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Village Food & Drink

Ideal place for traditional tea

Posted on February 23 2014 at 12:00:12 0 comments

Clare and Diane

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Constance Wallace, one of the area’s most unusual business concepts, has proved incredibly successful over the past four and a half years – so much so that owner Diane Cooke has now been able to swap her little unit in Tardebigge Court for much larger premises.

Now based in the centre of Barnt Green, Diane will continue to offer vintage homeware and the ever-popular mobile tea party service – while the latest development is the creation of a tea room.

It’s a perfect extension of the business, and means that people won’t have to wait for a special occasion to enjoy tea and cakes with a side order of nostalgia; they can drop in whenever they like.

The new venue is beautifully decorated with pastel colours and pretty fabrics (there’s even a mosaic made of broken china in the toilet!) while the extra space allows for more dressers to display the massive collection of vintage china, glass and tableware as well as home textiles and accessories.

The tea room tables – vintage, of course – are set out with embroidered runners, cake stands and fresh flowers, and the second-hand chairs have been re-covered.

The centrepiece is a traditional fireplace surrounded by Lloyd Loom chairs and a comfy sofa: this will really come into its own during cold weather when customers can order ‘Fireside Tea’ with toasted teacakes and pikelets.

Diane will be serving the award-winning Eteaket range of teas, which is a fair trade company – every time the firm takes on a new supplier, it offers vital eye treatment to a tea plantation worker, so you can enjoy your cuppa knowing that it’s helping someone far across the world!

There’s also Nespresso coffee, alongside the delicious cakes and sandwiches that have proved so popular at mobile parties, plus homemade soups and locally-made quiches.

A pot of tea and a piece of cake will set you back just £4.95, while full afternoon tea menus are also available – bookings are now being taken for Mother’s Day, when a full afternoon tea treat with free champagne is on offer.

Kids will adore the jars of old-fashioned sweets behind the traditional wooden counter, sold by the teacup – and there’s even a special children’s menu including jelly in tea cups and mini sandwiches, served in vintage lunch boxes.

It’s hard to imagine a more appealing atmosphere for a spot of afternoon tea – and if customers run short of conversation they can feast their eyes on the array of vintage wares, which are all available to buy.

“In fact, if you particularly like the cup your tea has been served in, you can buy it!” says Diane.

Then there are the beautiful homeware items such as cushions, quilts, decorative fabric hearts and bunting – all made or revamped by Diane, who has an MA in printed textiles.

Her own bluebell-print fabric, taken from a photo of the Lickey Hills, was first turned into cushion covers and has now been used to make men’s ties.

You might be wondering how Diane will find the time to run a tea room as well as doing the mobile parties, baking cakes and making textiles… well, she has drafted in her friend Clare Cartwright to lend a hand.

And Clare is the ideal person for the job, having met Diane through Constance Wallace.

“Clare came to Tardebigge Court and bought one of the bluebell cushions – we got chatting and discovered we had similar interests,” says Diane. “She was keen to help out with the parties, as she loves afternoon tea!”

The mobile party service caters for all occasions from baby showers to funerals, when Diane takes the traditions of tea-time into customers’ homes with the help of Peggy, the 1958 Austin van.

It’s particularly popular for weddings, and Diane has bookings right through to November and even one for July 2015!

Meanwhile, the tea room is the ideal location for a party and can be hired for a private occasion – a local 1940s group have already taken advantage of this.

It will be open to the public from 9pm to 5pm Monday to Saturday, with private bookings on Sundays – this may expand in future, and customers are welcome to add their thoughts via a suggestion box.

91 Hewell Road, Barnt Green
Tel: 0121 679 6917
http://www.constancewallace.co.uk
Facebook: Constance Wallace


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