The delightfully-named Arthur Probsthain opened his oriental and African bookshop in Great Russell Street exactly 110 years ago.
Upstairs it’s still family business as usual. A few years ago, however, the latest generation, Tim and Chris, cleared out the bulging cellar and turned it into a tiny tearoom. It’s turned into a favourite haunt of mine, hiding in plain sight in one of the busiest streets in Tourist London. While the hordes pile into the local Starbucks, Tea & Tattle remains resolutely undiscovered.
Even at the busiest times you can usually find a table* in the bright, not-too-clunkily-modern basement. They serve a small selection of sandwiches, cakes and scones – and a large selection of teas; Monmouth coffee for non-tea drinkers.
Full marks for the mis-matched china, gorgeous Chinese wallpaper, friendly service and Wi-Fi.
Just shy of top marks for the fact that they cream-and-jam your scones for you rather than supplying individual ingredients for you to slather-on yourself. That said, it’s always a generous amount of cream and jam so excellent for greedy people who don’t like to look bad by slathering on all of the supplies.
Set afternoon tea is £24.50 (including home made lemonade), but I usually use the a la carte menu, where a tea and scone combo costs £5.90.
Despite its being easy to walk past, Tea & Tattle is a great place to arrange to meet friends from out of town, as the directions are: Opposite the British Museum.
*Don’t always take a table for granted. One Saturday recently I bowled up to find the whole place had been taken over by single party. I found solace in the lovely but usually-too-crowded-to-get-into London Review Cafe.
Tea & Tattle is at 41 Great Russell Street, London, WC1B 3PE
Opening Hours: Mon-Fri 9.00am – 6.30pm
Sat – 12.00pm – 5.00pm