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Review: Hatters Tea Shop in Cromer, “For a town with more cafes than you can shake a stick at, this is one of the best”

PUBLISHED: 10:49 16 May 2018 | UPDATED: 10:49 16 May 2018

Hatters Tea Shop in Prince of Wales Road, Cromer. Picture: Hatters Tea Shop

Hatters Tea Shop in Prince of Wales Road, Cromer. Picture: Hatters Tea Shop

Hatters Tea Shop

Here at the North Norfolk News office, we’ve been watching the opening months of Hatters Tea Shop in Cromer with rumbling stomachs.

Hatters furniture was largely upcycled by the tea shop owners. Picture: Hatters Tea ShopHatters furniture was largely upcycled by the tea shop owners. Picture: Hatters Tea Shop

Every time one of our team of three wandered past, the bay windows of the tea room were always packed with customers, their tables piled high with cakes and teapots.

So when we snuck in during a lunch hour, we had to search the airy cafe for a place to sit, and luckily found some (extremely comfy) sofas in the back corner.

We thought the best way to get a taste for the whole menu was to order the afternoon tea; compromising of an array of sandwiches as well as a selection of cakes.

Sadly you have to book in advance, which I can entirely understand having seen one such monstrosity (and I mean that as a compliment). It’s clear a lot of time and effort goes into them.

Some of the gifts sold at Hatters. Picture: Hatters Tea ShopSome of the gifts sold at Hatters. Picture: Hatters Tea Shop

We were a bit put out to learn that a Cromer cafe had run out of crab; if you were a visitor to the town, surely that’s something you’d want to try?

Instead we settled on a prawn sandwich, which I was reliably informed was “delicious” and very fresh, as well as a Norfolk ham and mustard sandwich which was also yummy.

Although the sausage roll we tried was very tasty, with lovely flaky pastry, it wasn’t heated properly and had a cold centre which slightly ruined the experience.

As expected, the cakes were the stand-out moment for us.

A back, cosy corner of the tea room. Picture: Hatters Tea ShopA back, cosy corner of the tea room. Picture: Hatters Tea Shop

As a self-professed cream tea connoisseur, I was pleased to find the scones light and crumbly, the cream fresh and served with an abundance of jam.

We tried one of the cafe’s many vegan cakes, and enjoyed the blueberry slice, but preferred the non-vegan brownie, which was perfection in bakery form.

For a town with more cafes than you can shake a stick at, Hatters stands out as one of the best.

A Hatters table. Picture: StaffA Hatters table. Picture: Staff

Drink

The tea selection at Hatters is second to none- and I would’ve gladly had a pot of each if I had time. They had everything from their own blend to blood orange to chocolate tea.

I was informed that for a ‘builders tea’ drinker, the Hatters home blend would be the best bet. The flavour was rich and traditional, and was a lovely dark colour.

My colleagues each went for a milkshake, and both said they were moorish without being sickly.

The Hatters home blend tea. Picture: StaffThe Hatters home blend tea. Picture: Staff

Interior/atmosphere

This is where Hatters really stands out in the crowd. A lot of tea shops in Cromer are smaller units, with tables somewhat packed in.

Hatters is a large, airy cafe with tables ranging from dining size to coffee tables - there’s a spot to cater to everyone.

The scones. Picture: StaffThe scones. Picture: Staff

I was especially impressed to learn that the majority of the furniture was up-cycled by hand by the owners, it gives the place a put-together look without trying to hard.

As you’d expect, Hatters features some nods to Alice in Wonderland without being gimmicky. There’s subtle hare references throughout, but very tastefully done.

It’s also nice to see them doing something a bit different- as they’ve got a decent range of local products on sale as well. These range from dog treats to sofa cushions and let’s be honest, everyone loves a peruse.

The milkshakes: vanilla and chocolate. Picture: StaffThe milkshakes: vanilla and chocolate. Picture: Staff

Service

The staff were all lovely.

We were served by various different ladies, but it never felt like the team were disjointed or would let things slip.

As we were the last order of the day and there were three of us, we were given an extra scone as it was the last one going. It was a small gesture, but spoke volumes about the place.

The ham and mustard sandwich with white bread. Picture: StaffThe ham and mustard sandwich with white bread. Picture: Staff

I was also impressed when I asked for some more jam for the scones, and was given a generous amount without being charged for it.

It’s a pet peeve of mine when you’re charged 50p for an extra dollop of jam, and trust me- it happens.

Loos

The prawn sandwhich on brown bread. Picture: StaffThe prawn sandwhich on brown bread. Picture: Staff

Clean, bright, easy to find.

Lovely handwash.

Parking

The sausage roll. Picture: StaffThe sausage roll. Picture: Staff

Cromer’s main car park or the Morrisons/station car park.

Location

Not on the main ‘high street’ in Cromer, but it’s obviously getting the footfall to keep them busy. You can also see the sea from the front door - so if you’ve never been to Cromer before it’s an easy loop from the car park, to lunch spot, to the beach.

Price

Spot on. The sandwiches were door-stoppers, and came with salad and crisps.

The cream tea was a little over £6, which is very reasonable, and the afternoon tea is just £14.95, which from what I saw is a bargain.

Highlight

It had to be the scones, they were delicious.

I also really enjoyed the ham and mustard sandwich; the mustard wasn’t too hot and complimented the local ham perfectly. You could tell they’d thought about it.

Summary

What strikes me about Hatters is that it feels like it’s been a destination in Cromer for years.

It feels at home, fitting in with the personality of the town without blending in and being forgotten about.

But this place has been open a matter of months, and they’re running a slick operation.

I’ve heard rumours that in the future the Hatters owners would like to open more cafes, and let me tell you I’ll be the first one through the door.

This is an independent review.

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