Old stables, circular mirrors and a po-faced fellow

Today was a 3 tearoom day. (Is this becoming an addiction?)

Tearoom number one was mentioned briefly in a previous post (A wee bit of Angus) but this time some photos will hopefully give an idea of what it’s like inside. It nestles in a corner of the High Street in Montrose, on Scotland’s east coast, and the most striking thing about it is the building it’s in. According to the panel above the door, it dates back to 1790:

And according to the waitress I quizzed on my last visit, it used to be stables back in the 18th century, and it certainly has a stably sort of feel about it, with exposed stone walls, a flagstone floor and separate little sections that give it a cosy feel:

I suppose I had been thinking along the lines of a scone (I often am between breakfast and lunch), but when I beheld the cakes area I became absorbed in the custard creams, and plumped for one of them instead, with a pot of tea:

My pancake-loving mother opted for a pancake (bet you didn’t see that coming), which was quite large as Scottish pancakes go, and I thought looked rather luscious cut into bite-size chunks daubed with butter and strawberry jam:

Tearoom number two came after a short trot on a small road, in an effort to work up a bit of an appetite for lunch. This tearoom was a new one to me, being in a Forfar street I didn’t even know existed until today. It looked welcoming from the outside, with big flowery wallpaper calling out to me to go and admire it more closely. I obliged, and took this photo looking up the wall next to our table (due to the lighting and decor everything took on a pinkish hue):

Two things stand out for me about this tearoom: 1. the saltiness of the salad, and 2. the sullenness of the staff. If you’ve trudged through my recent post on Dundee (Overflowing marshmallows) you’ll know that I was on the receiving end of some exceptionally sullen service a couple of days ago, and today brought another variation on the theme. This time it was a waiter, very tall, slightly portly and dressed entirely in black, who dished up the po-faced physiognomy. I suspect that he not only disliked his customers, but positively loathed them. Somehow his tallness and dark attire accentuated his surliness, and I had the impression that if he could get away with regularly poisoning his clientele he’d do so with relish (best avoid the relish in that tearoom, ho ho). As for the salad, it included thick slices of grilled halloumi with sundried tomatoes coated in a sludgy salt-laden dressing:

I thought it looked fairly appetising when it arrived, and indeed for the first mouthful or two it tasted quite nice, but when I began to feel my blood pressure rising and my arteries starting to harden I decided it was time to call it a day. Leaving a smile and an undeserved tip for the po-faced fellow, we tootled off out of the tearoom, probably never to darken its doors again. (Sorry Forfar, but I’ve yet to have a good tearoom experience in your small town. However, there are at least two that I’ve yet to visit, so there’s still time to pull your socks up!)

Having endured a hostile reception at lunch, I felt the need for somewhere friendly and familiar to take afternoon tea, and so it was that we ended up in the little village of Meigle in Perthshire for tearoom number three.

This tearoom has been established for many years and is very popular with locals. It’s been refurbished since I first visited it some years ago, and if you can get a sofa seat by the fire you’re onto a winner:

Having slooshed down tea in both of the first two tearooms, I went for a hot chocolate this time, and when I scanned the cakes on offer, one stood out above all the rest: the raspberry cheesecake. I’m not usually much of a one for cheesecakes, but this one looked too good to pass up. My mum went for a pot of tea and a chunk of tiffin, and this was what came to our table:

So soft, so squishy, so creamy, so raspberry-y:

The hot chocolate was pretty much the way I like it, milky but not too sweet, and I was quite excited about the cheesecake. The fork slipped through it smoothly, promising that creaminess I was looking foward to, and right enough when I tasted it the creaminess was evident, along with the raspberries and the soft squidginess. What I was not prepared for, however, was the temperature. I think every cheesecake I’ve ever had before has been cold, and rightly so. This one wasn’t exactly hot, but it was decidedly warm.

As I slooped my way through the cheesecake it seemed to me to be getting warmer, and perhaps you’re thinking that this was due to me sitting next to the fire, but not so because I was holding it away from the fire to protect it from heating up any more. It was most extraordinary and, if I’m to be brutally honest, not entirely pleasant. In fact, tragic though this undoubtedly seems, I left some of it on the plate.

Wishing to take my mind off the warm slitherings going on in my stomach, I had a wander round the tearoom, which also sells various crafts and gift items, and enjoyed examining the many, mostly circular, mosaic-framed mirrors for sale:

Lastly, I couldn’t resist this little line of dogs, sitting up on the top shelf of a cabinet, especially the little shy one third from the right:


10 thoughts on “Old stables, circular mirrors and a po-faced fellow

  1. Warm cheesecake does sound a bit…unsettling. I’ve never been a cheesecake fan myself, but I think that sooner or later I will have to try and make a vegan version. Anyway…I love getting glimpses into your tearooms! The stone walls are lovely!

    • Thank you very much, I’m so glad you liked them. It does have an interesting atmosphere, that place. If you’re in the mood for a bit of daydreaming you can imagine yourself living in the 1800s.

  2. You’ve convinced me to try and the first tearoom and leave the other two well alone. I love the idea of turning the stables into a tearoom – clever and unique idea.

    • It is a great idea, isn’t it? It’s always busy too, so obviously very popular with a lot of people. As for the others, I feel a bit bad about the last one because it is a very nice tearoom, apart from the warm cheesecake. I will go again and have something else, and hopefully be able to give it a better review next time.

      I daresay if I’d had a different meal and a different waiter the second one would have had its charms too. I don’t like bad-mouthing tearooms because it’s very difficult to provide perfect service all the time, but then again, when you’re dealing with the public you do need to make a bit of an effort.

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