Antique shop / tea room Anteaques has been on our to-do list for a long time, having been recommended by several of our tea loving friends. The front of the shop is taken up with the kitchen, two tables and dark wood shelves lined with large tin tea caddies. Through the back there are a few more tables squeezed in among the antique objects for sale.
The selection of teas is impressive. In the end I went for one of the Christmas seasonal special teas, rooibos with cinnamon and star anise. (I notice that on the last stop of the Tea Tour I expressed my dislike of rooibos. My tastes have since changed. It’s now one of my favourite teas.) Lucy chose keemun tea and we both had a fruit scone with jam and clotted cream. The cake selection was not nearly as impressive as the extensive tea menu but it scarcely mattered because the scones were so good: moist and soft and knobbly.
The Christmas rooibos was a delicate, glossy orange tea, delicious on its own and also, according to Lucy, lovely with milk. The keemun was subtle; full bodied but not at all smoky.
The floral patterned, gilt edged cups matched the saucers, our tea spoons were identical and the milk jug looked like it formed part of a set with Lucy’s tea pot. Normally Lucy favours mismatched crockery but in this case she felt that the excessively matching tea ware, looking for all the world like an experiment in crockery cloning, was entirely in keeping with the atmosphere of the place. Anteaques is a sophisticated tea room, as evidenced by the softly playing background music reminiscent of the soundtrack in an arty 1950s film.
The pots of tea were generous. We each had our own large pot which could have comfortably served two people. At one point, Lucy peered inside her tea pot, groaned and pressed her face into her hands. “I must have had about six cups of tea and there’s still some left in the pot. I’m going to have to admit defeat.”
I managed to finish all my tea but could not enjoy my victory for very long. Be warned now: Anteaques has no toilet. “We used to have a commode in the window,” one of the owners offered with a cheeky grin, “but someone bought it.”
Anteaques, 17 Clerk Street, Edinburgh, EH8 9JH