A tea room that opened just four months ago has already won an award for its range of teas, quality service and the deliciousness of its homemade cakes.
The House of High Tea opened in Berkhamsted in May and now serves tea, coffee, breakfasts, light lunches and home-baked cakes.
Its quirky decor has made it highly popular with visitors. There is a table and chair drilled upside down into its ceiling – and the topsy turvy table even has cups and tea pots on it.
Robert Antonelli, who owns the business with wife Jennifer, said: “We are very unique – with a rather English vintage feel, maybe like the Ritz and a bit hotel-ish.
“We have antique furniture and a chandelier.”
The House of High Tea will be presented with the Tea Shop award by the Chiltern Society during a special event at its 61 High Street home tomorrow at 11am.
The accolade is brand new and follows the success of the Chiltern Society’s Farm Shop Awards last year.
In total, 29 businesses were nominated for the Tea Shop award from across the Chilterns. The public then had to vote for their favourite out of the 29. The six with the most votes then became competition finalists.
Judges visited each of them to score them on criteria including deliciousness of homemade cakes, quality of service and range of teas and coffees. The inspections began on Tuesday, July 1.
Chiltern Society spokesman Elaine Mason said: “The competition to be the very first winner of this award was pretty fierce! But finally we chose our winner – the House of High Tea.”
The venue – open from Wednesday to Sunday – has been described as ‘wonderful’ and ‘simply gorgeous’ on Facebook. Tripadvisor users called it ‘amazing’ and praised its selection of teas and ‘superb food’.
Co-owner Jennifer Antonelli used to run the Lady Grey tea room in Wendover, Bucks, which itself came close to winning the Tea Shop contest.
Jennifer sold that business to open the House of High Tea – which is double the size and much closer to her home.
Her husband Robert said: “We are a family-run business who have lived in Berkhamsted for over 12 years, so we are absolutely over-the-moon to have been so successful.
“We have had lots of support from the town and the feedback has been fantastic. We are absolutely delighted. We are a new business and we are really, really pleased.”