A friend of ours was leaving Venice for a few weeks and a mutual acquaintance suggested that we should have a last lunch together. The place put forward was somewhere called The Tea Room. The Tea Room! The TEA room. What tomfoolery was this. Supposing I was seen. The cry would go up round Venice, “Do you know who I saw and what he was drinking?” On being told there would be general fainting and disbelief.
However at 12.30 we found ourselves seated in said Tea Room. It’s a very uncluttered place with very few tables. We were first but after half an hour all tables were taken. Despite its name it does not have an overtly English feel to it and neither does the menu. We were given rather attractive small menus and I was taken back by the varieties of tea that are on offer; every flavour and variety including tisanes. I don’t know what tisanes are but there were plenty of them. At last as a sinking feeling began to overtake me I saw those lovely words ‘wine’ and ‘beer’. So followed a very pleasant lunch for the four of us. There was a choice of lenticche al curry, zuppa di ceci, quiche di vedure, pappa al pomodoro, ribolita and crêpes vegetariana. We all chose different things with me opting for the lenticche. It was unbelievably tasty and with just the right amount of heat. It was incredibly filling, so much so that I didn’t eat for the rest of the day. The Tuscan bread that came with the meal put Venetian bread to shame. With our glass of wine came a half litre of tap water. So, all in all we had an excellent lunch.
There is much attractive artwork in the Tea Room mostly of animals and postcard copies are available to buy. The service is very personal and unrushed and that is not a euphemism for slow. For those of a literary bent the palazzo opposite is the one Henry James had in mind when writing The Aspern Papers.
For lunch and a glass of wine 13 euros.
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