Home sweet home

Annie Benton's tea parlour at Hamptons home and gardens in Reepham. Photo: Bill Smith

Annie Benton's tea parlour at Hamptons home and gardens in Reepham. Photo: Bill Smith - Credit: Archant 2013

Why did you decide to open your café?

When I first decided to open the business, I was unsure of which route to follow – food, or the interior gift background I had just left. After much deliberation I opened Hamptons Home and Garden interior shop, but after only a short while trading our customers were saying what a shame I didn’t have a tea shop as well. So plans were drawn and in January Hamptons Tea Parlour was born.

How would you describe its character?

The Tea Parlour has followed a similar design to the original shop, customers tell us it has a very laid back French feel, and actually that sums it up nicely.

What’s the flavour of your menu?

We have a short and neat menu, serving brunch between 10am and 11.30am such as muffins with scrambled egg and smoked salmon or bacon and croissants with gruyere and bacon. Then lunch is served between 12 and 2pm, with an array of baps generously filled with a wide variety of fillings, and there is a daily specials board. That could be anything from a Roquefort, pear and walnut tart with a colourful seasonal salad to an anti-pasti bruschetta, olives, peppers and mozzarella served on griddled sour dough with salami, bresaola and Parma ham, or soup of the day, such as cream of celery with stilton.

Which local ingredients can people find on the menu?

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Our ethos has always been to shop local, and that means round the corner from the excellent butcher and greengrocer in our market square. Our menus are planned at the end of the day and ingredients are purchased on the way in the next day, how is that for fresh?

How much should someone expect to pay for breakfast or lunch?

Lunch specials are £5.95 and brunch starts at £3.95. We do a really special afternoon tea all served the old fashioned way on a three-tier cake stand with pretty bone china teapots and tea cosies. For that extra special occasion we can do pink champagne on the side. We have a hen party booked in at the end of the month.

Have any of your cakes generated a following?

One special cake out sells all the rest and that’s our chocolate damson brownie. It is unbelievably exquisite and we couldn’t possibly give out the recipe!

Can you eat al fresco at your café or nearby?

When the sun eventually shines we have a further eight seats outside in our south facing garden and six seats in our courtyard under the fig tree.

What else can you do at your café?

Since opening the Tea Parlour, Hamptons really has become a complete destination, you can take a look around the shop and gardens, either before or after lunch.

Hamptons Home and Garden, Norwich Road, Reepham, NR10 4JN, 01603 871050. Open 10am to 5pm, Monday to Saturday.