I’ve been to a lot of cafes and reviewed plenty too. I’m firm in the belief that a cafe has to have its “thing”. On a drizzly January day I tried the Fourteas Cafe in Stratford-upon-Avon to experience the thingiest cafe I know.
I’d been curious about it ever since a friend at work mentioned it. I feared the worst. Stratford-upon-Avon town centre is pretty kitsch – especially during the summer time. It is becoming ShakespeareWorld and, although the RSC is a wonderful asset, its for tourists on day-trips.
The cafe is located in Sheep Street opposite Tudor World (I kid you not) – just a short walk from the river. From the outside there are few clues of the interior. Inside the first thing to hit you are the staff all wearing turbans and pinafores. The styling is wartime 1940s. As you scan round the room you see the detail. The windows all have tape on them ready for the next air raid. The posters on the wall are the contemporary Dig For Victory type. The coat stand has a range of helmets and even the doggy bag system uses cardboard boxes in the style of gas mask boxes. Apparently there is even an air-raid shelter in the back yard but no-one was venturing outside on a day like today.
Its a really nice setting and jut the right side of WorldWarTwoWorld.
Oh…and there is a cafe too. And here is the test – is it a cafe or an attraction? I’m pleased to say its a nice cafe too. The feature is tea – a very nice selection of loose leaf teas. The rest of the menu is around afternoon tea. We went for the Ivor Novello afternoon tea served with the house blend tea. At £12.50 its a reasonably priced offer. We chose the sandwich flavours, there is a scone with jam and cream and then a selection of cakes on the top level.
The sandwiches are exceptional. The default is for crusts removed but I opted for salmon with crusts on served in granary bread. The salmon was beautiful and plentiful. Very fresh tasting with a light lemon mayonnaise. The egg mayonnaise was also excellent. The scone was slightly disappointing. It was Sunday afternoon and maybe they had been made for a day but I love a fresh scone. These fruit scones were just a tad stodgy and stale.
The cake selection included macaroons, meringue, brownie and a lovely little lemon tart. In my view – great value for £12.50. A deservedly popular cafe which also has a really well done “thing”.