Sunday, July 8, 2012

Brambles English Tea Room: God Save the Queen

For this year's spring break vacation, Jules and I met up in Naples, Florida for a few days of R&R. Prior to the trip I discovered Brambles Tea Room in downtown Naples and knew the Darlings must pop in for a visit. 

If you tour the Brambles website you will immediately pick up on the sunny and down-right adorable pink interior, as well as exterior, appearance of the establishment. All too fitting for Naples really. It truly is quietly tucked away from the crowds walking up and down Fifth Avenue, so much so that Jules and I spent a good ten minutes walking Fifth searching for this mysterious tea room. After asking a shop keeper or two we located the small alley between two stores that leads to Brambles and were pleasantly surprised by the striped awning and white French doors that greeted us. A couple of iron tables were scattered under the awning for outdoor seating that would be lovely for the cooler Florida temperatures during the winter. 

You can't help but fall in love with the place even more upon walking inside. Although a small room, it comfortably holds many square pink table-clothed tables with large English kitchen chairs. The red floral wallpaper and accompanying antique French sconce light fixtures are icing on the cake. All of this being said don't mistake this as a "ladies only" hang-out. Male readers, take heart in knowing that there were plenty of men enjoying finger sandwiches and a cup of tea shamelessly. 

Brambles has a few options for afternoon tea platters that offer assortments of bite sized sandwiches, goodies, and scones. The baked ham and smoked salmon were delicious! Afternoon tea is served from open to close, but other lunch options are available such as large salads and sandwiches as well as quiches. If you're feeling brave try one of the items off of the "Olde English Favourites" menu. The Shepard's Pie offers a special twist by being covered in mashed potatoes and oozing melted cheese. Unfortunately, I have to give the scones a below average review due to the fact that they were no different than Pillsbury biscuits. However, the accompanying strawberry preserves were wonderful and great for the sweet tooth just in case you hadn't gotten enough sugar from the assorted desserts. Speaking of the tea pastries, if you find them  particularly enjoyable they are for sale in the bakery in the back room. 

The best part of Brambles is their selection of signature loose-leaf teas. I personally wanted to try them all; they all sounded so good! Here's the list I saved that is not featured on Bramble's website. 

Blue Lady~China black tea flavored with coconut creme, strawberry, kiwi, and blue flowers.
Caribbean Voodoo~China black tea flavored with cornflowers, mango, coconut, passion fruit, and more.
Creme Brulee~China black tea flavored with caramel and French vanilla.
Royal Wedding~China black flavored with raspberry, strawberry, kiwi, and a hint of mango. Specially blended for the Royal Wedding and so popular we decided to add it to our regular menu.
Autumn Haze~China black tea flavored with cranberries and blueberries.
Earl Grey Lavender~Traditional Earl Grey blend with added lavender petals. 
Earl Grey Raspberry~Traditional Earl Grey blend with tangy raspberry.
Peach Brandy~China black tea with peach brandy
Pumpkin Cream~China black tea with pumpkin flavorings.

Much to Jules, Lizzie, and I's delight Bramble's was offering a special afternoon tea selection in celebration of the Queen's diamond jubilee. Of course, we couldn't pass it up and we were not disappointed!

 The chocolate crown cups were thankfully only a cup because they were incredibly rich and to die for. Being that Jules and I are not huge fans of orange we opted to swap the Orange Vanilla tea for Royal Wedding. However, the "complimentary tea sachet" was Peach Brandy tea and wonderfully tasty. Being a lover of peaches, I wish I had a couple tins of it to accompany the current summer heat. 

I mentioned in a previous post that Lizzie was given quite the warm welcome by Brambles owners, which consequently sparked her promotion to Darjeeling Darling mascot. I only hope that she doesn't get too spoiled with all the American love of the monarchy. Not every tea room visited will give her one of these...
In conclusion, Bramble's is a must if you're visiting Naples. Take a break from the beach and hit the shops of Fifth Street...and then take another break and wander back to Brambles for a sit and a biscuit scone. Be sure to branch out when selecting your tea too! 


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