Jacqueline’s Tea Rooms & Gifts, Ringwood

Date visited: Monday 14th August 2023

Jacqueline’s Tea Rooms & Gifts is at the eastern end of the High Street in the Hampshire town of Ringwood. It has two rooms for those wishing to take tea as well as three tables outside in the street. The front room has eight tables laid out in conventional manner, whilst some more relaxed options are offered in the rear room. Jacqueline’s boasts air conditioning, though on a cool, damp summer’s day this wasn’t needed. The ‘gifts’ part of the business is relatively minor, with just a few gifts and postcards on display.

A beef and onion large jacket potato, and a pot of green tea. A wide variety of crockery designs are in use.

The menu extends to three pages of hot and cold snacks, including baguettes, hot and cold sandwiches, toasties, jacket potatoes, and quiche. There were also four specials, of an omelette or hot snacks, displayed on small blackboards, but these were not available on the day of my visit as the chef wasn’t present. Four cakes as well as scones were displayed at the counter. Beverages included a selection of teas and tisanes, with more tisanes than teas, as well as coffees and soft drinks.

I opted for a beef and onion large jacket potato, a slice of Dorset pear cake with cream, and a pot of green tea, which came to a total of £16.45. There were options with each item. The rather modest ‘large’ jacket potato was offered with or without butter and with or without a rather fancy – and quite tasty – salad that included grapefruit and kiwi fruit. The cake was offered hot or cold and with or without cream – I chose hot with cream. Finally, the tea was offered with or without milk, though clearly in the correct expectation that milk wasn’t needed with green tea. Although Ringwood is just a short walk from the county of Dorset, the Dorset pear cake wasn’t the rich experience I recall of Dorset apple cake in Dorset, being quite mildly flavoured, in respect of both pears and spices. I got the impression that I may have been unlucky in my choices for both courses, with more filling and tastier options available at a similar price.

A slice of Dorset pear cake with cream.

During my visit, Jacqueline’s Tea Rooms was quite busy, with all tables in the front room occupied at one point and the three staff briefly only just able to keep up with service. And unusually I had to ask for the cake to be brought to me, rather than the staff asking me if I was ready which is the more customary experience. Despite that, my overall impression was of good service.

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