THE Curiously Wicked Tea Room is the curious name for a quaint new eaterie that’s opened up in the chic Sanderson Arcade in Morpeth.
The Edwardian-style restaurant offers some seriously good dishes along with a side ordering of period drama, as we discovered when we popped in for lunch one Saturday.
It’s the brainchild of the Curiously Wicked team who own the award-winning chocolate and patissiere shop on the ground floor. Following on from the success of the chocolatier’s, they have now opened up the first floor and lovingly turned it into a welcoming tea room.
Staff are kitted out in Edwardian dress, and dark wood furnishings, showpiece chandeliers, gold wallpaper and swags and tails curtains all add to the period charm. There’s an enticing snug too with Chesterfields and a lovely air of calm.
It’s all quite theatrical but there’s absolutely nothing quaint or over-fussy about the food, which we found top-notch – much of it locally sourced and home-made.
Chef David Hall, we later discovered, has a great cooking pedigree, having cooked for royalty and worked at many of the region’s top eateries, including Alnwick Castle and The Sage Gateshead in his time.
We took a table, draped in crisp white table linen, by the window overlooking the attractive arcade full of gorgeous shops.
After all the deluges we’ve endured of late, hubby remarked you’d look out of the window and never have to see rain.
Owner Krystyna Dodds and the team have researched the decorations, furniture, recipes and uniforms of the time to transport customers back 100 years.
The business is a family affair too as her daughter works there and is marrying the butler (if memory serves me correctly!).
Although you can take photos with mobiles and text, phone conversations are strongly discouraged, but morning coffee, afternoon tea and indulgent lunches are all positively encouraged.
As well as sandwiches, pastries and filling lunches, local dishes include Tipsy Northumbrian Rarebit, Morpeth Bool and Pan Haggerty.
There’s no alcohol licence as yet and as we didn’t fancy coffees or teas, we chose old-fashioned cream soda, £1.90, and elderflower and rose cordials, £1.90 – rather on the sweet side for me – while we studied the menu.
We chose from the Edwardian Yuletide banquet menu – available until New Year’s Eve, but many dishes also feature on their regular Sunday lunch menu – with three courses for £14.95.
Soup of the day, mushroom and thyme, was creamy and smooth, full of flavour and served with soft stottie triangles with butter portions presented under tiny cloche.
My Festive Shroom Lonnen – a mini mountain of sautéed button mushrooms cooked with the sweetest of chestnuts, atop a toasted stottie and glazed with Northumbrian smoked cheese, was a tasty starter. It came with crisp salad accompaniment.