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“They didn't tell us that table bookings are only for 1.5 hours”

Soho's Secret Tea Room
Ranked #240 of 392 Dessert in London
Price range: $7 - $51
Cuisines: British
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Dining options: Late Night, Reservations, Seating, Serves Alcohol, Waitstaff
Neighborhood: Soho
Description: Soho's very own secret tea room above the Coach and Horses, a secret vintage tea spot to indulge in amazing cakes and sip on carefully selected teas.
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
36 reviews
6 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
“They didn't tell us that table bookings are only for 1.5 hours”
Reviewed April 8, 2013

I had been wanting to go to the Soho Secret Tea Room after seeing it on a London Must Do list. The opportunity came up at a birthday tea party. There were 8 of us, and we made a reservation. We had to leave £10 a head deposit since we were such a large group. Fair enough.

The tea room is above the Coach & Horses pub and it isn't entirely obvious how you get upstairs - it's through the bar. The tea room itself is quite delightful in a quirky way. For instance, the tables are laid with old-fashioned mis-matched tea cups and saucers.

It was Sunday afternoon and busy. Service was a bit erratic. It took a long time to bring tea and cakes to the table. They forgot one person's pot of tea, and later they forgot that I had asked for a top-up of my empty tea pot. I had a cough and asked for honey with my tea. The waitress came back saying that the kitchen didn't have honey but I might like to try maple syrup instead !

They don't do small tea cakes. Instead, they give you a slice from a big cake which means that you don't get a selection as you would in other tea houses unless you're a big enough group, and it's not quite as dainty. We did think that the scones and cakes were delicious. The sandwiches weren't broadly as satisfying.

There were 2 vegans in our party and they were well-catered for and quite happy - impressed even - with their scones and cakes. They were served cucumber sandwiches instead of a selection.

Nevertheless, we were enjoying ourselves and catching up and relatively distracted from small nuisances like poor service. While we were in the swing of it, the waitress came to inform us that we had to vacate the table in 15 minutes. Apparently, table bookings are only for 1.5 hours ... something they did not tell us when we booked the table. When we said this, the waitress insisted that it was the rules of the house and we had to leave. We were all slightly stunned, mouths half full of cake. By the by, they didn't press us and it probably took us 20+ minutes to finish up and leave. But the damage was done. The instruction to leave blunted the loveliness of our Sunday afternoon outing.

  • Visited April 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank Islington-ite
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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257 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
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Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
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English first
Surrey
Level Contributor
61 reviews
23 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
“Quirky little place with great food.”
Reviewed March 13, 2013

Had a lovely lunch here. The food was delicious and plentiful and the service was very good. A lovely atmosphere and a dear little find. My husband said that the cake was better than at The Ritz!

  • Visited February 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank MJGT
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London
Level Contributor
9 reviews
6 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
“Lovely tea room, delicious cream tea and great ambience”
Reviewed December 17, 2012

I'd been meaning to try this place for ages and having looked at a few reviews I thought maybe it wouldn't be as great as the concept suggested. However, it really works! I loved the retro theme and the fact you have to go behind the bar of the coach & horses (a great pub in its own right) to get to it. The fruit scones were delicious with clotted cream and homemade raspberry jam to die for. At £7.50 including a big pot of earl grey I thought it was great value.

The service was very attentive too and although it looks in the photos as if there was no one in there, there were quite a few behind my vantage point so there was a nice buzz.

Highly recommended and I'll definitely go again.

  • Visited December 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
2 Thank WobblymothLondon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, England, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
12 reviews
7 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
“Nice!”
Reviewed December 16, 2012

I've been here before and always found it very quaint and nice.

The food is quite good (cherry scones and blueberry with lemon muffins yum!) and there is a great range of teas to choose from. Nice way to enter via the bar which is brilliant for surprising people who have not been before.

This is a very busy little place and it is always advised to book in before however you may be asked for a deposit of £5 per person - usually if the booking is for over 6 people.

Really enjoyed the service and the atmosphere of this lovely little place, the only thing that let it down was that it wasn't made clear when we sat down when the sitting ended and my friends were kicked off the table while I was in the bathroom meaning I had to chase them outside to get my coat as there was no room left to stand in the bar downstairs.

All in all I will return again, really enjoyed.

  • Visited December 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank DelSB
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
2 reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“frozen scones and food not fresh.”
Reviewed October 7, 2012

The room is quaint, the music lovely, service good,china cute HOWEVER the food really is sub standard for what you pay. The sandwhiches are obviously made early in the morning so if you visit late afternoon the bread is hard. The scones are frozen ones not baked fresh like almost all other tea rooms. It's a nice place but such a massive shame about the food not being fresh. £7.50 for 2 frozen scones isn't a great deal.

  • Visited September 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
2 Thank MM30_12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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