I don’t think we’d ever have reviewed the little gem that is Honey B’s Tearoom and Takeaway if a friend hadn’t recommended it.
Former colleague Helen Johnston had such a great time in this place, tucked away in Kiveton Park, the ex-pit village between Sheffield and Rotherham, that she urged owner Tracey Birch to get in touch.
Tracey is a joy to talk to, one of those people full of enthusiasm and ideas who just bubble with pure love of life, so I had to go and check out her tearoom, which is on Hard Lane.
As ever, I visited anonymously and told her who I was once I’d paid the bill.
Tracey said she’d always wanted a tearoom and heard stories growing up about members of her family who once had a funeral home with a tearoom, so eventually she just took the plunge.
A year ago, her dream came true when she opened the little four-room Honey B’s.
We just went in there and did us best. It works amazingly
Tracey said: “We just went in there and did our best. It works amazingly and I’m kind of outgrowing it but I don’t want to move.”
They are planning to open from 7.30am to 7.30pm from next week, offering the daytime menu, and have occasional bistro nights. There are also plans to have tables in a garden, partly because it’s too tight a squeeze for customers with wheelchairs.
Tracey said: “Lots of people don’t want to go to pubs. I’d like people who’ve come in from work and don’t want to cook to be able to come in for a meal.”
Honey B’s is becoming a real community hub, with people popping in all the time. A friend runs sugarcraft classes for children and Tracey leads regular walk and talk sessions, for people to keep fit and meet new friends.
Kiveton Community Woodlands further down Hard Lane are ideal for a stroll or bike ride, by the way.
Honey B’s do outside catering and can pack up picnic boxes. Some customers take them to friends as a treat.
Tracey shares kitchen duties with her son, Brendan, who has hotel catering experience, and husband Gary also pitches in.
She and Brendan bake the cakes and everything is home made, but bread comes from a local firm.
When you walk in, the place embodies the words ‘quirky vintage tearoom’ but it’s full of items Tracey loves rather than a place created by a designer.
Everywhere is filled with little ornaments, vintage china and knick-knacks and festooned with funny signs. There are lots of pastel colours and unicorns peer out of various corners.
The kitchen space is behind a counter filled with cakes and buns and cake stands hang down from the ceiling. Brightly-coloured cake stands are for special children’s afternoon teas.
Tracey said: “I’ve worked all my life and been told off for talking too much. I don’t want to do paperwork, I want to talk to the people I’m trying to help.”
But she has learned to keep that natural chattiness in check, making sure she lets customers get on with their own conversations after an initial introduction and a quick explanation of the menu.
The attention to detail is commendable. I was asked which type of Earl Grey I preferred when I ordered a drink and when my friend Linda wanted a vegetarian breakfast, she was told what types of sausages and vegetarian bacon she could choose from, and was asked what other items she wanted to go with it.
They take the idea of an all-day breakfast to the extreme and you can happily order one at any time.
Linda went for the small breakfast (£4), a good plateful from Brendan which included veggie sausages, mushrooms, beans, tomatoes and a properly-cooked fried egg, plus two slices of toast, served in a toast rack.
My tea and Linda’s cappuccino both came with a tiny china plate alongside containing a toffee and a mint ball, plus a coffee biscuit in a little wrapper.
For meat eaters, large breakfasts for £6 include bacon, sausage and black pudding. Add on extras such as hash browns for 50p each.
Other hot breakfast options include toast, teacakes, eggs, beans or cheese on toast and various sandwiches.
Lunch choices include paninis, toasties, jacket potatoes and pancakes with a choice of fillings, or ‘create your own’ omelettes.
There are also sandwiches or salads.
I opted for a jacket potato with chilli and cheese (£4).
That was spot on, good comfort food, with a tasty chilli boasting a bit of heat but not too much, and a scattering of cheese on top (I was asked if red cheese was okay), plus a mixed side salad.
All filling enough, but we had our eyes on the cakes. We were dithering between two choices, so Tracey offers customers a ‘half and half’ option, sharing half each of two different slices.
I really enjoyed Tracey’s light, moist and well-risen Victoria sponge.
Linda preferred the coffee and walnut cake scattered with slivers of almond on top.
That was amazingly moist, with a rich coffee-flavoured filling running through it.
Our little feast cost only £20.90.
Spending time in Tracey’s company was priceless.