Pennyclare Tea Rooms are situated in Newholm, just a mile out of Whitby, nestling between the Guisborough and Sandsend road.
A Whitby Guide exclusive interview with Pennyclare Tea Rooms. Words by Lindsey Ebbs.
A peaceful sanctuary compared to the busyness of Whitby, once a horse stable with an arena, it is now converted into a shop with gift solutions for all your family and friends.
Wandering through the shop to the tearoom….. sweet tooth anyone? the puddings and cakes are heaven on a plate. If you are vegan or have any food intolerances, then you have definitely come to the right place.
I know I am incredibly lucky to just live down the road and have this amazing eatery to hand but don’t take my word for it, try it for yourself and see why it was voted “The Finest Tearooms Award” by “This England magazine 2017”.
It was so lovely to interview both Penny and Clare in person instead of virtually and I hope you enjoy finding out a little more about this hidden gem.
When did the tearooms first open?
We first opened the shop in 2011 and started to sell unique, French-style, shabby chic, small pieces of furniture, and lovely small gift items. The tearooms were an afterthought, due to many suggestions of people visiting the shop. So, we opened a small tearoom, serving drinks, sandwiches, and cakes. Nothing like what the tearoom is now, we have extended it both as it has grown over time and neither of us imagined in the beginning how it could have turned out?
Are the tearoom and the shop a family business?
Yes, Penny and I are Sisters and co-owners of both the shop and the tearoom but our Mum, Sister-in-law, Son and Niece and Nephew all help when needed, plus we have six non-family staff in total and we are very lucky as they are all a credit to the business
Did you have any idea what kind of tearoom you wanted to provide?
We decided early on that the tearoom would provide both hot and cold food, but the most important decision was that is everything we sold had to be handmade and including the highest quality ingredients.
When did you decide to incorporate a vegan element into the menu?
Clare became intolerant to dairy foods and some of the staff could not tolerate certain food groups either. After realizing that I wasn’t alone with this problem with lots of people also struggling to find eateries providing “free-from” cakes biscuits drinks and hot food. It really started from there and has now grown into a large vegan/ gluten “free-from” section on our menu. Purely accidental as you can see
(all vegan puddings)
Do you always provide a gluten-free choice as well as a vegan option?
Yes, we always try to have a gluten-free as well as vegan option wherever possible for e.g., in The deep-filled homemade quiches there are always two meat/fish choices alongside a gluten-free and a vegan option. Always ensuring a choice for anybody that is visiting us with a family member that might have a food intolerance or are vegan. Allowing a family meal out or a special occasion where most dietary needs are accommodated for.
Which items on the menu proved to be the most popular all year round?
Two items constantly outsell everything else and that is; firstly, our Homemade scones, also including our gluten-free range. I think the reason for this is that I also make homemade jam (Bramble, strawberry, and raspberry) to go with the scones. There is vegan cream as well as Yorkshire whipped cream to go alongside the scones.
And secondly; it is the homemade burger, which I really do handmake, with the best beef sourced locally. All the trimmings are included; Yorkshire blue cheese, local streaky bacon from Landers in Whitby and I make the delicious burger sauce too.
We offer a vegan burger too which is just as delicious as the meat one.
What is your favourite off the menu to make, Clare?
I love making the afternoon cream teas and watching them go out to the tables, they look so pretty and then seeing them being devoured happily by our customers, and yes, of course, we do a vegan and gluten-free one too! (Afternoon tea available from 12-3.30pm every day)
Do you sell any food products to go home with?
Yes, we have always sold our homemade jams, chutneys, celebration cakes, and Christmas cakes and puddings but since Covid, we also sell, afternoon teas and hot food `to go`. For those people who feel a little unsure of venturing out, we can provide a picnic of anything they fancy `to go and eat at home or in the car. Sometimes it’s just nice to have someone else to cook for you regardless of where you eat it.
Do you still plan on doing your famous 3 course Christmas dinners in the lead-up for Christmas this year?
Providing Covid restrictions are not in place, we certainly will be doing them, and we have been thinking about staging themed evenings and combining “Christmas shopping and eat nights” also but like I say, planning anything too far ahead seems foolish in the middle of a pandemic but we are always thinking ahead and we have ordered the most amazing Christmas decorations to help cheer us all up and hopefully Christmas this year will be a different one for all of us?
About the interviewer, Linsey Ebbs
Footcheck.co.uk are an award-winning podiatrist in Whitby. Book your appointment with Lindsey today.