Dotty's Tea Room, Kingston - On the Tea Shop Trail
PUBLISHED: 06:28 13 April 2015 | UPDATED: 06:48 13 April 2015
This month, Louise Johncox pays a visit to a new tea room in Kingston's historic Market Place that originally started out in a vintage caravan...
Originally published in Surrey Life magazine March 2015
Need to know:
Dotty’s Tea Room , Market House, Market Place, Kingston KT1 1JS.
Open Tuesday to Sunday, 10am- 5pm.
A welcome addition to the heart of Kingston, Dotty’s Tea Room is a new independent café located in the Market House of the town’s historic square. Opened last November, the tea room is owned by Rebecca Mackenzie, who originally started her venture from out of her beloved vintage caravan, Dotty, which she converted into a travelling tea room.
“I’ve spent the last few years visiting lots of events throughout Surrey and the surrounding areas as well as catering for weddings and private events,” says Rebecca. “When the opportunity arose to open a tea room in Kingston’s Market House, I jumped at it and opened the doors to Dotty’s Tea Room just three weeks later. Originally, the concept was a ‘pop-up’ tea room for Christmas but everyone who has visited has loved it so much that we have decided to stay open.”
The most popular table is in the far right corner, adjacent to the cake counter, where I was lucky enough to sit with my son, Joe. It’s the perfect place to ogle the cakes and take in the historic surroundings as well as the large black and white images of the building and marketplace in the early 1900s, a talking point for customers. The Market House is a Grade II-listed building, which dates back to 1840, although a previous timber structure has stood in the same location since 1505.
The room has seven tables and is furnished with a counter, sideboard, cabinets, lamps and dresser from a local house clearance charity. The polka dot table covers and the bunting add to the vintage feel of the place.
“Everything you see once stood in somebody’s house,” says Rebecca. “I really wanted to make Dotty’s a home-from-home kind of place where people can relax.”
Cakes and pastries…
The cakes are baked by Rebecca along with some local ladies. The coconut & raspberry cake (£2.50) is the most popular, closely followed by the fruit scones served with clotted cream and strawberry jam (£3). Another favourite is the carrot & walnut cake (£3). A selection of gluten-free cakes is supplied by Love at First Bake who have just won a Great Taste award for their Chocolate & Marshmallow Cake.
On the menu…
Sandwiches (£5 each) are made to order and served with a side portion of hand-cooked crisps. Fillings include coronation chicken, honey-roast ham and English mustard, egg mayonnaise, mature cheddar and chutney, and tuna mayonnaise.
Other options include Dotty’s Cream Tea (£6), which comprises two scones served with clotted cream and jam and a pot of tea, and the Market House Tea (£12), which includes finger sandwiches, scones, cake and a pot of tea, and seemed good value.
As for me, I discovered that the teacakes with butter and jam (£2.50) take a lot of beating. I also enjoyed a pot of Earl Grey tea (£2) served in a vintage teapot, transporting me back to a different era. My son, Joe, loved the hot chocolate with cream and marshmallows (£2.50). Coffee starts from £2.
Vintage Dotty is a welcome addition to Kingston, being independent and evoking a 1940s tea room with classic cakes mixed with modern offerings.
The historic building and vintage-themed environment add to the charm of the teatime experience.
“People are fed up of the same chains dominating our high streets and Kingston was definitely in need of a little haven for tea-drinkers and cake-lovers!” adds Rebecca.
I’ll second that.
Look out for the magnificent statue of Queen Anne that stands just outside the windows of the tea room.
Louise Johncox’s parents, Peter and Frankie, ran Peter’s tea shop in Weybridge from 1958 until 2000 when they retired. Louise has written a book about her parents’ tea shop, The Baker’s Daughter, which is out now in all good bookshops (see louisejohncox.com/index.htm)