Sometimes, all you need is to feel like a child again.
I had heard about a truck that occasionally offers free tea to anyone who stops by, but I had no idea where to look for it. But then, by chance, I happened to see an advertisement in the magazine Time Out London. The truck – almost too perfectly timed – would be in Bloomsbury Square at the end of the week.
My friends and I went after class, around 12 PM, and we were first greeted by a wonderful sign that read, “Join us for tea, cake, fun, & frivolity.” Fun and frivolity? We knew then that we had made the right decision to go.
Tea was served outdoors, and despite the lack of sun, it was clear that everyone was enjoying themselves. All types of people had come to enjoy the tea: a large group of students, individual businessmen who had just come in for a quick lunch break, a mother and her daughter, and tourists who stumbled in after a trip at the British Museum. The truck is run by Royal Albert, a company that makes find china, tableware, and teaware. They occasionally offer free tea to promote their products. I loved how the servers even dressed the part. It’s too bad that I didn’t get a picture of the female servers; they looked adorable with their bow headbands and navy-blue polka-dot heels.
The ambiance certainly was whimsical. The pastel colors gave off a dainty feel. In addition, the tables were decorated with hats, feathered boas, and paper mustaches on sticks, all of which we did not hesitate to use to dress up and take pictures. I felt like I was five years old again, pretending to have an imaginary tea party with my friends. Except this time, we have actual tea and not just water in plastic cups.
We were given a choice between English Breakfast tea and Earl Gray. I like my tea with lots of milk and two sugars. Is there a proper way to make your tea? I’m sure there’s still an ongoing debate on whether you should put in the milk or sugar first. Both teas were delicious, and I couldn’t get over how pretty the cream and sugar pots looked.
We were also given a three-tiered tray of mini cupcakes. The bottom tray had chocolate cupcakes with chocolate frosting, the middle tray had vanilla cupcakes with vanilla frosting, and the top layer had vanilla cupcakes with strawberry icing. The cakes were dense, but each of us still managed to eat three.
You could even ask for some ice-cream. Even though it was cold, we felt as if we had to try some to get the full experience. The ice-cream, though, was more reminiscent of frozen Cool-Whip than the creamy mixture we had originally expected. I can’t say that I disliked the ice-cream, though. Its lightness made me feel less guilty about eating sweets for lunch.
By 12:30, a line to get a table formed, and we were glad that we had arrived early. Tea time was a great study break, and I’m glad we experienced some great hopitali-tea!