Stepping into the Twisted Teapot, I feel like I’ve stumbled down the rabbit hole and landed in Alice’s Wonderland. And wonderful it is.
From the twinkelights, and the books literally flying off the enchanted bookshelves, to the touches of Narnia, Harry Potter and Disney hidden in every corner, it’s clear this place it as much a feast for the eyes as it is the tastebuds.
As we step through the door, we’re handed a glass of Prosecco which we’re invited to ‘pimp’ with all kinds of fruit and liquers before we take our seats. And, because nothing at this magical place is done traditionally, the ladies rooms - I soon discover - can be found by stepping into a large brown wardbrobe against one of the walls, pushing past the fur coats and heading, in the twinkly darkness, towards the lamppost, which will guide you the rest of the way. Magical.
We tuck into a teeny pate starter, before our ‘afternoon tea’ style savoury course arrives on a set of shelves that is placed in the middle of the table: a cucumber and cream cheese sandwich, olive and feta skewer, cheese and broccoli quiche, caviar on a cracker, garlic bruschetta with cream cheese and smoked salmon, a pastry brie and cranberry bite, egg and cress mayonaise dinner roll, and roast vegetable crisps. I enjoyed every delicious mouthful. From the delicious mix of garlic and smoked salmon - our group’s personal favourite - to the sweet tang of cranberry mixed with the earthy taste of the brie, the creative menu demonstrated a mastery of flavour combinations.
Dessert, which looked almost too beautiful to eat, featured a brownie and marshmallow mountain, a dark chocolate basket with caramel mousse and raspberry coulis, plain scone with raspberry jam and clotted cream, Victoria sponge, lemon drizzle cake, chocolate profiterole, and Bailey cheesecake with a handmade chocolate teaspoon. My sweet tooth was in heaven: the sponge and pastry was all light and delicious, the brownie was moist, and the chocolate was melt-in-the-mouth good. Like the savoury course, everything was fresh and spot-on, and our wonderful server - Nicky Barry, the creative mind behind this incredible new Barnsley tearoom - came around with doggy bags for all once we were defeated.
“This was my home for ten years,” Nicky reveals with a grin.
“I lived here when I got married, and when I had my three children. We love this house. It was when we came to sell it, as we were moving, we realised we didn’t want to let it go.”
The idea to turn the house, on Park Road in Barnsley, into a restaurant-with-a-difference, came to Nicky, aged 37, as she laid in bed one night soon after.
“By the time my husband woke up the next day, I knew just what I wanted to do, and had it all mapped out,” says the former HR manager.
“I’d always loved baking and cooking - skills I learned from my nan - and loved the idea of turning the place into something unique. So we sold the car, got decorating, and launched Twisted Teapot in July this year.
“Even I couldn’t pin down exactly what the decor is!” she laughs.
“There’s plenty of fantasy and fairytale - to be honest I ran out of wallspace for all the ideas we had!”
And the business is run almost completely by Nicky, along with help from her husband, mum and some close friends who come in to help serve when she has big parties in.
“We don’t have set opening times,” she explains.
“I open two or three evenings a week and fill the place up, as well as taking private bookings, and we’ve been blown away by the response. Already, we’re now booked up until next May, with all the weekends for December 2018 taken, and some bookings even in for 2019. It’s incredible!”
Coupled with a bottomless teapot, our magical evening at Twisted Teapot cost just £20 per head. I was so blown away by the experience, I’d encourage everyone to find a window in their diaries - six, 12, even 18 months from now - and make your reservation today.
Visit Twisted Teapot’s Facebook page to book.