Article byJane & Chris Turton

Scrumptious Tearooms, is owned and run by me and my husband, Chris. We have wanted to open our own business for a number of years, so in 2011 – after many years of deliberation and wine-fuelled idea sessions – it felt right to create one that combined our love of tea, great home-cooked food and, (as professionally qualified designers), mid 20th Century vintage design. With this in mind the Scrumptious Tearooms brand was born; designed to capture the nostalgia and essence of a 1930s & 40s English corner shop with a service quality that recognises the importance of community at the heart of a British high street. We found the perfect location in Great Dunmow, an ancient Market Town in the heart of Essex. This is a town with a rich history in family values, demonstrated every four years with the Flitch Festival which has celebrated the union of marriage for over 600 years – even gaining a mention in Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales! With a high street full of independent small businesses and a great community spirit, where better to open a tea rooms? The corner shop has always been a meeting point for communities, and we embrace this further in our customer service ethos, ensuring that everything we do is presented with the highest possible attention to detail and never rushed.

Afternoon Tea Setting

Our menu has been created around the concept of the traditional afternoon tea with a selection of savoury bites, sandwiches, and soups all created from local seasonal produce. Customers can choose to sit in the main shop area or retire to the quieter Parlour and whilst the soft sounds of 1930s & 40s musicians such as Vera Lynn, Glen Miller and Ella Fitzgerald drift through the shop, they can allow their taste buds a tantalizing treat with one of our many home-made scones or cakes on offer. We have two further functions rooms on our first floor; the Drawing Room and the Library. These allow us to cater for larger events such as birthday dinners, baby showers and provide the perfect setting for our Afternoon Tea; homemade sandwiches, scones and cakes served under glass domes around candelabras in a vintage setting, recognising it as a ceremony rather than just a meal.


During the winter months we run our candlelit Supper Club; a set three-course meal of freshly made home-cooked food served in the evening under candlelight. No pomp and circumstance, just great food with fine wine and local ales from the independent wine shop a few doors down.


No tea room would be complete without a good brew and Scrumptious aims to champion this great traditional British beverage with all our staff trained to recommend one of our 20 plus teas to suit a customers specific taste. To ensure each serving is perfect it is brewed to specific temperatures and steeped for the correct length of time. This is made possible by providing removable infusers in our teapots and serving to the customers with timers. Finally the eclectic vintage bone china provides the perfect vessel for a fine cup of tea. Tea is our brand, and this is one of the reasons that we have recently introduced our own brand of tea – The Ministry of Tea. This further captures our love of the this vintage era. Whilst complementing the Scrumptious brand, the Ministry has a more industrial slant capturing our own upbringing amongst the industrial sites of the northern city of Manchester. As well as carefully selected single estate teas we also blend teas to meet with the expectations of our Scrumptious customers. Our signature blends, Builders, Bikers and Bakers Brew are created for a specific time of day and aim to further build on the British spirit of home produce and garage innovation. We are looking to expand the Ministry brand in 2016 and are starting our own blog to tell the story.

Scrumptious Victoria

We always refer to Scrumptious Tearooms as our third child. With that in mind we will continue to nurture it, help it grow and expand, and ensure that everything we do for it is heartfelt and furthers its success.

Lisa Harrison
Written by Lisa Harrison
Lisa is the Deputy Editor of Vintage Life Magazine and Publisher at Dragoon Publishing. She is avid bookworm, collector of vintage homeware, loves travel, lazy weekends away and eats way too much cake!