Walking into the TeaTray is actually like a tea blend within itself; a mixture of creativity, good food, great tea and coffee, lots of art and music. A place with a distinctive vibe that turns from cafe to music hang out, art exhibition to event space. There is a relaxed atmosphere with mid-century pieces of furniture and eclectic items dotted around the spacious building. The interiors have great scope to continuously adapt, adding different styles and trends, pieces never looking out of place. This is one of the reasons why we loved holding our website launch here.
Speaking to Kyle, who has worked for owners Fark and Nicky for 6 years, you really get to understand just how much he loves tea. Thinking of this plant we drink every day, he knows about blends and offers recommendations to customers based on what they might be eating. Having a cake with tea is, of course, a wonderful pairing and Kyle will help you decide which matches best. I asked him why he loved tea so much and if he ever thought tea would overtake coffee in the war on hot beverages? He replied by saying that he really does love coffee but when you have one, you drink it by itself whereas you share a pot of tea and there is something special about that. You can tell Kyle is a real treasure to have in the cafe and he talks about customers with real, genuine fondness.
Nicky and Fark have owned this place since 2011, the cafe offering a good food menu from a full breakfast to firm customer favourites – Mushrooms on Sourdough and an Avo dish: Citrus smashed avocado with buffalo mozzarella, edamame beans, peas and mint on sourdough. This is what I chose and loved it because it offers a good twist on the popular dish. Refreshing with lots of interesting flavours, I also added extra bacon to give a salty touch. Offering sandwiches, soups and salads there is plenty of choice. The homemade cakes always look good and all the produce is sourced close to home and supports the local community.
As well as having a knitting club every Tuesday evening from 6pm (free to anyone who wants to join) called the Bitch and Stitch club, there’s also regular music evenings here in conjunction with Square Roots Promotions. Artists that do sell out tours like to pop in for an intimate session usually to an audience of 40 people in a relaxed setting, making this place ideal for creating the ultimate live experience. Americana folk to acoustic means it’s a great way to spend an evening. Tickets usually sell out within the first half hour but please persevere as it will be worth the effort.
Lots of things are planned for the future from a new range of tea blends to Fark creating a graffiti garden space for workshops and carrying on with creating his trademark pieces. Having space at the back of the cafe means the big science lab counter can become an area for working and providing workshops. Five Architects are planning an art exhibition here in the near future and lots of other artists will be popping up too.
Next Spring sees Fark and Nicky work very hard to bring a Street Art Festival to Portsmouth in conjunction with Wonderwalls. This will be an exciting event over 5 days providing an art trail with food and drink, celebrating street art from international artists and newcomers. It’s likely there will be visitors from all over the UK coming to see the visual displays on offer, so please look out for this new event next Spring and head along to support them.
By Louise O’Brien