The cafe isn't hard to miss! (Photo: Laura Welch)

Hampstead Tea Room

A cafe with a British atmosphere

The cafe isn't hard to miss! (Photo: Laura Welch)
Laura Welch   - 3 min read

Japan rather likes themes, for example themed restaurants. The UK is also popular – the Union Flag is plastered on fashionable items from t-shirts to bags, and the name evokes a certain mystique, the way Japan often does overseas.

Hampstead Tea Room, a cafe styled as a British tea room, brings these two things together. You can find it just off the covered shopping arcade Omachi (the one after Clis Road); when walking from Sendai Station, turn right at Mos Burger/Stone Market and keep an eye out for a Union Flag on your left. It's not far from a cat cafe.

When you walk in, it looks very impressive; a lot of attention has been paid to the decoration. There's patterned wallpaper; Union Flag bunting; beautiful tablecloths, some of which have crochet sections; even a cabinet with empty packets and tins of tea, from Twinings to Fortnam and Mason. The tables, lights and plates are all English antiques. The atmosphere is complimented by a very polite waitressing style.

The menu looks very interesting, with lots of British-style stuff. There's a lot of different types of tea, tuna and cheddar toasted sandwiches, even afternoon tea if you reserve it beforehand. Some of the items on the menu are a blend with Japanese food and tastes, like the tea-flavor muffin, the tea jelly or the green tea chocolate cake.

It all looks good, but I had one problem with it: I'm British, and it wasn't. My friend thoroughly enjoyed our visit. Her tea-flavor muffin, although small, was delicious, as was her iced milk tea. My carrot cake was tasty, but the texture and the use of almonds wasn't authentic. The green tea and elderflower drink I ordered barely tasted of elderflower at all, which is almost reversely impressive, because elderflower has a strong flavor. I was expecting more from a drink that cost ¥700. The muffin, which was very small, cost ¥350 and the carrot cake was ¥400.

I had no objection to the mix of Japanese and British flavors, but I did wonder why there was croque monsieur on the menu. A British tearoom is more likely to serve a rarebit, the Welsh version of a toasted cheese and ham sandwich. To be fair, I didn't try everything, and the scones did look tasty.

Hampstead Tea Room is a nice cafe with a perfectly crafted atmosphere. The owner clearly loves British culture. However, the food and drink has some problems with authenticity, which although hard to get right without the same ingredients, still has faults. It's not very authentic, but it's perfect for immersing yourself in another world.

Laura Welch

Laura Welch @laura.welch

One of my favourite things about Japan is the wonderful variety of food, and I love to share what I find. When I'm not eating, you might find me singing karaoke or walking around hoping to make new discoveries!