Mary Evans Young embarks on a quest for the perfect tea shop

My fondness for teashops began in the 1950s when shopping with mother invariably ended in Mrs Perkin’s Tea Shop in Romford. She had a pot of tea, providing at least two cups, and I had a glass of hot, frothy Horlicks in a chrome holder. That was the easy bit. More difficult was deciding between the dainty sandwiches, scones and cream, or, my favourite, Victoria sandwich. It was our quality time and bit of ‘glam’.

I like a tearoom to be lively but not overly noisy, the staff to be friendly but not servile. I never pass on the opportunity to dress up and go somewhere swanky; other times I want to sit and relax with a book or newspaper, watch the world go by or get chatting to people.

So, with 60 years’ experience, I figure I’m qualified and excited to review the teashops of Oxfordshire.

Now, I have a few preferences but only a couple of hard and fast rules: it must be china – not porcelain – and there must be a choice of delicious looking and/or homemade cakes. I prefer my scones warm, but that’s not essential. Sometimes I enjoy dainty sandwiches, depending on my appetite and what’s on my menu for the evening. One thing that is essential is M-I-F: milk in first. Why? It tastes and looks better to me. I don't like sugar in packets, I love sugar cubes and silver tongs – but since I don’t take sugar that’s an aesthetic.

For my first review I chose somewhere close to home – Foodies, Deli & Tea Room in Deddington, which is squeezed between a restaurant and a hair salon with the 13th century church behind, occupying a central position in the market square. Foodies prides itself on local produce and homemade cakes. A large scone with butter, clotted cream, jam and a pot of tea costs £3.99. There’s a wide choice of tea but I settled on regular.

My partner was dithering because behind us, under glass domes, was the display of Carol’s homemade cakes – Guinness & chocolate, Banbury, Fat Rascals, (based on a recipe from Betty’s of Harrogate) and fudge flapjacks (made to Carol’s secret recipe). We settled on the flapjack – sweet, deliciously crunchy, and chewy with a smooth fudge topping.

In addition to the cakes I liked Foodies’ atmosphere – friendly, smart – casual. It’s on my ‘go again’ list.

  • Foodies Deli & Tea Room is in Market Place, Deddington. Call 01869 337470