Thursday, 12 August 2010

Loopy Lorna's. Morningside, Edinburgh

A colourful yet civilised riot of tea and cakes!

I've never understood the British enthusiasm for a cup of black tea and milk. It is the source of amusement for our continental neighbours as although we have a reputation as a tea drinking nation, we tend not to drink it properly. The Brits tend to stick a bag of PG Tips or similar in with a load of milk and sugar and think that is the correct way. I never used to like tea much, but then when I discovered the wider world of leaves and more, I became quite a fan! When I moved to Germany in 2002, I was astonished to find the continentals were the tea fanatics, not the stereotypical Brits! Here, I discovered tea is an artform. Fruity flavours play a prominent role, as do the correct type of sugar, teapot, strainers and cups. More importantly is the fact that tasty tea needs to be served in its purest form and not enslaved in a bag. If Germany can pull this off successfully, how come so many places in tea's spiritual home the UK serve bagged tea? (Even sometimes with the bag bobbing up and down in it...ugh!) No worries, the revolution is coming and Loopy Lorna's is an exemplary tea house leading the way!

Loopy Lorna's has just opened its second branch in Edinburgh and once you have been, the experience will fill you with so much colour and joy it will stay imprinted on your mind, urging you to plan your next visit. It is owned by a Liverpudlian living in Edinburgh (remind you of anyone?!) and is a tribute to her late mum Lorna. Tea here is not just something to pass the time, it is a ritual, an event. The decor is predominantly pink which makes for great photo opportunities, perfect for a girlie afternoon. The china is mismatched with flowery prints and the clash of colours somehow match. It is a tea room but they serve other drinks like coffee but it would be a shame to come here and have an Americano (although it is potent and deliciously roasted...). Spoilt for choice, I read the tea menu like a book, devouring every description. Whoever thought tea could be so varied, so tasty? It was like reading a food menu. In the end, I settled on a Mint Pow, a zingy revitaliser. It was a combination of spearmint and peppermint which was extremely peppy-uppy. As the tea is served in its purest form, all teas are served with a strainer. Beats squeezing a bag with the back of a spoon and slinging it on the draining board! However, the highlight of LL's is the range of tea cosies.

Tea cosies? I hear you cry. Yes, cosies. Each teapot has its own personal touch as it is served with a handmade cosy. Glance round the cafe and you will see a riot of colour and homeliness. My cosy was a cheeky frog and I spotted a strawberry, an octopus, a bunny and more! What I love about this place is its individuality and attention to detail; the effort invested to make the cafe stand out from the crowd and not just to be another copy of Costa lot and Starmegabucks. Quirky touches like the cosies and the display of balloons in the entrance bring a smile to your face and leave a lasting impression.

Afternoon tea isn't complete without cake! On the counter is an amazing array of cupcakes, Victoria Sponge and many more delicacies. The cakes are arranged on delicate cakestands, temptingly standing there waiting to be eaten...this was the stuff dreams are made of! If LL's across-the-road neighbour is Willy Wonka, then this place is Alice in Wonderland.

In case anyone is reading this who knows me, my birthday is in 2 weeks. I really like cake, funky tea cosies and the idea of afternoon tea. I also have the day off work. Please take me to Loopy's. Not subtle I know but thanks anyway.

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Hi Vindaloo Kings and Queens!