Rosey Lea started out as a simple, yet beautiful tearoom within the market square in Bishops Stortford and I was lucky enough to visit this with Jen from Great Cake Places towards the start of 2013 as part of a cakey tour of my region. We had a fantastic day, eating more than our fair share of afternoon teas and cake-based treats, the sugar crash was immense to say the very least!
There is some outside seating on the terrace overlooking the market square and a log fire to keep you warm in the winter next to a pot of something seasonal and a varied menu of hot and cold offerings to keep any customer content.
Rosey Lea is opened by Leanne Gregory, a 26 year old business woman who very recently had a baby between exciting plans to grow her business, she’s an inspiration in my eyes and I admire her for growing such an impressive brand over a fairly short period of time. She’s very recently opened a second shop, growing into a small independent chain of two properties with a team of 12 staff and their second premises just outside of Bishops Stortford in the farmyard of Wickham Hall, off Hadham Road.
Setting The Scene:
Having seen a Facebook photo of their “Elvis” pancake stack a few weeks prior to my visit, I had been craving a GOOD American pancake for some time and this particular Sunday was the day to visit. The sun was shining, we fancied the more rural retreat of Wickham Hall and so decided to venture out for a jolly drive across country to this lovely barn filled with naughty treats.
We even plotted a visit to Mountfitchet castle in Stansted on the way home and we ended up staying hours, walking off our brunch afterwards, it was a lovely day out and I would highly rate it to any kids – young and old!
It was packed, families, couples and dog walkers (aww, the most gorgeous spaniel I’ve ever seen was slobbering outside and I had a crazy dog lady cuddle on my way through!) with their pooches sat outside the door peering in… you name it, the shop was hosting it. There was a real buzz as soon as we walked through the door and the smell of the freshly prepared food was saliva-inducing, we had arrived hungry and we were ready for a pancake stack.
Our smiley waitress sat us down in the far corner and offered a couple of menus before taking off to serve other tables and allow us to choose. There was a little bit of a wait to be served, but having seen “The Elvis” above us on the specials board, we both knew what we wanted…
Our order was fairly simple and we looked like that lovey-dovey couple that had everything the other was having, this is simply unheard of for us, we usually have very different thoughts, but today, it was two of everything.
We went for a mocha to drink, of which came in the largest coffee mug I’ve ever wrapped my hands around – fantastic value for money at £2.50 for a vat of our chosen hot beverage.
To eat, we both went for “The Elvis” pancakes, a stack of fluffy American pancakes at £5.95, a special offering for a short time adorned with peanut butter, banana, Nutella, maple syrup and crispy bacon – it was a heart attack on a plate, but it was worth the drive, amazing!
I wouldn’t want to recreate these at home, very much a treat dish, this one is reserved for the dirtiest of cravings once in a while. We ate the entire stack – maple syrup and all!
In fact, I don’t need to review these… my empty plate says all it needs to.
The Little Extras:
Everybody was friendly, nothing was too much effort.
It was clean, tidy, bright and fresh flowers were on each table – seasonal daffodils to add a splash of colour, it’s a very well thought out tearoom.
The staff were well presented, with pinnies to set them aside from the customers. They were chatty and knew the brand well – our waitress got chatting to us about our choice of pancake and decided on giving it a go herself for her lunch break treat later, it felt so welcoming as a new guest.
The Little Niggles:
The coffees that we had ordered took a fair while to come to us, it wasn’t a huge issue as we were busy chatting, but we waited a good 20 minutes before they arrived, not ideal.
Toilets are hidden away behind an unmarked door, so I felt like I was ducking into a cupboard before I knew I was in the right place – a little sign outside might be handy to signal where they are, but a silly issue in the grand scheme.
The only other niggle I would mention is that the new venue at Wickham Hall was not mentioned on the website, so I had to do a bit of delving into older news articles about the new venue to find any sort of address to find it. The team need to update their website to make it easier to find out more about this new place – unless they don’t want us to find it easily, it’s a gem of a place after all, I almost don’t want to share it myself…
From pancakes stacks to “posh paninis”, afternoon tea to takeaway lunch boxes filled with fresh salads or deep-filled jacket potatoes, this cute tearoom has it all and the friendly and knowledgeable team provide a great service to boot.
This isn’t quite Cambridgeshire, but it’s well worth the short drive down to the Essex/Herts border for a good quality slice of homemade Victoria Sponge and a cup of “Winchester” loose leaf tea from a very respectable selection of over 15 blends to choose from – no floor scrapings here. You can even take some tea home for elevenses later on, a great touch.
Fresh and seasonal ingredients are used in their dishes and all locally sourced where possible – you get fresh, top quality food here, it truly doesn’t disappoint. I’ll be going back in the near future, especially if they get their cookery school going, there’s a space ready to go, so watch their news feeds closely for updates.
I’m glad we were headed to the castle for a run around, we needed it!
You can also read about Miss Sue Flay’s other Secret Stays & Reviews here.
Please Note – I paid my own way at this venue and I am in no means obliged to blog or write about this location, but I simply choose to share their offerings with my readers, should I enjoy the experience. Any questions or to discuss an independent review or “Secret Stay“, please do email: firstname.lastname@example.org