Opposite East Heath next to the Hampstead Heath railway, Hampstead Tea Rooms is undoubtedly popular in the warm weather.
As with many of the shops on this road, the shop window is enormous. Held together by a black framework, it provides an excellent vantage point for those who want to step back from the bustling South End Green. Inside, the till is at the front, with pastries and cookie jars beside it. The main seating area is filled with tables and chairs, but inside one of the walls, however, is what might have originally been an annex. Three tables and a bench have been squeezed into a section of floor that appears to be two or three feet lower than the rest of the room. It’s quite bizarre as it hasn’t been sectioned off so it looks like people are actually sitting inside the floor.
The white walls reflect the light well creating a very naturally bright cafe and have been made all the more interesting with the lower sections being painted red. In one corner there’s a lightly painted red door that has been cut in two. This is actually the doorway to the kitchen and a point of high activity for the floor staff as this is where the meals are passed through. A word of advice is to not sit next to this door as you might find yourself instinctively ducking every time the top half of the door opens because it feels too close.
With the sounds of Radio One pumping on the stereo the atmosphere never feels uncomfortable. The service is extremely efficient and the abundance of natural light beaming in through that magnificent front window is plentiful.
A variety of pastries, biscuits and breads are available for those only looking for a quick snack while an extensive range of sandwiches range in price from around £3 to £5. There are also some more substantial meals to choose from including a variety of fry-up breakfasts and jacket potato dishes.
Being a tea room, as you would expect, there is a variety of tea on hand which can be ordered in either a fairly large cup or a teapot. A wide range of coffees are also available, and the cappuccino, with a particularly frothy top, is recommended. An extensive list of juices is also available as well.
The Last Word
Hampstead Tea Rooms is a pleasant stop-off for a cup of tea or coffee. On a warm summer’s day it is a nice venue to refuel after enjoying the Heath.