Mrs Bridges

January 6, 2013

Leicester-based readers will probably have worked out for themselves that Mrs Bridges Tearooms on Loseby Lane is a cut above your average cafe.  But nonetheless it’s worth reminding people that it really is rather good.

Forget about the cutesy name – this is a food-led place, staffed with proper chefs who have a real interest in flavour and quality.  It’s not exactly the most comfortable place, small tables in a cramped environment, but it should definitely be high on your list of places for a lunch, brunch,  takeaway sandwich or just a cup of tea.  I had a very good pot of Assam today, with a sandwich of hot pork, layered with salty feta cheese, fresh spinach and beetroot ketchup. Inspired matchings these and served on really excellent crusty sourdough bread.

Sandwiches are highly recommended then, but look out too for their set lunch dishes which change monthly and might include genuine iberico ham with a crispy poached egg (lightly deep fried with a polenta crust), pork red wine and fennel ragu and a vegan-friendly almond milk ice-cream with crumbled brownie and home-made peanut butter.




Imperial Tea

March 28, 2011

I was in our neighbouring county of Lincolnshire on Friday. Standing outside the glorious cathedral I had 20 minutes before my train and a ten minute walk to the station.  Going inside seemed pointless so I made a lightning raid on my second favourite place in Lincoln – a shop like no other, Imperial Teas on Steep Hill.  The building is getting on for 900 years old I believe and it houses a jaw-dropping range of the world’s finest and rarest teas from many areas and representing many tea-drinking cultures. Large drums line the room with evocative names that can leave you in reverie – First Flush Darjeeling Phoobering Supreme, Lovers’ Leap Broken Orange Pekoe, or Japanese Sencha tea flavoured with wild cherry and rose petals.  You can also find legendary Jun Shan Golden Needles, grown on a mist covered lake isle high up in the mountains of Hunan. Less than 100lbs is picked each year and on just one morning. It comes in at what might be called a reassuringly expensive £217 for 100g.

Marangi Garden Assam

I settled for a more humble Managi Garden Assam, a refined but straightforward tea delivering  the golden colour and malty overtones you look for in an Assam.  There’s a tea shop where you can drink below the shop but if you do find yourself in Lincoln I do recommend you also go in to the retail shop and just indulge in the exotic loveliness of it all.

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