I have been to several tea houses, surprisingly not that many in England though. My favourite one is The Secret Garden Tea Company in Kerrisdale, an area of Vancouver. What I like about it is the clean, bright, relaxed atmosphere of it. I think if I had a Tea House, I would run it similarly.
Their space is a mixture of sit-down and shop. In the shop you can order treats to-go, smell all the teas, and purchase accessories. If you want to sit down for lunch, a cuppa, or even high tea, there are lots of spaces. One of the really nice touches at Secret Garden is the service crockery. They’ve collected old tea cups and saucers and even have a sign on the front door saying they purchase cups and saucers.
If you’re staying in, you are seated by a member of staff and given a tea menu. You and can either choose a pot of tea to share for the table, or each order your own tea. It comes in a teapot covered in a cosy (similar to the ones available to purchase) and you can have unlimited hot water refills. If you’re doing high tea, or demi (half) high tea, the menu is set, but if you’re doing lunch there are lots of lovely salads, sandwiches, and soups for a filling yet light lunch.
I love going for high tea, which I’ve only done a handful of times. The high tea menu changes slightly, but it’s delivered on a three-tiered tray with many miniture goodies. The bottom tier is savoury sandwiches and my favourites are mini croissants with brie and roasted veggies and the egg salad pinwheels. The middle tier has scones with devonshire cream and raspberry jam. The top tier is sweets… and as full as you already are, you cannot resist the goodies up there. Favourites influde lemon tartlette, chocolate mousse cake, and various other goodies.
The few changes I would make in my own establishment would probably just relate to the different menu items and blends of tea. I think that it would be so much fun to work on making blends of tea and pairing with foods. Just give it my own personlized touch with decor as well.