By Shikha Singh
Set up as part of a social enterprise programme to provide employment and empowerment for people with physical disabilities, this pretty, old-world tea house is a peaceful haven with equally gentle waiting staff, most of who suffer from hearing or speech impairments. There is a silent hush here, an oasis in which to escape the noise of your trip and for us, the chaos of London life.
In keeping with the ambience and ethos of the place, there are small wooden blocks at each table for customer requests, eliminating the need to verbally request the bill, request ice, say thank you etc. This serves as a reminder of the importance of empathising and being mindful of the daily challenges faced by those with sensory impairments. Both my husband and sister felt the need to explicitly tell me to be quiet before we entered (I’m the loud one in our world in case this wasn’t already obvious) but this is an ideal place to come to alone, to close your eyes for a moment of quiet reflection or for an afternoon of reading. There is a nearby Reaching Out Gift Shop, selling ethically-made, traditional, Vietnamese handicrafts, the proceeds of which support affected local families. This is also where you willl find the beautiful teapots and tea-sets that feature at the cafe.
The tempting menu includes a range of traditional teas and coffees (hot and cold) or fresh lime juice with a choice of syrups for those in need of a thirst-quencher in the heat. The place stays true to its name in that it is very much a tea house for nibbles and a drink rather than a meal so don’t come too hungry. If you are peckish and want a cookie with your tea, then have a glance at their selection of delicate biscuits and sweet bites (the coffee-flavoured coconut shards being my favourite) and if they sound too intriguing to choose from, then don’t – they have a tasting option, which allows you to indulge in all so sit back, relax and shhhhhh……
About the author:
Shikha is a medical doctor by day and an avid travel blogger by night. With a passion for seeing the world, she has explored more than 30 countries across 5 continents. Having grown up in Saudi Arabia and England, she has been settled in London for over a decade, a city she remains besotted with. You can read more of her travel tales at: http://whywasteannualleave.