Monday, 17 August 2015

The Moorings Tearooms, Littlehampton, West Sussex

For me the most unforgivable sin committed by teashop and caff proprietors is leaving the tables messy and untidy and not bothering to clear up cups and saucers, plates and bits of food from tables long vacated by customers. It's even more unforgivable when the restaurant in question is not particularly busy and there's a load of waiting staff milling around with seemingly little to do. This, however, was the situation I walked into on Wednesday 12 August on a day trip to Littlehampton.
The Moorings Tearooms, Littlehampton

I found the Moorings Tearooms to be a little on the untidy side. Not only were the tables not cleared, despite many staff being in place to clean them, there was a very untidy vibe about the place.

Yes, it was 'twee' in terms of its general appearance – mis-matching 'Miss Marple' cups and saucers, dainty tablecloths and annoying signs stating things like "What defines us is how we rise after falling" and other platitudes – but the untidy tables ruined it for me and I wasn't that happy with the way the cakes were displayed either. It was all too untidy.

I ordered a slice of apple and caramel pie, but I wished they hadn't bothered with the caramel as when the pie was heated and I picked my way through it with a fork, the brownish lumps of caramel looked as if the pie in question wasn't so much apple and caramel, but apple and tuna. What a horrible thought! Worse still, I asked for a blob of ice cream as there's nowt better than warm apple pie with a dollop of ice cream, but no, if I wanted ice cream I'd have to buy it separately from the the lairy-coloured, branded ice cream chest freezer that looked totally out of place in the twee Miss Marple surroundings.

A pot of leaf tea at the Moorings Tearooms
Another annoying thing about the Moorings Tearooms was the fact that the cups were already on the table, upturned, when we arrived and this is fine, but only if the cups are clean and who knows who had been fingering those cups prior to our arrival? I much prefer it when fresh crockery arrives on a tray with a nice pot of tea and a small jug of milk after I've ordered – at least that way I know that they've come from the kitchen and are likely to be a little cleaner than those left on the tables for countless kids to finger before I arrive on the scene. It was the same for the cutlery: it was there on the table when I arrived.

My companions ordered what amounted to a cream tea – scone, jam and butter, but the scone was a little dry (I don't like scones so I didn't order one and perhaps they are dry).

I can't say I was happy with my experience at the Moorings Tearooms. While it seemed to have all the right ingredients for a decent teashop experience, it was let down by dirty cups, an unappealing apple pie and uncleared tables.

There was a range of speciality teas that were a little on the pricey side too. A laminated menu offered a range of teas served in wine glasses – or that is how the menu suggested they would be served, at £3.00 a glass.

Cups and cutlery already on the table
There were some plus points: first there was leaf tea, not teabags, and we had a small strainer too; second the tea arrived with a three-minute timer (a nice touch as we then knew exactly when the tea was brewed and ready to drink). But that was it. I went back to Littlehampton over the weekend, but didn't visit the Moorings Tearoom, although it seemed pretty busy.

Perhaps I was there on a bad day and any other time would have been better, but there you have it. I will return as I've taken a liking to Littlehampton, and hopefully things will have improved.

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