The Vintage Cake House in Farnham - On the Tea Shop Trail
- Credit: The Vintage Cahe House
In this month’s visit to a Surrey tea shop, Louise Johncox steps back in time at the Vintage Cake House in Farnham, which you can also hire out for afternoon tea parties
Located in the heart of Farnham, the Vintage Cake House was opened in 2012 by Natalie Steward, a young entrepreneur aged just 21, fulfilling her desire to run her own old-fashioned tea room.
Natalie has brought together a young team who share a passion for vintage style, baking, tea drinking and friendly service.
“I always wanted to run my own business,” says Natalie, “and having a passion for vintage style baking and cakes, plus a strong background in catering and a love of tea rooms, that’s where the idea for the Vintage Cake House stemmed from.”
Walking into the Vintage Cake House is like stepping back in time. Natalie sourced the furniture from antique rooms, and art deco mirrors line the walls adding a feeling of space while a chandelier gives some glamour. The colour palette is girly pinks. Added décor is provided by the three-tiered cake stands and vintage teapots, cups and saucers, and the bowls with sugar cubes and tongs. You can also enjoy some evocative period music while sipping your tea. On the day, we visited they were playing The Diva Collection featuring songs by Edith Piaf and Ella Fitzgerald.
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There are 11 tables in all – decorated in art deco wallpaper – each adorned with a vase containing fresh flowers. According to our waitress, Maria, the most popular table is the one positioned in the window with a comfy sofa.
On the menu…
The pastries are made locally and delivered to the door fresh every morning. I took my mum, Frankie, and my Aunty Mary. Mum chose a frangipane tart (£1.95) while Aunty Mary picked the carrot cake (£2.80) and I had a slice of lemon drizzle cake (£2.80). The frangipane was just perfect in an almond kind of way, the lemon drizzle was very soft and lemony, while the generous slice of carrot cake was split between all three of us and was very good.
The most popular cake is apparently the lemon drizzle followed by the chocolate fudge cake (£2.80) and the chocolate brownies (£2.20). The brownies, baked daily, are made using ground almonds instead of flour. Occasionally, they offer other gluten-free delights.
If you feel like something more substantial, you can choose from sandwiches, paninis, soups or salads. Sandwiches range from Wiltshire ham and mustard (£5.30) to salmon, dill cream cheese, cracked black pepper with lemon (£5.90). There’s also a soup of the day served with seeded bread (£5.95) and the Vintage Ploughman’s (£5.95). If you can’t make up your mind, a good choice is the soup of the day served along with a sandwich (£8.50).
For the health conscious, try the watermelon and feta cheese salad (£6.50) or the pancetta, avocado and tomato (£6.95).
English breakfast tea is £2.20 per pot while a standard Americano costs £1.95.
Both young and old will enjoy this vintage-style teatime experience. Plus, aside from having tea and cake and/or lunch, you can also hire the venue for up to two hours for a Vintage Tea Party making this a great place for afternoon tea lovers. Choose from a Vintage Tea Party menu (£16.95 a head) or the Cream Tea Party menu (£10.95 a head).
Need to know:
3 Downing Street, Farnham GU9 7PB. Tel: 01252 728254 / thevintagecakehouse.co.uk. Open Monday to Saturday, from 9.30am to 5pm. Closed on Sundays.
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.