My adoration for tea shops, coffee houses, or cafes (whatever you wanna call 'em) is all the more encouraged living here in Brighton. Every street you wander down has 3 or 4 quaint little stop-offs, all with something different to offer. It's a right ol' pain on the purse strings but it means we're never short of things to do or quirky places to visit. I've decided to share some reviews of as many cafes as I can so if you're ever in Brighton, or stuck for ideas on things to do, hopefully these might give you some inspiration :) Bookmark the tag if you like.
Tucked away in the back alleys of Pool Valley, The Mock Turtle café is another eccentric escape from the hustle and bustle (and hoards) of Christmas shoppers in Brighton.
It was my first trip to this little tea shop. The original 1940s décor makes it a hit with clued up Brighton locals, but on this particular day, after a hectic gander around town for gifts, it wasn't as busy as I thought it would be, so headed in for a quick cuppa.
The place is lavished in some of the finest willow patterned plates and tea sets, with home made jam jars lining the walls and the smell of fresh donuts as you wander through the door - even the till was original 1940s, it was like stepping back in time for a tea and scone.
I hate to admit it, but being a Brighton local, I'm often reluctant to bother visiting the more quirky cafés and tea shops, as in some cases the places can become too commercialised, charging through the roof, with their main aims getting as many punters in (and out) the door as fast as possible. But The Mock Turtle seems to stay true to their small and perfectly formed charms :)
For one, the customer service was just right. We weren't waiting, we weren't overly waited on (that's always a bit awks) and the staff were very happy to grab an extra run of soya milk and a few glasses of water. Shopping is thirsty work.
Of course secondly, what makes The Mock Turtle less 'commercialised' as other tea shops, are their prices. They charge fairly - £6.00 for a tea for one and 2 scones, that are presented with excessive amounts of jam & cream to satisfy every sweet tooth. I polished all the jam in sight.
This little stop off made a welcomed break away from the angry shoppers in Churchill Square. It makes me wish there were more genuine, and original places like this in Central Brighton.
As a town we're spoilt for choice of weird and wonderful joints that make for a truly different experience to regular tea drinking affairs. Take for example Metro Deco - a vintage 1930s tea parlour about a 20 minute walk from the centre of Brighton. Such a unique place (and next on my hit list to show on the blog) It seems as if the further you walk from the main centre, the more atmospheric experience you have - The Mock Turtle being the exception, they've somehow held onto their charm.
So if you're paying a visit to the centre of Brighton any time soon, and you're looking for a place to rest your weary legs, skip the touristy haunts and drop into this vintage tea parlour for a really unique (and well priced) experience. Either that, or get your walking boots out, because anywhere similar will be a good mile's walk.