Good Tuesday morning everyone!
I have eleven pictures for you today. We will be talking about the iconic Willow Tea Rooms on Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow.
The tea rooms are absolutely beautiful. There are three levels, though there used to be five! On the bottom is the gift shop and a smaller tea room. It wasn’t set up and in use when we were there but it looked like it was used for tea tastings. Go up one flight of stairs and you’re at The Gallery. The Gallery is a very masculine room with rich, dark woods. Once you’ve wound through the narrow spaces, dodging tables and patrons and climbed the next flight of stairs, you find yourself in the Room de Lux.
The tea rooms were designed and built by Charles Rennie Mackintosh for Kate Cranston, his most generous and consistent patron. She gave him the opportunity to design everything from the silverware to the furnishings to the walls and windows. Though Ms. Cranston sold the tea rooms when her husband died it was later purchased by Anne Mulhern who began the recreation of the site by restoring the Room de Lux first.
And I have to tell you, the restaurant is stunningly beautiful and, despite the decades between its origin and its restoration, it is steeped in history.
On to the pictures!
This is Sauchiehall St.. ‘Sauchiehall’ is pronounced ‘sawk-ee-hall’. It is a combination of new and old that gives it a unique feel.
The people were wonderful to watch, (even if some were not as polite as you’d like). This lovely man was feeding the pigeons. Once the word went out on the wind that he was there, dozens of birds came winging up the hill, straight for the bench Val and I were sitting on. We could feel the air beneath their wings. *pauses for a Bette Midler moment*
Just cuz 😉 (image courtesy of Google)
The exterior. It’s a beautiful building.
This is that front window we see in the previous picture. Val and I had lunch in the Room de Lux. It certainly was luxurious!
All silver and purple. Plus the mirrored friezes on the wall. The originals were leaded and, I’m quite sure, absolutely beautiful. Though, these were lovely.
We finally got to looking at the extensive menus and, after much discussion with our server and the kitchen manager, finally ordered. They have the most wonderful, highest gluten free bread I have ever seen. This is my grilled bacon, tomato and brie sandwich. It is, by far, the most wonderful sandwich I’ve ever eaten. Ever. I want that bread!
This was dessert. Ahem. We tasted it before I got my camera out. We tasted a LOT of if before I got my camera out. The small plate had a 2×2 inch brownie on it that was at least an inch thick, very fudgy and warm and oh em gee so good. Val let me have two tiny bites and hoarded the rest! The bowl had two HUGE meringues with an inch and a half of clotted cream and some fresh berries between them. Divine. Heavenly. The Gods would have been jealous.
Part one of the Willow Tea Rooms’ history.
Part two of the history.
Our cute and eager to please server, Dan. Nope, no idea what happened with the lighting here.
And the beautiful Mhairi, the kitchen manager. She worked very hard at making sure we had a safe and wonderful meal. She totally succeeded. Went well beyond the call of duty. And it’s like Dan & Mhairi had their own ideas about the lighting for their photos. 😀
It is totally well worth a visit. We enjoyed every moment, even when the Room de Lux was flooded with teenagers on a school trip. It was a beautiful meal in beautiful surroundings.
You can find the Willow Tea Rooms website here. If you’re in Glasgow, I encourage you to pop in for a cup of tea. We went to 217 Sauchiehall St. because of the history. It was incredible.
Thank you Dan and Mhairi for making our visit so worthwhile.
Off to do more NaNo plotting! I think I have a handle on it now. And Kris is an RCMP officer in the Criminal Intelligence Division. From there his position is very fictional. I’m looking forward to the story.