THEY say the past is a foreign country – but it’s not. It’s a wee café in Dundee.
The owners of The Palais Tea Room in the city’s Union Street clearly love a bit of retro chic. If the name doesn’t give it away the decor sure does.
The walls are festooned – yes, festooned (great word that) – with old-style advertising posters and ephemera, while the tablecloths are a mishmash of comics and Broons and Oor Wullie strips.
However, Scone Spy can assure you the presence of the Sunday Post favourites in no way influenced the outcome of this review.
Vintage bunting gave the cosy interior a lively feel, as did the brightly-striped counter, and the music was finger-snapping ’50s and ’60s classics.
One of the nicest touches was a 1950s sideboard on the wall between the counter and the window. It’s the kind of thing that would make Granny Scone Spy feel right at home, and this undercover operative loved it, too. Homely is the word.
But SS wasn’t there to admire the furniture. Food is the name of the game and a glance at the counter was enough to make my stomach do a wee jig with excitement.
Cakes aplenty, as well as the most important element (can you guess what that is? Starts with “s” and rhymes with “gone”, which is what it would be the moment it got within scoffing range).
But I had to restrain myself from the sweet stuff. Be patient. Take my time.
So I examined the menu. Good options, from soup to sandwiches and plenty more besides.
I’m a sucker for nachos – well, I don’t suck them, obviously, that would be a weird way to eat them – so I ordered a large plate and a pot of tea.
If there was one thing slightly disappointed, it was that the staff weren’t dressed vintage-style to match the café’s aesthetic. The photo on The Palais’ Facebook page (yes, SS knows how to work the internet) showed the staff dressed to the nines in fab ’50s clothes – a vision in polka dots. It would have been great to keep that going. The icing on the scone.
That said, the staff were friendly and the food arrived sharpish.
The nachos themselves were fine. Nothing to rave about, but nachos are one of those dishes that should be easy yet so few seem to get spot on. Given the Palais isn’t a Mexican cantina I was willing to overlook the fact they weren’t top notch, and other dishes being served around me look darned fine.
The main feature was the scone, though. A fine fruity affair, big and light and one of the best I’ve tasted in recent times.
The only problem was, after all that, I had no room left for any cake.
Oh well, I suppose I’ll just have to go back to the future at The Palais again to give them a try.
Warm Welcome 9/10 Location, Location 8/10 Scone Score 9/10
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