THE Billing Tea Room

Rawdon has a right proper hidden gem!

I think many of us are guilty of driving around with our eyes closed and not noticing what is on our doorstep, and prefer travelling to a restaurant/café, as for some reason we believe the ones further away are better than the ones near us. I am certainly guilty of this.

The other day I was driving through Rawdon village, I was hungry and fancied a 10-minute sit down and a cuppa. I pulled up outside The Billing Tea Room café which, I might add, was packed at 2 pm on a wet Thursday in March. The owner saw I had two dogs in the car and told me if I sat by the window and they were good I could bring them in, which I thought was a really nice gesture.

The other diners were all so friendly; everyone was talking to each other, and started making a fuss of my poochies. It was like a social event where everyone was friends — very unusual, but really genuine and different.

The interior can best be described as a village tearoom that oozes traditional charm with no modern quirks. It has around 30 covers and sells eclectic knick-knacks like cushions and honey which adds to its unusual charm.

The three-page menu consists of an all-day breakfast menu, from a full English to eggs Benedict to smoked salmon and scrambled egg. The lunch menu ranges from sandwiches and soup to veg platters and quiches. Then the afternoon tea menu is again varied, with traditional and ‘Gentlemen’s’ tea (never seen that before). There are lots of teas and coffees to choose from and the best cakes you have ever seen.

I ordered a posh fish finger sandwich, soup of the day (traditional Thai soup) and a coffee. Everything was homemade, as you may expect. The fish finger sandwich was served with tartare sauce and was as described: ‘posh’. It was very hearty and just what I needed. The Thai soup was the star of the show and like nothing I have never had. It was fantastic, really fantastic. I was shocked that a little café I drive past all the time could be so good and so friendly and welcoming.

It also does a gourmet evening on the last Friday of every month; each time offering a different country’s cuisine. It’s BYO booze, too — bonus. Apparently, you need to book well in advance.

Try this little café out, the food is so good and it’s great to support small businesses in the area. It’s my new favourite place.

11a Town Street,

Rawdon,

LeedS, LS19 6PU

Tel: 07811 009844

Closes 4 pm

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