There's something a bit special about the cute home-made signs and hand written blackboards. 
An example page from the book
Fleet River Bakery
Fleet River Bakery
Primrose Bakery
Primrose Bakery
I couldn't do a review like this without sharing my own favourites from this little book. Some I have been to, others are very much on the 'to eat' list!

  • Peggy Porschen - not done as yet, but reviewing her latest book has put her firmly at the top of the list.
  • Primrose Bakery - for me have one of the prettiest bakeries in the land. I love their american milk glass cake stands, covered in pretty pastel cakes.
  • The Ritz - I don't really need to say more, do I?
  • Fortnum & Mason - the daddies of tea! Again, I love their little book too.
  • Hummingbird Bakery - we once went here for breakfast. We had brownies and whoopie pies!
  • Dolly's Cafe - amazing name! I have to try here, don't I?!

Charming little book, just the right size for a handbag. Take it with you the next time you're in London!

Please leave your comments below...

Tea & Cake by Zena Alkayat
Publisher: Black Dog, 2011
Hardback, £9.99
Disclaimer: I reviewed this book because I hate not knowing where to go when i'm somewhere new. I received no payment from the publisher for doing so.
Read more about the authors at Black Dog.


  1. fabulous review, where in london is the fleet river bakery?!
    must visit!

    1. The address is 71 Lincoln's Inn Fields, WC2A 3JF x


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