At the beginning of our holiday we had a long drive down from Inverness to Essex to visit my family for a couple of days. One day we decided to head out to the Wilkin & Sons Museum and Tearoom as we had been told that a good lunch could be enjoyed. There was a big queue for the tea room when we arrived, so decided to wander round the museum, which took around 25 minutes or so. All of the artefacts and documents had been carefully collected before the museum was developed. I especially liked looking at the machines used many years ago to prepare the fruit at the different stages of the process, as well as the display of other products that had tried to use the unique Tiptree branding (unsuccessfully!) and the items which had been collected in celebration of an episode of ‘Midsomer Murders’ being shot on the site.
There was also a video presentation but by the time we got to this our tummies were more than ready for lunch, so we moved onto the tea room! Once seated, (which didn’t take too long, the queue was still sizable but fast moving) we perused the extensive menu and decided that we would go for the afternoon tea. We chose soft drinks (with free refills) instead of hot drinks, and chose a sandwich filling each, as well as a flavour of jam each to accompany our fruit scones and cream. We highlighted Mr B’s nut allergy (although it’s not the kind which requires an epi-pen as his airways don’t close up, he is in quite a lot of discomfort all the same if a nut is ingested) to the waitress for the purpose of the patisserie selection and awaited our lunch!
We enjoyed egg and tuna sandwiches, of course with the crusts cut off. Beautiful light fruit scones with thick cream and our choice of apricot and blackcurrant jams. And a selection of traybakes and patisserie along with a small pot of cherries. Lots of food I’m sure you will agree. Unfortunately this is where my review takes a bit of a dip. We enjoyed the slices of traybake, and then moved onto the patisserie. Unfortunately there was a quarter of a peanut not visible – encased in some caramel on top of the cheesecake/mousse item, which ended up sliding down smoothly Mr B’s throat. He was aware that he’d eaten a nut within 10 seconds as his tongue and throat started tingling. We went straight to the manager, who investigated very quickly and it emerged that our request for nut free patisserie had somewhere got lost between the waiting staff and those in the kitchen. We were apologised to immediately, and told our lunch would be free of charge. We then hiked off to the local A&E to get some steroids to counteract the discomfort in poor Mr B’s throat and stomach – which obviously ruined the rest of our day as he was exhausted afterwards. All in all, I would have said that this was the perfect place to have afternoon tea, had the nut incident not happened. We appreciate that mistakes happen and we valued very much the quick and professional customer service that we received. The quality of all the food was very good, but we would definitely double check before eating any of the cakes again that the same unfortunate incident doesn’t happen again.