29 High St, Tenterden, Kent, TN30 6BJ Telephone: 01580 763381 www.lemontreetenterden.co.uk Tenterden is a town with a large conservation area in the Ashford District of Kent. It stands on the edge of the remnant forest The Weald, overlooking the valley of the River Rother. It was a member of the Cinque Ports Confederation. Its riverside today is not navigable to large vessels and its status as a wool manufacturing centre has been lost.
Set in a 14th century timber framed Wealden Hall House, the Lemon Tree offers a traditional Tea Room and Restaurant. Cakes and pastries are home made, scones are freshly made each morning and are served with award winning strawberry preserve.
Many years ago, the Lemon Tree Tea Room was on the other side of the road next to the National Westminster Bank and they moved to its present location.
It has extended seats, what appears to be through a series of three rooms or three former buildings. It can be very busy and I have visited to tea room on many occasions.
I had one bad experience early summer, when I made my way through the main door and I asked whether I could sit at a particular table and the waitress said I could. I was then ignored and never able to order and I left some fifteen minutes later and ended in the Café Rouge restaurant a few doors down, which although was very nice, I missed the atmosphere of an English tea room.
I did give the Lemon Tree another chance and returned recently. I ordered salmon fish cakes, French fries and salad and was offered a selection of bread in a basket that was so tasty, I asked for more! Of course, all helped down by a pot of tea. The fish cakes were so tasty, you will find it hard to find anything like them. I had fish cakes in the Café Rouge and although very nice, were not a patch on the Lemon Tree's version.
There are actually lots of staff or waitresses at the Lemon Tree Tea Room so there should be no chance of being missed. Especially me, as I am a six footer and 16.5 stones in weight!
Although the young waitresses are not rude, they are a bit too business-like and I think that a more gentle approach would be nice. Although the elder waitresses were much more pleasant.
They need to keep up their standards, which are high as they are competing against other tea rooms in Tenderden who are only minutes walk from each other.
I can personally recommend the Lemon Tree Tea Room - avoid lunch times, as the place is generally packed and you could end up queuing for long periods.
Peggoty's Tea Shoppe had always been one of my favourites and when I had a karate class at the Tenterden Leisure Centre on Thursday afternoons for several years, Peggoty's was always the first stop before my class, although it played on me for some time afterwards...!
I have visited Peggoty's for years now, albeit owned by several owners, and as you are aware, Tenterden is my favourite Kentish town and full of English tea rooms.
Peggoty's serves probably the best afternoon cream teas that I have ever seen, freshly baked on the premises. For little money, you get a full cream tea; fruit and plain scones the size of saucers and Sandra can never eat both and wraps one up and takes it home. The Welsh Rarebit is something a little special.
I like to sit on the two seat table next to the window and looking and watching passers-by. Sadly, the original window glass which showed a tradition building has had to be replaced due to health and safety issues.
In the heat of summer, I sit outside and have lunch and a pot of tea. It is very expensive for me to sit outside, as I invite elderly passers-by to join me for tea and cakes and a chat and gossip. Can't beat good old gossip with local folk, but I do meet new people and I enjoy it!
Although Tenderden is full of tea rooms, Peggoty's is really popular and busy and the food and service is really nice and the atmosphere really nice.
Some time back, the previous owner even gave me two Peggoty's mugs and they are Sandra's favourites. I can fully recommend Peggoty's tea room - go and try those lovely scone, I know you won't be disappointed and it is waitress service!
The Secret Pantry
100 High Street, Tenterden, Kent, TN30 6HP Telephone: 01580 766696 www.thetenterdensecretpantry.co.uk I have walked past this establishment for some years on my way to other tea rooms locally, but as there was a car parking space available a late afternoon, I parked up and took my wife Sandra for a quick visit, just before closing time. Despite our late arrival, we received a very polite and warm welcome by staff.
I had a tea and fruit scone, by wife a latte and a cheese scone. We sat and enjoyed this lovely place, clean, tidy, airy and spacious.
A modern feel. The owners, Margaret and Ian took over in 2013 and have put their own style to the inside. It is always busy inside and out when I pass the front on my frequent visits to Tenterden, a testament I feel to a poplar place for customers to visit.
Afternoon teas are one of their specialities, with freshly baked cakes and scones and delicious finger sandwiches with a choice of fillings. They have also sourced some delicious teas, all their teas are tea leaves, giving a more intense flavour.
I can recommend The Secret Pantry. But parking can be tricky; best park slightly out from the town centre and take a pleasant walk. The locals are friendly and little English shops make for a great day out.
Contact Joe Ellis:
Joe Ellis' English Tea Room Guide PO Box 262, Herne Bay, Kent, England, CT6 9AW Telephone: 01227 376180