I’m sat here having my 1st cup of tea of the day; which, I might add is a rough cuppa. I just paid £1.40 for a cup of Tetley tea made in the cup in a swank (maybe cross the s off swank?) café inNottingham. As I stare disappointedly into the reflection of my murky cup, I relies this is why I do the stuff I do! 

You can have a beautiful shiny venue, with funky music and on trend interiors, but at the end of the day what’s the point if your product lacks passion you might as well be in MacDonald’s! Eating out for me is about providing great food that is laced in added value. There is nothing wrong with a cup of Tetley tea…but what makes it worth £1.40?

For me it’s about experience, the way the place/staff/interior makes you feel. When I walk into a café, restaurant or pub I want my custom to be welcome. I want to feel part of that experience not an inconvenience. I really don’t mind paying 28 times its cost value (an average Tetley tea bag is less than 2p! I added a bit for milk!) if I feel welcome, if I feel like people want to serve me!

I’m now 10 mins walk down the road on my 2nd cup £1.25, for a peppermint, fair trade, organic cup of tea served with a smile! I feel warm and cosy and well …….happy to spend my money. I also feel like I have saved the world by buying fair trade and organic! 

This experience is a fine alchemy described so well in the book Chocolat by Joanne Harris (it’s a great book read it don’t watch the film). The alchemy is to make people feel the magic in your product. In my Underground Restaurant I try to create a beautifully crafted food experience, which takes into consideration the needs of my customers but in the same way pushes them gently to try new experiences. My food is cosy home style food, that reflects my personality, I’m pretty sure if you don’t like me you are not going to like my food. So my magic is showing my personality through my food and the service of that food.

So to be plain about it all the (s)wank café needed to do was serve the tea with a smile, may be make a comment about the weather ( how hard is that?). Failing that put the tea bag in a pot so the customer can’t identify the tea bag and realise they are being ripped off!

If you want to experience my brand of magic, and not get ripped off, follow my blog www.nottsunderground.co.uk find out when the next event is and if its your bag come along.

I’m now off to spread the food love


P.S.  Just for the record Nottingham Underground only uses the most premium tea and coffee. Our coffee is sourced form the wonderful Jim at Lee and Fletchers coffee roasters in Basford and my tea is so exclusive I don’t even have it in a bag; pure leaf tea from Imperial Teas in Lincoln. No Tetley at Notts underground I’ll have you know!

Article by Beth (Food) / 13th December 2011


It has been a long time since I went out in Nottingham and came home raving about my 'experience' at a restaurant/bar. Am I just going to the wrong places?

Lucy / 14th December 2011 / 1:05 pm

I must be going to the same sort of places. Although the Christmas market in Nottingham, has a nice vibe, its lacking real originality! Notts needs some inspiration...

Tim / 14th December 2011 / 2:40 pm

I drink Yorkshire Tea nowadays :)

The Bee / 15th December 2011 / 8:08 pm

i enjoyed that piece.

you should find the secret kitchen in sneinton. it's awesome.


phil campbell / 26th January 2012 / 3:15 pm

In response to Phil - where is this secret kitchen?!

Tell us more!

Lucy G / 26th January 2012 / 5:00 pm

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Love, Peace and Peppermint tea.