With a jaunty swing in one’s step, Miss Windsor meandered along the historical, cobbled streets of Cambridge, whilst she dreamed of devouring a delightful ‘scone’ or two at Harriet’s Café Tearooms - 16 & 17 Green Street, Cambridge, CB2 3JU, England.
Of course, careful not to lose one’s footing due to an inappropriate choice of footwear – namely kitten heels, I came to an abrupt halt! And there I stood enwreathed by the clear blue sky above, whilst captivated by the golden, sizzling hot sun rays that gently shimmered across the River Cam.
Now immersed in a romantic haze, I peered through my sunglasses, as I watched a lovey-dovey couple enjoy their magical punting tour – Oh, I say! Darlings, it was quite a glorious moment as I stood mesmerised by the slow glide of the gondola-like boat, whilst those darling sweethearts brimmed an excitable cackle, that was softened by the soothing waft of the ‘summertide’ breeze.
Having arrived in one piece (thank goodness!) at Harriet’s Café Tearooms which was established in 1999 by Harriet, and guaranteed to be ‘A Truly English Experience’. Miss Windsor and her assemblage were greeted by what appeared to be a ‘blast from the past’! There stood before us was a beauteous figure of a lady, dressed in traditional black and white attire who kindly showed us to our table.
Darlings, it appeared that we had rolled back in time, to those days of starched white ‘pinnies’ that were famously sported by the ‘Nippies’ (waitresses) of London’s most renowned J.Lyons & Co. tea shops and cafes! In fact, our English culinary marvel – Nigella Lawson – is a direct descendant of the Salmon family who co-founded J.Lyons & Co. during the 1800’s – Well, what do ya know!
In 1932 Harriet’s beloved grandmother Mary celebrated her 12th birthday at the Lyons’ Corner House on Oxford Street/Tottenham Court Road. Apparently, she envisaged working there herself one day – as a Nippie one presumes? Well, isn’t life just full of surprises! 67 years later and Harriet opens up her very own tea room – What a wonderful way to pay homage to Grandmother Mary!
As quick as a flash, one of Harriet’s very own Nippies furnished us with the menu. I wished to ‘tickle my fancy’, so I spared no time in ordering the traditional afternoon tea pageantry - of course, darlings, to be served with a piping hot teapot of Harriet’s Anniversary Blend Tea.
In fact, a good few years ago, and with a desire to satisfy some of their clientele’s richer palates – including Miss Windsor’s! stronger flavoursome teas from Assam, Kenya, and Rwanda were fused together by a local tea merchant called Primo Coffee, thus creating this bespoke blend of tea.
Whilst waiting for the afternoon tea goodies to arrive I explored my surroundings, and within 'two shakes of a lambs tail' I spied a baby grand piano, but unfortunately, we had just missed the pianist’s last performance. Nevertheless, such a magnificent, yet elegant instrument glistened brightly beneath the spotlights; similar to the hard lacquered shell of a ginormous black beetle – Oh, how dazzling!
Then one’s beady eye caught sight of a wonderful display of Harriet’s merchandise – gift sets, shopping bags, tea caddy’s – to say the least! Darlings, such exquisite products would make an ideal gift for that lucky recipient, or as a souvenir for your jolly good self.
My afternoon tea medley arrived promptly – first class service! Tiers of sandwiches, scones and sponge cakes (cakes made locally by Tiptree) In fact, I couldn’t wait to split open one of the freshly baked scones, which are baked in-house every morning.
The thick, velvety, Cornish clotted cream spread oh so easily onto the fruity, yet bouncy texture of such a culinary sweet treat! Followed by a couple of generous dollops of strawberry jam, bestrewn with large pieces of fruit.
Now moving onto something one describes as short, dark and handsome – Ooh la la! the rather ravishing Chocolate Sponge! Delightfully sexy, with a squidgy melt-in-the-mouth texture that entered one’s cake-hole with ease – Oh, I say!
Miss Windsor’s truly chocolatey, yet self-indulgent brief affair with Mr Ravishing! turned out to be the ultimate ending to her afternoon tea experience at Harriet’s Tearooms.
Darlings, now having enjoyed my review – I presume you fancy a jolly good brew? – or maybe a sweet treat or two? – then Harriet’s Café Tearooms is just the place for you!
Cheerio for now,
ALL PHOTOGRAPHY BY MISS WINDSOR