Eliza's Tearoom at Secretts Farm in Milford - On the Tea Shop Trail
PUBLISHED: 15:43 01 May 2013 | UPDATED: 15:43 01 May 2013
A family business for over 100 years, Secretts Farm in Milford is home to the quaint Eliza's Tearoom, a world of jazz music, timeless cakes and, of course, plenty of pots of tea. Louise Johncox visits
One of those unearthly places that feels as if it belongs in another era, Eliza’s Tearoom is based at Secretts Farm in Milford, which was established in 1908 and is still owned by the same family. The tearoom is located in a timbered barn building beside their traditional and well stocked farm shop. From the moment you step inside the tearoom you are seduced into a sweet world of jazz music, timeless cakes and pots of tea or cafeterias of coffee. A message in the menu states, ‘For the comfort of our customers we request you turn off your mobile phone’. A perfect excuse to escape the modern world.
There is a good selection of cakes ranging from traditional scones to modern day brownies. My mother, Frankie, chose a slice of apricot and almond cake, £3, recommended by our server, and I picked a Frangipane, £3. My father used to make this cake in our teashop, Peter’s, and I hadn’t tasted one since 2000 when the shop closed. The almond sponge gave me a little taste of nostalgia and Mum enjoyed her fruity nut combo. Other popular cakes include Eliza’s chocolate brownies, £3, which come in different varieties (cherry pecan, for example); millionaire shortbread, £3; and scone and butter, £2.
The tearoom was opened in 1997 by managing director, Charles Secrett, and named after his great grandmother and a portrait of Eliza hangs behind the counter. It sets the scene for this traditional teatime experience. We sat close to the counter where we had a good view of her, the cakes and customers. There are fourteen tables, so a good choice, but if you want some privacy you can choose a cosy corner table away from the main teashop throng.
There are some lovely touches, such as an old fashioned music stand for the menu rather than a music score. Tea is served in dark brown china teapots with mismatched teacups and cakes come with a pastry fork. There was even a pot of sugar with tongs for the sugar cubes, a sign that you have stepped back into the distant past when ladies dressed up for afternoon tea. The teashop is situated in a gift shop with a large array of cards and teatime gifts such as teapots, cake stands and mugs. On the table beside us was a teacup combined teapot for £19.95 and a beaded jug cover for £2.99, perfect gifts for tea obsessed friends. I always think the customers add to the décor and here there was a mix of families and ladies who do tea. The clientele was certainly more country folk than city types with a high number of regulars who knew the staff.
The combination of the 1930s music, traditional cakes and cosy tearoom makes this a perfect taste of along gone era. We enjoyed wandering around the farm shop afterwards where Mum bought a sack load of oranges to make marmalade from and even some marmalade cake.
• Secretts, Hurst Farm, Chapel Lane, Milford GU8 5HU. Tel: 01483 520500
Louise Johncox’s parents, Peter and Frankie, ran Peter’s tea shop in Weybridge from 1958 until 2000 when they retired. Louise is now writing a book about her parents’ tea shop, with the working title of The Baker’s Daughter (see louisejohncox.com/index.htm).