When you think about afternoon tea, your mind goes straight to places like The Dorchester and other large establishments. And yes, wouldn’t that be grand! However if you head ever so slightly to the West and find Blythe Road, you might stumble upon a hidden gem in Betty Blythe Vintage Tea Room. This is my new favourite place to have a coffee or – even more fabulous – a 1920’s inspired afternoon tea!
My very good friend was coming over and, knowing she’s a major tea fan, I thought I would take her for afternoon tea. When googling, all of the standard places came up – bigger hotels that is!
All of a sudden, I saw the name Betty Blythe and with it a picture – and then it hit me! I happen to live at a junction to Blythe Road and, walking with my brother on his last visit, I noticed a sign which was a gorgeous black and white picture of Betty Blythe. I remember saying to my brother that it would be my new place to write, but little did I know then that they were hiding the opportunity of afternoon tea inside.
So who is Betty Blythe then you might wonder. An idol of mine from the 1920s, she started in theatre but shortly found herself entering the world of silent films. She appeared in 63 silent films throughout her career and she was known for being one of the first ever actresses to appear on film (almost) naked – as this was the 1920s, you can imagine how big a deal that was!
After corresponding with the staff of Betty Blythe Vintage Tea Room and finally booking my surprise afternoon tea, my friend still only had a picture as a clue as to what was going to happen. I tried to dress ever so slightly the part, but the best thing about Betty Blythe is that you can dress up there!
The tearoom is located in the basement, away from the cafe upstairs, and when you enter the tearoom it basically looks like Betty Blythe’s personal dressing room. Beautiful vintage dresses hang around the room, along with feathers, gloves and trinkets all in the spirit of the 1920’s. In the background you can hear the tunes of Josephine Baker, perfect for the setting.
There is a humble table in the middle where you then sit to enjoy your chosen afternoon tea package. Having that said, I was giddy like a fashionista in a walk in closet! I wanted to try everything on, and also dress my friend to fit the theme.
We chose to have Betty’s Little Tea, which includes sandwiches, tea and scones of course, and then macaroons and brownies to top it off. Having had warning that it was my friend’s 30th birthday, they had prepared the brownies and macaroons to look like a mini birthday treat. The wonderful staff also sang to her, and I joined in gladly.
My friend was over the moon and said that it would be quite difficult for her family and friends at home to top this off. I do try.
Not only can you have a quiet coffee in Betty Blythe Cafe upstairs or numerous versions of afternoon tea in the basement, they also offer tailored events, such as hen or birthday parties. You can book additional activities like cupcake decorating, fascinator hat making, make-up and vintage hairstyling, charleston dancing or – why not – life drawing, with a male model perhaps?
Looking at the tea leaves at Betty Blythe, I see many vintage teas in my future.
Betty Blythe Vintage Tea Room
73 Blythe Road
London W14 0HP