Thursday, January 27, 2011

Eating Out in Chester: Sally Lunn's


(Image taken by Dawn Benko of the Daily Record)

If you prefer tea to coffee and scones to doughnuts, then Sally Lunn's Restaurant & Tea Room in Chester will fill all of your English-tinged wants and desires.

"We sell a lot of quiche and a lot of afternoon teas," says owner Theresa Gaffney, "and hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of scones.

"We're famous for our scones in Chester," Gaffney says. "That's probably the item we sell the most of."

It might be the item Sally Lunn's sells the most of, but the teas are nothing to sneeze at, either. With a ridiculous amount of different varieties to choose from, Sally Lunn's has the largest selection in the United States and, as the website claims, possibly the world.

"They're all loose teas," Gaffney says. "We don't sell tea bags, so everything's loose. It's served in a tea pot with a strainer."

As to the types of available tea, the question should really be, "What kind of tea do you want?"

"We have white teas, green, black, Rooibos, herbal, flower tea, smoked gunpowder tea," Gaffney says.

Smoked gunpowder?

"Gunpowder tea is a smoked tea, like the Russian gunpowder," Gaffney says. "They have a heavy smoked flavor, (and) it's not a common tea. It's a rare tea and it's a very acquired taste. It's one of those things you have to really like to enjoy it. Some people love it."

Being an English tea room and restaurant, Sally Lunn's offers menu items that might convince you to cancel your flight to England — assuming you're going there just for the food. Cornish pastie, which is fresh-ground lamb, turnips, potatoes and leeks wrapped in homemade pastry, is among the offerings, as is Tiddy Oggi, which is ground sirloin, carrots, turnips, potatoes and leeks wrapped in homemade pastry. In fact, the menu is so diverse and popular Gaffney has been able to open up another shop in Chatham. She's even had the Food Network come by to film at the shop. The show will be on in March.

"It's going to be huge for us," Gaffney says. "They wanted typically English stuff, so I made the Cornish patsie, which is very English, a rhubarb-apple cobbler and scones. It's exciting."

Also exciting are the shop's Valentine's Day plans.

"In Chester, we do a Valentine's Victorian dinner," Gaffney says. "It's a seven-course dinner."

SALLY LUNN'S
TEA ROOM & RESTAURANT
WHERE: 15 Perry St., Chester
TELEPHONE NUMBER: 908-879-7731
WEBSITE: http://www.sallylunns.com
HOURS: 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Tuesday to Friday and 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday
CUISINE: English cuisine, teas
PAYMENT: Cash, checks and all major credit cards
PRICE RANGE: Soups, $5.95; salads, $8.55 to $9.50; sandwiches (served with salad or potato salad), $9.50 to $13.50; oven food, $9.75 to $13.50; deserts, $6.25; teas, $3.95 to $6
RESERVATIONS: Not necessary
DRESS: Casual
THE SCENE: A beautifully decorated spot with lace table clothes and antique pictures
ATMOSPHERE: Cozy" would be the best word to describe it.
PARKING: Nearby
OWNER: Theresa Gaffney

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