Yesterday was a first class tearoom day. I visited two of my favourite Perthshire tearooms, one of which will feature in this post, and the other in a separate post.
The first tearoom is housed in an interesting old building that was built in 1825 as a working watermill, but has now been transformed into a fantastic bookshop, tearoom and gallery. It’s the largest bookshop in the rural Scottish highlands and has been voted “best independent bookshop in the UK.” It’s certainly one of my favourite bookshops anywhere and, despite telling myself not to part with cash for anything other than refreshments yesterday, I left the shop as I usually do, armed with a lovely paper bag containing books.
The building is on three levels and you can look down at the tearoom from the main bookshop:
The lower floor accommodates the tearoom, travel books and maps, the middle floor most of the bookshop, and the upper floor contains an art gallery.
I was hoping that they would have their chocolate cake available, a delicacy I’ve enjoyed on more than one occasion in the past, and when we arrived I was delighted to find that there was a whole new cake sitting waiting for me on the display stand. (I did take a photo of my piece of cake, but it was served on a dark red plate which didn’t show it off well, so I’ll leave it to your imagination.)
They have an excellent selection of leaf teas, as well as some good coffees, and I opted for the Russian Caravan tea (“a smoked sweet blend of oolong, keemun and lapsang”), just for a wee change.
The tea came in a cast iron teapot, very heavy and packed with big leafy leaves:
It was absolutely wonderful, very smoky and earthy and the perfect accompaniment to my chocolate cake.
My delightful assistant went for a flat white coffee and a croissant, which came with tasty strawberry jam:
Suitably refreshed, we took an amble upstairs to the bookshop, where I very pleasantly lost track of time, taking photos and browsing amongst the many interesting books on display. Some of the bookshelves are on wheels:
The bookshop has a lot of exposed stonework and some unusually shaped windows, all very attractively lit to give a warm and welcoming feel to the space. Soft music was playing in the background yesterday, and although I generally prefer not to have music on while I try to read, this music was relaxing and unobtrusive, and didn’t stop me from buying books. In fact, I suppose the ambience it created may even have contributed to my book buying. Perhaps there were subliminal messages being played to me, I don’t know.
Right at the top of the building is the art gallery:
Where a colourful six legged creature caught my eye. This is a screenprint called ‘Beastie’ and it’s by Alexander Calder. He, the beastie, seemed to me a jolly, merry little fellow: