Dream come true with opening of Midhurst vintage tea rooms

It's a dream come true for Clare Barclay as she opens her vintage tea rooms on Rumbolds Hill in Midhurst.

Tuesday, 10th January 2017, 11:26 am
Updated Tuesday, 10th January 2017, 12:07 pm
Clare Barclay prepares for the opening day of Chantilly Vintage Teas

Self taught caterer Clare has bought the former Exclusive Cake Shop and Vintage Tea Room business from Carole Sharp and is preparing to open her first ever business this week under the new name Chantilly Vintage Teas.

It’s daunting and a bit nerve wracking,” said Clare, “but it’s always been a dream of mine to open a vintage tea room. I love the era of the 1940s and 50s. I love the music, the fashion and the way the community lived and I want to bring that to Chantilly Vintage Teas.”

Clare is married to James and the couple have a nine year old daughter Niamh. They currently live in Rustington but are looking to move to Midhurst.

She has taken on board caterer Darren Parkinson to help in the new venture.

She has catered for weddings and other big functions in the past and has also worked in pub kitchens.

“My passion is food. Flavour and presentation are the keys and I love to create the right atmosphere.”

Clare will not be following in the footsteps of the previous business owner and will not be specialising in wedding or celebration cakes.

“The focus for us will be on home-made, hearty and vintage.”

All the cakes will be home-made where possible and she intends to support other West Sussex businesses selling their locally made food and drink.

Among them are Lucy Armstrong who comes from East Wittering and makes Belgian chocolates.

Tea will be supplied by Edgecumbe’s, near Arundel.

The shop will be open six days a week from 10am-5.30pm closing on Mondays. It will serve light lunches and afternoon vintage teas as well as celebration teas for special occasions.

Clare has applied for a premises licence to sell alcohol and wants to introduce sing-along evenings once a month featuring the upright piano donated by an elderly man who played it throughout the second world war, which now sits in the new tea room.

“I am introducing the sing-alongs to bring back some of the nostalgia.

“I feel we are losing those sort of gatherings in this country that we used to be so good at,” said Clare.