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Tea at Gran’s? Edith’s House, Rye

There’s no shortage of places to get tea and cake in achingly pretty Rye but when Edith’s House popped up as one of our Muddy Awards nominees this year I was much tickled by the concept and vowed to give it a try when I was next over.

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It doesn’t look like much of a theme cafe from the outside but as the name suggest’s something quirky is afoot. Edith is the real-life Gran of one of the owners of the cafe and it has been designed with a nod to many a Granny’s front room around the Seventies era (or perhaps still now judging by some of the places I viewed when I was house hunting!)

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One lump or two?

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Is Antiques Roadshow on yet?

There’s retro swirly wallpaper, a standard lamp, old sewing machine, family photos and a print of Constable’s The Haywain on the wall, vintage crockery, plenty of doilies and the like.

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Hasn’t he grown?

The concept has proved so popular that a second, larger Edith’s House has opened in London in Crouch End, where you can even tuck into tea and cakes in a mock up bathroom (fluffy pedestal mat around the loo, naturally) and enjoy the odd evening opening for fondue.

But was it all style (or ironic lack of) over susbstance? Not a bit of it.

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A friend who loves Rye so much she often journeys over from Hampshire had already recommended the chocolate Guinness cake which looked fabulous but I plumped instead for the iced ginger slice which was a surpsingly firey affair with real big ginger chunks. Meanwhile the tea was definitely not the PG Tips my nan used to save me the picture cards about space from, in fact it was so good I asked the brand (The Kent & Sussex Tea & Coffee Company).

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I was surprised how reasonably priced the tea and cakes were. My large pot of Earl Grey was £2 my cake £2.80. The menu also includes comfort food like toasties and jacket potatoes with various fillings  and there are various daily specials for breakfast and lunch. Children will no doubt love the range of flavoured cordials or jamshakes  – yes that’s right, ice cream blended with a choice of jams. For more indulgence check out the scone menu with a range of flavours including almond, honey and white chocolate and a wide range of matched jams, which you can also buy jars of to take home.

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I visited after lunch on a weekday afternoon recently and it was pretty quiet, just a couple of other people inside and some dropping in for takeaway cake but I imagine it’s justifiably rammed at peak times and in tourist season, especially as it’s right on the high street, so bear your timing in mind.

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If you haven’t visited Rye for a while here’s a couple of other places I recommend. Lovely independent cinema Kino opened in an old church school building last year and has a bar serving drinks and food, and if you’re staying over, do consider Muddy Awards finalist Knelle Dower Studio in a lovely secluded spot about 15 mins out of town. I’ll be writing more about both later.

On the shopping front, The George at Rye’s spin off The Shop Next Door is definetly worth a look for stylish gifts and homewares. My friend also recommends specialist hot chocolate ‘bar’ Knoops and if you’ve never done it before (perhaps before you’ve indulged, as it’s rather narrow in places) climb the steps up the bell tower of St Mary’s church for views like this…

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THE MUDDY VERDICT:

Good for: Anyone really, though those old enough to appreciate the retro theming will have more fun.

Not so good for:  There’s a couple of  steps from the counter to the sitting area so not ideal for buggies or those with mobility issues.

££ Very reasonable for the tea and cake end of things, pot of tea £2, cakes around £2.80, scones £2.40 or £5.20 as a cream tea, coffee from £2. Jacket potatoes/toasties with various fillings and a side salad are £6.50, open sandwiches with side salad £7, Jam shakes are £4.

 Edith’s House, 105A High Street, Rye, East Sussex, TN31 7JE, 01797 690124, facebook.com/ediths.house

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