In which your blogger attempts, at great inconvenience, to sample every commercially-available dessert in the Greater Glasgow area so you don’t have to.
Falkirk, to me, is the town in which my friend Rachel grew up. It’s where Fiona and I once saw Idlewild, in what in my head is a high school gym but I think was actually the town hall; and it’s home to a football team that Kieran, one of my most English of friends, inexplicably supports. But, like most Glaswegians, Falkirk to me is mostly just a stop on the train line to Glasgow.
Until a couple of weeks ago, and a Buzzfeed feature that made my jaw drop.
If anything was ever going to make me resurrect that feature, it was the works of art that Buzzfeed assured me I would find at Tea Jenny’s in Falkirk.
And so I checked my calendar, and texted Jehane with a list of every free Saturday I had for the next few weeks. Unsurprisingly, she opted for the first one.
Although you can’t blame Hilary for focusing on the place’s stunning – and all handmade – four-tier cakes in her article, there is nothing about Tea Jenny’s that doesn’t feel like it was straight out of a fairytale. Let’s start with the location: King’s Court, the best-preserved example of the many courts, wynds and closes that distinguished historical Falkirk High Street.
Entry is through a narrow passageway that feels like creeping into somebody’s back garden, and the streets of the town are mapped out in the stone. It’s here that you’ll find Tea Jennys and its sister establishment, Wee Jennys, along with a few local businesses as well as a firm of solicitors that dates back to the late 18th century! You might get a bit more of a feel for it from the pictures accompanying my previous post.
Since neither of us had had breakfast, we were pretty hungry by the time we got to Falkirk – and neither of us had thought to check whether Tea Jennys sold savoury food as well as cake. We decided to chance it and head straight there anyway. The little tearoom was packed out, as has apparently been the case since the Buzzfeed article was published (they’ve had visitors from as far as Manchester, apparently!), so we each took a menu and had a seat outside. There, we were relieved to find a wide selection of soups, toasties and baked potatoes – as well as a frankly spectacular sounding selection of breakfast foods, sadly none of which are available all day.
Barely five minutes passed before we were ushered to a corner table, where Jehane ordered tea and a tuna melt and I went off-menu with a cheese and bacon toastie (on which I blame all that talk of breakfast foods). I also, like a complete rookie, ordered a side of fries. They arrived in a flower pot. I know that this is something on which the internet has Strong Feelings but whevs, I thought it was cute.
Choosing a second course was a traumatic experience for all concerned: there were brownies, cupcakes, a Victoria sponge I was told by the staff it would be “criminal” if I ordered on my first visit and, of course, the sponges. The coconut and yuzu sponge you see in the Buzzfeed article was there; along with a lemon and liquorice creation, a slightly ominous glossy black gingerbread, lychee and brandy number and the chocolate and strawberry sponge I nearly opted for. Oh, when I say cupcakes: I mean cupcakes topped with a fricking Tunnocks snowball or teacake. No half measures at Tea Jennys.
Jehane had a slice of Daim bar cake, full of little flecks of the chocolate bar and tasty buttercream. As for me? Well, it might not have been quite so photogenic, but I’d lost my heart to the deconstructed Milky Way cheesecakes in individual mason jars the minute they arrived in the tearoom as we were lining our stomachs. Not that you’d know from the amount I ended up leaving. That flower pot full of skinny fries was my downfall in the end.
See a Mars Bar version of this, with caramel instead of the chocolate sauce? Never mind the cheesecake, you’d be scooping me off of the floor afterwards.
Obviously, with a place like Tea Jennys, it stands to reason that the food is all homemade – but what we weren’t expecting was for the tea cosies to be, too! They come in as frogs, flamingoes, cats and even the Cookie Monster – and they’re all made by a local lady, who supplies them to the tearoom and for sale. Sadly the Cookie Monster that Jehane had her heart set on was out of stock at the weekend – but hey, when you’re relying on a single knitter, that’s probably bound to happen occasionally!
All in all, an excellent Saturday adventure – although our legs didn’t thank us on the walk back to Falkirk High train station afterwards! As for that Cookie Monster? We’ll definitely be back for him!
LOCATION: 1 Kings Court Galleries, Falkirk FK1
OPEN: Mon-Fri 9am-4pm; Sat 9am-5pm; Sun 10am-4pm