The British Pantry Ltd
Address: 8125 161st Ave NE, Redmond, WA 98052, USA
Telephone: +1(425) 883-7511
Price: $$ (average price of entrée is between USD 11 and USD 25)
Cuisine type: British bakery, restaurant, grocery
The British pantry located in Redmond is a British style bakery and grocery store. It is a family run business that has been around for more than 33 years. While the restaurant and store are open from 10am to 9pm on most days, traditional afternoon tea is served only from 2.30 to 4.30pm. They also serve traditional British breakfast from 10am to noon during weekends. I was to meet some
former colleagues dear friends for an early dinner in Redmond on a Saturday evening. Instead, we headed over to British Pantry for some traditional British tea.
The place is easy to locate and there is plenty of parking available in front of the bakery. With a full service restaurant on one side and a British grocery store on the other, this place certainly is a one stop shop for most Brits on the east side of Seattle. The store may look like a thrift store with mismatched aisles and poor signage. It even has a latch to close the door. But it carries everything to make an expat feel right at home like varieties of English tea, Mcvities biscuits, Weetabix cereals, Cadbury chocolates, different types of marzipan, beans, rice and even Pathak chutneys. A small part of the grocery store is dedicated to gifts like magnets, tea sets, English biscuit tins and teas.
Upon entering the place, a friendly lady greeted me and explained the menu, which had everything ranging from chicken curry pies to traditional English fish and chips and a few vegetarian options too. On the east side of Seattle, barring a couple of tea rooms in Bothell, there aren’t many options for English style afternoon tea. Typically afternoon teas are priced at $30 and above in most places that serve them. British pantry’s traditional tea prices range between $12 and $13 which is a good deal to sample some fine tea and finger foods. My intial thought when I saw the platter in front of me was, portion sizes in other restaurants would have been big enough for 2 people and a doggy bag for the same price. Then I had to remind myself that this is British style tea and therefore I shouldn’t be expecting American portion sizes.
I had the royal tea which came with 4 cucumber finger sandwiches, 2crumpets with jam and cream, a Viennese cookie, few grapes, a wedge of melon and a pot of tea. They let me pick any tea from the menu without an additional charge. I opted for Earl grey and the tea came in a ceramic tea pot with a beautiful printed tea cosy to keep the tea warm. Royal tea in most places come with a glass of bubbly, not in British Pantry, though. They also offer afternoon tea, high tea and emperor tea with the variation being a scone instead of crumpets in afternoon tea, an additional sausage roll in high tea and ham or spinach quiche in emperor tea.
The cucumber finger sandwiches were slathered with cream cheese and obviously very delicious. Crumpets were average, have had better crumpets in the crumpet shop at Pike place market. The orange marmalade and clotted cream deserve a special mention. They were to die for. The highlight of my royal tea was the Viennese cookie, little swirls of buttery goodness with a dot of jam on top. These cuties are available in their bakery for $1.55 a pop, so are other goodies like sausage rolls and quiches. Next time I visit the place, I think i’d just order a bunch of these from the bakery to have with a cup of tea instead of the royal tea.
Service was great to start with, but towards the end the waitress seemed to be a little irritable. She mentioned that her shift was about to end and it was a beautiful sunny day in Seattle. So I guess she was anxious to get out and get some vitamin D. Overall i’d give this place a 3/5 and recommend this place for anyone who wants to just sample some English afternoon tea goodies. Neither the spread nor the ambience is good for a royal afternoon tea. For a truly royal or high tea experience, go to Fairmont in Seattle downtown or hop on a ferry to Victoria, BC.