Serious about its cuppas, this cosy café owes much to owner Jemma Swallow's enthusiasm for fragrant infusions and floral aromas.
As testament to her zeal, an entire wall is devoted to black-lidded canisters filled with prime pickings from the world's famed tea gardens. Sited where the now-defunct Chocolate Café used to be, it has retained the family friendly vibe of its predecessor; but if you're after a mug of milky builder's brew, head elsewhere.
Despite the weighty chandelier and impressive tea chest, it's a homely spot furnished with a mélange of antique-style furniture. No fanciful experiments with food, either; locally made scones, flapjacks, sticky gingerbread, plus lunchtime salads and sandwiches fill any gaps between pick-me-up brews.
Top marks to the butter-kissed cheese scones, and adventurous pumpkin scones with a kick of chilli. Ribena-like in appearance, blackcurrant and hibiscus tea sparkled in a transparent glass teapot. We were treated to a deliciously fruity beverage (think essence of posh wine gums), bursting with natural sweetness.
Equally impressive, green leaf tea, scented with hints of jasmine, restored and revived. As far as gizmos go, we loved the mini tea-timer plonked on the table with every pot - great for clocking the strength of brews. Next time, we'll linger over a wedge of Victoria sponge and enjoy the delicacy of first flush Darjeeling tea. Then maybe we'll play croquet in Richmond Park afterwards.
|Venue name:||Tea Box||Contact:|
7 Paradise Rd
|Opening hours:||Open Mon-Thur 9.30am - 6.30pm; Fri 9.30am-10pm; Sat 9.30am-6pm; Sun 11am-5pm|
|Transport:||Tube: Richmond tube/rail|
|Price:||Tea and scones for two with service: around £10|
|Do you own this business?|
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Average User Rating
3 / 5
- 5 star:4
- 4 star:2
- 3 star:1
- 2 star:0
- 1 star:5
My mum and I have been to The Tea Box on several occasions now and love it dearly! We discovered it when we went to Richmond to buy my wedding dress and have made a pact to continue going even after the wedding! There's so many tea's to choose from and with quirky tea cocktails and collaborations you'll find it hard to run out of options which is why it pains me when someone comes in and orders a coffee! I love the tea timer to help you know when it's at it's best and the atmosphere is lovely - I can understand why people want to stay for hours and they end up with queues out the door, it's just such a relaxing place to be. If I lived nearer (I live about 45 minutes drive away) I'd be there week in week out! The scones are a little small but wonderful and to be honest - I wouldn't have it any other way as I feel less guilty for having one knowing I've got a wedding dress to fit into! The staff are friendly and know their teas and the service is really good - all in all a lovely find that I would recommend to any tea or café lover!
We went to the Tea Box today to celebrate a friend's birthday, and were left very disappointed by the experience. We chose the afternoon tea option which was £18 per adult and £11 per child, and can only say that this offers extremely poor value for money. The pot of tea was tiny, while the sandwich fillings were basic and the children's cheese sandwiches in particular were like something that you'd expect to find in a packed lunch rather than anything special, which you would expect for the price we paid. This might not have seemed so bad had the bread not been stale, but it was. The sandwiches were clearly not fresh - worrying considering one of the fillings was salmon. When we complained to the manager about this, she tried to shift the blame on to us claiming that the bread was stale because we had arrived late for our booking. A lie, as we arrived 15 minutes before our booking and only one of our party was late, by 5 minutes. She slipped up by claiming they were "fine this morning"! When she eventually agreed to bring out some new ones, it took half an hour for them to arrive by which time we had finished our tea, and our children were extremely hungry. Not quite the relaxed experience we had envisaged. As it was, our friend whose birthday we were celebrating left feeling upset and disappointed. On the positive side, our waitress was lovely, but the conduct of the manager was extremely poor and has left us in no doubt that we will never go back nor recommend the Tea Box to anyone. Going by other reviews on this page it would seem we were not alone in our experience!
Yesterday we celebrated my daughter-in-law's birthday along with a few friends. What started out as an enjoyable day turned a bit sour towards the end of our high tea. Firstly, the food arrived at 10 minute intervals that meant two people eating at a time while the other 5 sat and watched. The tea was cold. The waitresses (one we could not understand and the other kept telling us she was new and could not help) were on the whole very friendly. Cake and scones were a bit dry but the scrambled egg with salmon was fantastic but we had to ask for the toast. At the end of the meal we were overcharged and when querying this the staff had to phone someone to check which took some time. When we eventually got to pay and the waitress brought our change she slammed it on the table and said she did not have enough change and therefore could not give us the correct change back. Needless to say the entire group decided that this would be the last visit we would make to the Tea Box.
I enjoy a quality afternoon tea, and, in London it is not unusual to pay over £30 each for the experience. I was recommended by a friend to try the tea box. I went on a Thursday afternoon. There were only two other tables occupied and the waitress was friendly and took time to explain what cake options were available. The tea selection was good, but only black tea is included in the £15.95 pp price. Our tea also arrived more than ten minutes before the food, which meant it was cooled. The sandwiches were plentiful and delicious, but the bread was a bit stale- they had obviously been left out at room temperature a little too long- but this was a small detail really and only around the edges. The scones were small and very light. I had to request a spoon for the jam. The waitress offered to come back to warm up the pecan pie I had chosen, and she did come back to check several times, despite being busy with other customers. Despite the little things, we had a positive experience and left very full indeed. I'll definitely be going here again.
Unfortunately in the world of internet reviews the ratings are often polarized into either mad hatter 5/5 or bit of a drip 1/5. Looking to confirm on the net what events were on over the next month, (its not just Tea at the tea box) I was lead here to the reviews. I was shocked at the number of cold reviews and would like to even things out. I have spent much time at the Tea Box and have enjoyed the lively events, the social nature of the staff and their over brimming knowledge on the subject of tea. Many people have gotten into quite a stir over the issue of hot water. It would be nice if there was a policy in which you paid for the extra water and the space at the table, they are often very busy and so it is understandable that their is a desire to allow as many people to enjoy the experience as possible. With customers lingering over a stewed cuppa while others stand, sometimes queuing into the street, waiting it is understandable that people are discouraged from "Another hot water". The tea is first class and varied, the location good, the staff friendly. If anything it is a victim of its own success as customer service does become difficult when 25 odd tables are all a brew. Find it at its best and you will come again, find it at its most busy and you will not find time to linger. It is sadly a business and (though appearances are often deceiving) not tea at some eastern embassy. May it have a happy future 4/5
I use to go to the Tea Box all the time when I lived in Richmond in early 2011 but today I brought a potential bride and her fiance to chat about me doing their wedding photos as a business meeting- the service was embarrassing as I venue I use to take potential clients. I arrived early before the owner as I know she is lovely but her staff is terrible and gave little or to no attention to the tables that were occupied in the tea house. One couple was very angry for their tea being cold as well food and were told they had to pay service charge even though they were not happy. It was sad we had to listen to the argument and the customer should always be right no matter what. When my clients arrived the server was very sharp with us and all of our tea was cold when served. Also, they had forgotten we had ordered a brownie and it took over 20 min when it was not a heated product. It's prices are premium so I would hope the service would improve to justify the spend. I think the owner is fab and her staff does not reflect her hard work.
My husband and I visited this morning for tea and scones. They were lovely but sadly the service was not. It seemed that the waitresses could not wait for us to leave, having asked us at least three times if everything eas alright, which was very annoying and then wisking away the plates and tea strainer while there was still plenty of tea in the pot. A little more customer friendliness would not go amiss.,
Went here with a friend and my baby for the first time yesterday. There was space for the pram and nobody batted an eyelid when I fed her so from a mom's point of view, it was comfortable. Our first waitress couldn't have been lovelier- friendly, helpful and prompt. As we decided to stay a little longer, we ordered extras from other staff who were friendly but seemed a bit stressed. The reason for three stars is because when I went to the bathroom and passed by the staff station where they prepare food etc., it was so cluttered and untidy plus the waiters seemed stressed, especially when I paid. He wasn't sure about how to process the card payment, asked his colleague for help and she was too busy. I get the impression that some of the staff are lacking training and there is a heavy reliance on a few experienced people. Food was quite nice- we had sandwiches and scones. Tea was lovely; I had vanilla black. I'll definitely go back
the pleasure to be gained from sampling a wide variety of teas is by no means sufficient compensation for the level of service. they really have an extraordinarily bad service culture in this place, maybe emanating from the owner who i understand to be quite, ahem, 'formidable'. the staff have the kind of up-themselves attitude you would generally find at a swank west end place; it's not acceptable there and it certainly ain't acceptable at a richmond cafe serving nice tea and pitiful food. Fail!
I've read through the reviews here, and they do reflect the experience I've had with this place aswell. I work at a specialiced tea and coffee place in Norway, and was delighted to be invited to a place that looked as if it would have everything I'd dreamed of. Unfortunately though, you didn't have any Nepalese tea. Which is fine. What was not, is how my waiter took to being asked about Nepalese tea. His look CLEARLY said "how can you be so f** rude as to ask for that one thing we don't have?!". And afer that it felt quite unpleasant whenever he came by our table, as he was not in a good mood. The place with it selections of teas and apropriate "bits on the side" to tea would have gotten 5 stars from me. But the staff needs to relax more, be less patronising and try to act with a SHRED of professionalism whenever customers don't come inn and say "I'll take whatever you want me to".
Amazing selection of teas, as well as brilliant tea-inspired sorbets, cakes, scones, and lunch food. A really great atmosphere and helpful, knowledgeable staff - all reasonably priced. Highly recommended.