This week I went out with both Mother and Grandmother (a tri-generational food excursion, I guess!) and I think we may have stumbled across the best café in Colchester for an affordable lunch. I’d originally planned to take them somewhere else, however I was completely sold by the varied and tasty menu that Small Talk Tearooms has to offer and it turned out to be much better than our original plan.
Small Talk Tearooms on Eld Lane has such personality about it, and I was quite blown away by the decor. Vintage pieces, impeccably neat displays of spice jars and decorative plates, and framed photos of sepia times gone by all whisk you directly into the past. It’s deliberate and considered, and Monika (one of the owners) has done a wonderful job of recreating that oldy-worldy feeling.
The tea room is beautiful from the outside, too – a gorgeous sage exterior and windows lined with purple and white flowers. Eld Lane is actually one of my favourite streets to walk down in Colchester because of the diversity of shops and eateries, each with their own original appeal, and Small Talk Tearooms fits in perfectly there.
It’s mentioned on the website that Small Talk Tearooms offers a menu focused around seasonal British food that is sourced as locally as possible. The variety is great – there’s sandwiches, jacket potatoes, soups, and salads for lunch, plus a range of breakfasts and desserts too. I fell in love with the tea menu – with over 40 teas it’s the perfect option for tea-lovers. Each tea comes in it’s own pot with an adorably tea cosy – something I haven’t seen in a while! I opted for the Smoky Lapsang tea, one of my favourite flavours due to its unique, bonfire-esque taste. It’s one that I don’t see in many places so I grab it whenever I can.
Although there was a lot to choose from, I knew that I had to go for the Fisherman’s Salad as it’s something I haven’t really seen in other cafés – smoked mackerel on a bed of watercress served with potato salad, egg, horseradish sauce, and crusty bread and butter. It was gorgeous! I was full at the end, but still felt light as it was such a healthy option to eat. The potato salad was really creamy, and the smoked mackerel was bursting with flavour. It made a change from the things I usually order and I know when I go back I’ll have to order it again.
We also ordered the smoked salmon platter – another fish salad comprised of smoked salmon on watercress with tartare sauce and crusty bread and butter – for some reason it was served on a cucumber salad instead but I was told that the salmon was perfect and it made a lovely meal. There was also an order of a jacket potato with cheese and coleslaw – this was a properly full plate, and Mum didn’t have to eat it all to become full!
As well as the delicious menu I’ve mentioned Small Talk Tearooms also offer afternoon tea for two, brought out on a tiered cake stand. It’s only £22 and consists of finger sandwiches, a cake selection, scones with jam and cream, and a pot of tea or coffee of your choice. I’ve made a mental note to come back and try it – we didn’t try any desserts in the end as we were so full but the high quality of our lunch has me feeling like their afternoon tea will be gorgeous.
All three of us really enjoyed our visit to Small Talk Tearooms in Colchester – it was such a lovely place to eat, with really friendly staff and flavoursome food that was delivered to our tables very quickly. Lunch for three of us came to around £20 which was very budget-friendly, especially considering two of the dishes we ordered were fish-based. It’s the perfect tea room for anyone who loves the atmosphere of old… Charming and unique, I couldn’t recommend it more.
What would you order from Small Talk Tearooms? If you enjoyed this review then please don’t forget to like, pin, and leave a comment! You can read some of my other Essex café reviews here: