Boston Tea Party, Stratford-upon-Avon

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Boston Tea Party, Stratford-upon-Avon

British Restaurant - Address: St Gregory's Hall, Henley Street, Stratford-Upon-Avon, CV37 6QW

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Review of "Boston Tea Party, Stratford-upon-Avon"

published 18/03/2017 | RICHADA
Member since : 20/06/2004
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If my reviews entertain, amuse or brighten your moment in any way, then my task is done! ++ Sadly - Nobody has asked me for £100 yet, I'm not in the habit of giving away money! ++
Good
Pro Building. Ingredients. Menu. Style.
Cons Dry. Over-cooked. Slow Service.
exceptional
Value for Money
Standard of Menu
Atmosphere
Standard of Service
Cleanliness

"BOSTON TEA PARTY'S NEWEST VENUE"

WHERE IN THE WORLD?

For this review we are on the north eastern tip of the Cotswolds in the south Midlands at the scenic, tourist trap (thanks Mr Shakespeare!) town of Stratford Upon Avon.

WHY DID WE CHOOSE THE BOSTON TEA PARTY IN STRATFORD UPON AVON?

Well, we weren’t really “in” Stratford, we were merely stopping off for breakfast on the way one recent Sunday morning, to an appointment a few miles north of here. The previous night, thanks to the wonder of the “www” we discovered that our favourite Honiton Breakfast venue, Boston Tea Party (BTP) had, last year, opened a new restaurant in Stratford, what a thoroughly appropriate venue for a BTP we thought, and, how very conveniently located on our route that morning too!

LOCATION & ACCESSIBILITY: 13 / 15

We merely followed Ulrika (that is our Volvo’s female GPS)’s directions off of the M40 and into Stratford on main roads that I did not recognise from our last visit around fifteen years ago, suffice to say here that, landing up in an ugly grey 1960’s concrete multi-storey car park right opposite Boston Tea Party, we saw nothing that is remotely pretty about Stratford Upon Avon en-route.

Boston Tea Party is very prominently located in the distinctive old School Hall on the corner of Henley and Windsor Streets, just off the main A3400 Birmingham Road. The Windsor Street multi-storey car park is almost opposite and at £1 for an hours’ parking, we were not caned on price either!

Accessibility is very good; a flat entrance from the level pavement in Henley Street, through large glass doors, the main restaurant is on the ground floor, along with the toilets. There is further seating upstairs too, but on our 9.00am Sunday morning visit it seemed to make more sense to sit downstairs in sight of the order bar and kitchen door.

FIRST IMPRESSIONS / AMBIANCE: 12 / 15

This is now our third Boston Tea Party experience, we enjoyed the Ringwood one on one occasion and are ‘once a month’ regulars in Honiton – which I have previously reviewed on Ciao. Each branch has its own unique appeal – all are in converted historic buildings – this converted School building being quite different to the grain warehouse in Ringwood and the ancient shop premises in Honiton.

Once inside a Boston Tea Party, all, understandably, share the same menu, serving style and, to a degree, decor too. The Stratford one, compared to the others in our experience, is very light and airy with big windows and high ceilings. As in Honiton, here there is a courtyard “garden” with outside seating – it was a chilly, windy, late February morning, not one for eating “out”!

As with the other branches experienced, the Stratford Boston Tea Party presents itself as a well cared for, clean and tidy experience. That extends from your first impression of the exterior, right through, importantly, to your visit to the toilets.

In the other branches of Boston Tea Party, partly creating a warm and friendly ambiance are the staff, in Honiton we are “known” and treated like old friends, but during our one and only visit to Ringwood we were also made very welcome. In Stratford Upon Avon there was an unfamiliar, uncomfortable even, aloofness about the staff, which I found unsettling, especially in this, the friendliest region of mainland Britain!

THE MENU: 13 / 15

The menu is consistent throughout the Boston Tea Party chain, if you have seen one, you have seen them all! Honiton is quite a distance (131 miles by road) from Stratford Upon Avon, and I have to say it felt a wee bit incongruous ordering a “West Country Breakfast” here in the Midlands!

As well as the finest choice in Breakfasts that you will find anywhere, Boston Tea Party also offers a very good range of cakes and pastries, biscuits and light lunches as well as the breakfast selection which is available all day. Boston Tea Party is a daytime establishment – closing here at 7.00pm (Sundays at 6.00pm), if you are looking for a “main” meal you may be better served elsewhere.

Ingredients are locally sourced wherever possible (Yeo Valley Dairy being used for example) and are all free range. The majority of the cakes are made on the premises.

Boston Tea Party is a place where you feel quite comfortable just popping in for a cup of tea or coffee and being tempted by one of the delicacies on display behind the counter, or choosing from the intriguingly eclectic menu. The menu errs on the healthy side, salads, sourdough breads, smoothies etc, and, from experience, even the fried, cooked breakfasts are at the healthy end of the greasy spoon spectrum.

THE PRICES: 9 / 15

I have said this before, Boston Tea Party is not a cheap meal option, but then in these surroundings, with this ambiance it should not need to be in order to draw in custom. However, here in Stratford, unlike the previous two visited, for the very first time I left Boston Tea Party feeling that the value was marginal in this case, and, that we probably could have done better for less money elsewhere in the town, or somewhere else entirely such as Cote Brasserie in Leamington Spa, who also offer excellent breakfasts at very reasonable prices – more reasonable than Boston Tea Party.

Examples with pricing from the menu: The Boss “Brunch” (Bacon, sausage, Hog’s pudding, mushroom, roasted new potatoes, roasted tomatoes, scrambled egg, baked beans, two rounds of toast) at £10.00 is the most expensive item on the menu, matched, in price, by a Super Salad (Avocado, mango, radish, sprouting seeds, sugar snap peas, leaves, carrot, nuts & seeds) - £7.50 - with added chicken or halloumi - £2.25. West Country Breakfast (bacon, sausage, scrambled egg, roasted tomatoes, baked beans and toast) - £7.75. Poached or scrambled egg on toast £4.50, Ultimate Burger (Brioche bun, bacon jam, Cheddar, pickled cucumber, chipotle aioli, tomato, cos, chips, coleslaw) - £8.95.

They offer superb Earl Grey Tea is £2.15 for a pot (with unlimited hot water top ups), whilst the equally excellent coffees range from £2.10 for an 8oz Americano to £3.30 for a 16oz Mocha. Again, not cheap, but all that we have tried have been of more than sufficient quality to justify the price.

THE SERVICE: 5 / 15

You start by choosing your table, indoors or out, they are all numbered, and have full menus on little clipboards on them along with cans containing knives, forks and paper napkins. Having decided on your order, you place and pay for it over the counter having told them your table number.

Usually at Boston Tea Party branches the, predominantly, young staff are friendly, well versed on the food and beverages served, enthusiastic and eager to please. Here in Stratford that proved not to be the case, trying to get any conversation, about what they were serving, out of them at all was like pulling teeth and, for the first time in one of these establishments, we really were not made to feel like valued customers.

The service was also unacceptably slow, it taking 45 minutes from ordering over the counter to being served. Breakfast, especially when self-ordered, should really be a faster paced experience than this; coffee was served quickly enough, we had requested, when ordering, that the (cold from the counter) croissants be served with it, they arrived about ten minutes later when the coffee had been more than half consumed. There was no apology when our cooked food finally arrived and it was no surprise that it was also looking rather dry and shrivelled as if it had been kept warm for too long.

THE DRINKS: 10 / 10

Tea or coffee, it makes no odds, the quality at Boston Tea Party, here in Stratford or anywhere else, will, in all likelihood, be the best you have sampled anywhere. On this occasion I had a simple black coffee, but would give a particular mention to the superb Earl Grey tea blend – served in loose leaf form in a strainer tea pot.

If you prefer a cold drink, rather than one of the excellent teas or coffees, there is also a limited range of soft drinks and beers available, mostly of the bottled “artisan” variety, as well as freshly squeezed juices.

THE FOOD: 7 / 15

Up until Stratford, and once since in the Honiton BTP, anything that we have been served in a Boston Tea Party has been very good indeed, in terms of quality, portion size and the standard of cooking, which has always proven faultless. However, this time, had this been our first Boston Tea Party experience, at these prices, we would have been very unlikely to return.

Whilst the quality of the food ingredients themselves remains high, whichever branch you frequent, here in Stratford Upon Avon, my West Country Breakfast had almost been cooked to death. Mrs R had chosen scrambled egg and smoked salmon on sourdough toast. Her meal was freshly cooked, as was my scrambled egg. The other components of my breakfast – particularly the tomato, baked beans and sausage however were dry and shrivelled, as if cooked a couple of hours ago and then kept hot, at £7.75, this is not what I would have expected.

Had we not have had a 10.30 appointment to keep half an hour away, I would have sent my meal back to the kitchen and requested “fresh” food – as it was the service had been so slow that all we had time to do was use the toilet and leave.

THE CONCLUSION 69 / 100

In both the other Boston Tea Party restaurants that we have used the staff have always engaged us as to feedback about our enjoyment of the food – here in Stratford that was conspicuously absent, as was any other form of interaction between the staff and customers in general.

On my standard restaurant scoring system the Honiton Boston Tea Party managed to sneak in one point ahead of Bettys of Harrogate - their Ringwood restaurant would not have been far behind either. This showing, at the newest branch in their chain, was very disappointing indeed. We have eaten in the Honiton BTP since and I can confirm that standards of food, cooking and service remain vastly superior in the Devon town.

Is Stratford simply too far away from Boston Tea Party’s Bristol base? After all a “West Country Breakfast” in the heart of the Midlands did look and feel somewhat incongruous to me. I seriously hope that the Stratford on Avon experience is not indicative of what is to come from Boston Tea Party as their pricing cannot stand the very lacklustre experience in this case.

Putting that score in perspective, here is a comparison with other eating places rated on the same scoring system:

Benedicts of Belfast – 96% (Dinner x 2)
Marrocco’s – Hove – 95% (Lunch, Dinner, Tea & Ice Cream!)

Boston Tea Party – Honiton – 95% (Breakfast, Lunch, Tea)

Bettys – Harrogate – 94% (Tea and Lunch)
Osso Buco – Weybridge – 94% (Dinner)
The Grand – Eastbourne – 90% (Tea Only)
Donatello – Brighton – 88% (Lunch and Dinner)
The Tea Cosy – Brighton – 86% (Tea Only)
Breakfast Club – Brighton – 70% (Breakfast)

BOSTON TEA PARTY – Stratford Upon Avon – 69% (Breakfast)

P&O Brasserie – Spirit of Britain – Dover to Calais Ferry – 50% (Dinner x 3)
Stanmer House – Brighton – 44% (Lunch Only)

OPENING TIMES:

Mon – Sat: 7.00 – 19.00, Sun: 8.00 to 18.00.

CONTACT & FIND:

Boston Tea Party (BTP)
St Gregory's Hall
Henley Street
Stratford-Upon-Avon
CV37 6QW

Tel: 01789 209230

Website: http://www.bostonteaparty.co.uk/our_cafes/stratford.php

Email: stratford@bostonteaparty.co.uk

© RICHADA / CIAO 18.03.2017

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This review was read 106 times and was rated at
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Comments on this review

  • Saraa23 published 19/08/2017
    Sounds like a disappointing branch!
  • euphie published 09/04/2017
    e :o)
  • missrarr published 31/03/2017
    Very disappointing!
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Product Information : Boston Tea Party, Stratford-upon-Avon

Manufacturer's product description

British Restaurant - Address: St Gregory's Hall, Henley Street, Stratford-Upon-Avon, CV37 6QW

Product Details

Type: British Restaurant

Address: St Gregory's Hall, Henley Street, Stratford-Upon-Avon, CV37 6QW

Country: England

City: Stratford-upon-Avon

Continent: Europe

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Listed on Ciao since: 09/03/2017