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The Press Room in Surbiton - On the Tea Shop Trail

PUBLISHED: 11:33 21 February 2014 | UPDATED: 11:33 21 February 2014

The Press Room

The Press Room

Photos Frances Taylor Photography

In her latest trip to a Surrey tea shop, Louise Johncox heads to The Press Room in Surbiton's cosmopolitan Claremont Road for a spot of coffee and people-watching

The Press Room, 5 Claremont Road, Surbiton KT6 4QR. Open Monday to Friday, 7am to 6.30pm; Saturdays, 9am to 6pm; and Sundays, 9.30am to 4.30pm. Tel: 0208 399 8313. For more information, visit their website at pressroomcoffee.co.uk

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The low-down…

Opened by David Symons in July 2012, The Press Room Coffee Shop offers specialist teas and coffees, tasty pastries and savouries. David had previously worked as general manager at John Lewis in Oxford Street, but decided to pursue his dream of running his very own café.

Décor…

When I walked into The Press Room, there was a warm atmosphere with uplifting music playing in the background. The young staff were welcoming and friendly, the cake counter was packed with appetising pastries and a chalkboard lists a large variety of teas, coffees and other drinks including fruit smoothies. There are modern paintings on the walls, some with a local theme, plus several items for sale such as the tea timer (£8.95), one of the most popular, and a china teapot with inbuilt filter for leaf teas (£19.95).

Best table…

According to Amy, one of the staff, the communal table at the back on the counter side is the most popular with local groups often meeting there – everyone from mums to students and businesspeople. Inside, the café is deceptively large with 13 tables plus a bar area with five stools and three tables outside. On the day I visited, the café felt cosmopolitan with a mix of customers. I spotted a young man with a dog, a family, a couple and an elderly lady. From the bar stools, you can also sit back and watch the world go by on Claremont Road.

On the menu…

The cake counter offers a good range of pastries. Amy said carrot cake (£3.45) is the most popular followed by the raspberry pastel de nata (£1.95) and the plump almond croissants (£2.45). The huge cookies, which come in oatmeal and chocolate varieties (£2.15), are a hit with children and cookie lovers.

As for me, I enjoyed a raspberry pastel de nata (creamy custard filling with fresh raspberries) and vowed to try the orange and polenta cake (£2.95) on my next visit.

I noticed other customers tucking into the savoury specials, which include various soups and also paninis with fillings such as mozzarella, pesto, tomato, Parma ham, bacon and Brie, with prices at around £4.95 each.

If you are a coffee lover then you are spoilt for choice. Two blends of coffee are supplied by Hasbean, a small roasting company based in Staffordshire. The most popular coffee is flat white (£2.45) but you can choose from a latte (£2.45), a mocha (£3.15) or an espresso (£1.80).

Fans of tea can pick from a selection of over 21 loose leaf varieties produced by 
the Eteaket company, who are experts in tea. The breakfast tea (£2.25) is the enduring classic while the cranberry and apple tea (£2.95) goes down well with the herbal tea lovers.

“As with our coffee supplier, our aim has always been to get the very best suppliers on board,” says David. “Erica, the founder of Eteaket, oozes passion for tea and was instrumental in supporting us in the selection of our huge tea range and with the training of the team on all the different teas and how best to serve them.”

Verdict…

A welcome addition to Surbiton, The Press Room is modern and stylish with a big selection of teas and quality coffees plus a good range of pastries and savouries. It is also conveniently situated close to the station and high street.

“There is a real gap in the market for great coffee in the leafy suburbs, where you’ll find discerning customers with an educated palate but very few places where you can get great coffee and great service,” adds David. “Here, the local community has supported us so well over the last year that we hope to open more shops and are currently exploring options in Kingston, Richmond and Epsom.”

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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, due to be released in spring 2014 (see louisejohncox.com/index.htm).

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