Opera glasses on for tea

Anyone who likes a nice view with their pot of tea and slice of cake could do a lot worse than heading to The Opera Tea Rooms in Retford.

By The Newsroom
Sunday, 7th April 2013, 3:00 pm
The Opera Tea Rooms, Retford
The Opera Tea Rooms, Retford

The tea rooms are a cut above your average cafe and are located in The Square, offering superb views across to Retford Town Hall.

I headed there one workday lunchtime recently to see if the Opera Tea Rooms were really worth singing about.

It was a bitterly cold day with a biting easterly wind, but the inside of the venue was warm and cosy as the sun shone in through the large front window.

The layout was simple but pleasing on the eye with an overwhelmingly cream colour scheme and plenty of colourful tins of tea and tempting cakes on the raised counter.

I found a table with a view of the town hall and was promptly handed a menu by the waitress.

There were several other diners enjoying cream teas and a break from the cold, and the atmosphere was relaxing with opera music in the background and the chatter of customers.

I was pleased to see a good range of items on the menu, with plenty to choose from whether you needed a full meal or just some tea and cake.

Drinks ranged from a selection of teas and coffees to cold drinks, with even a few wines and Peroni beer available.

Food options included soup of the day, jackets, a decent range of sandwiches and a few more substantial hot offerings.

I opted for the traditional afternoon tea for £13, which promised tea, a sandwich of my choice, a scone with cream and jam, and a selection of cakes. I chose the smoked salmon and rocket sandwich but was told this was not available and so changed to the cold chicken option.

The tea came in a nice china pot with a small pot of milk and a strainer.

My food also arrived promptly and was beautifully presented on a tiered plate stand, with the sandwiches on the bottom, scone in the middle and cakes at the top.

It was tempting to start with a sweet option, but I held back and tucked into the sandwiches.

In keeping with the surroundings, there were no crusts and the chicken was finely cut and very tasty.

After polishing them off I moved on to the scone, which was served with very generous quantities of cream and jam. The scone was just warm enough to melt the edge of the cream, and tasted fantastic.

The highlight of the whole experience though was the selection of cakes and I was pleased to have saved this for the end.

There was a selection of four small pieces of cake, including lemon drizzle cake, fruit cake and a chocolate brownie.

All tasted fresh, and the selection was much better than simply having to chose a larger slice of one of the options.

While I was eating several other customers had arrived and most seemed to be ordering cream teas, rather than full meals.

Another nice touch was a comments form for each customer to pass on their views about their experience at the tea rooms.

If I had filled mine out it would have been very positive.

£13 would normally be considered expensive for an afternoon tea, but it was worth every penny for such an enjoyable dining experience.

I haven’t encountered anything similar in the Bassetlaw area.

Tim Paget