Walk through the portals of one of Dun Laoghaire high street's most elegant old buildings, make your way past colourful bolts of furnishing fabric and take the lift, to tea and cake lover's bliss. The White Tea rooms span the first floor frontage of what was once the Northern Bank manager’s drawing room, now dispensing the comforts of fresh baked lemon drizzle cake and deep layered coffee and walnut gateau.
Panels of mixed vintage cups and teapots decorate the walls and the long room is temptingly arranged with tables and chairs and cosy settees for leisurely repasts of proprietor (and former architect) Alice Burns' excellent homemade savoury and sweet treats.
Fresh soups, salads and tarts of the day are posted on blackboards, offering choices like roast beetroot, orange and feta cheese salad with crushed hazelnuts and mixed leaves or Caviston's baked ham, Emmenthal, slow-roast tomatoes and handmade basil mayonnaise.
A savoury tart combines courgette ribbons, crumbled goat's cheese, thyme and flaked almonds, and pre-midday arrivals can opt for a comforting breakfast of boiled eggs and dippy soldiers.
A more elaborate Saturday brunch goes on to 2 pm with fresh juice, sizzling bacon, eggs, toast or scones and the addition of eggs Florentine, Benedict or crowned with smoked salmon. Toast and sandwiches are made with made with Caviston’s low GI bread and gluten-free bread is available too, along with two gluten-free cake options daily, such as the dense and chocolatey flourless brownies.
House tea is Barry's Gold Blend and speciality teas are finest loose leaves and flowers by Solaris Botanicals based in Galway, ranging from Earl Grey and Darjeeling to jasmine green tea and Rosa Flores.
Proper barrista coffees come from Badger and Dodo, boutique coffee roasters based in County Cork. Hot chocolate is made with real chocolate drops, steamed milk and honey...