We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.
The latest reviews. The lowest prices. The perfect place to shop for hotels.

“How wrong can you go with tea and cake?”

King alfreds Kitchen
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: US$5 - US$20
Cuisines: British
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Child-friendly, Cheap Eats
Dining options: Lunch, Brunch, Breakfast, Dinner, Accepts Mastercard, Accepts Visa, Free Wifi, Highchairs Available, Outdoor Seating, Reservations, Seating, Takeout, Waitstaff
Description: Traditional English Tea Rooms and Bistro serving breakfast, morning coffee, lunch and afternoon teas. On a Friday and Saturday night we serve supper. The restaurant and tea rooms are housed in an atmospheric 13 century building.
Bournemouth, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
24 reviews
8 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 55 helpful votes
“How wrong can you go with tea and cake?”
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 27 August 2014

This week I made my first visit to Shatesbury and fancied taking tea and cake, as is my usual want on visits to small towns, and looking at my previous reviews it is rapidly becoming a habit.

King Alfreds Kitchen is situated in the corner of town centre, next to a "Costa" and the main Town Hall and a short walk from what everyone refers to as "the hill from the Hovis advert". I thought it an ideal place to stop off for a spot of refreshment.

The cafe is basically a relatively small seating area with around six circular tables. You do not see the kitchen or any preparation areas. On entry through a very low door, the first thing that hits you is how dated it is. The cast iron stove is a nice feature (but not working in summer), but the ambiance is ruined by the unwelcoming state of the tables. Plastic tablecloths are not inviting. If it was not for my companion already being seated, I would have made my exit.

The staff member was attentive, handed us a menu and straightaway without time to sit down, asked what we would like without giving us any chance of perusing it. Odd. Not to worry, tea and cake was ordered.

During the wait the atmosphere in the room was subdued. It was quiet, and all conversations could be heard. The eavesdropping was broken by the sound of intermittent hammer drilling, a shop is being refitted next door.

Now I cannot hold the management of King Alfreds Kitchen responsible for the major works next door, however, a little notice or an apology from the staff would not have been amiss - so we could have made a choice to stay or leave before ordering. The sound of a drill is not at all pleasant when taking a spot of tea. Again, I regret not apologising and walking out at that point.

Tea for two arrived in a joint ceramic pot. The pot was absolutely impossible to pour - the type with a spout that basically gets it everywhere rather than the cup you are aiming it at. Why do tea shops persist with this ridiculousness?

A lot of tea was spilled all over the plastic cloth. Annoying.

The lemon cake, purchased unseen, was a block of dry sponge with a hard icing. Awful.

I should have stuck to my rule of never ordering cake from such a cafe without first seeing it.

Other diners in the 'kitchen' had ordered hot food. I did notice that some orders were served on a wooden board instead of ceramics. This again turned me off.

Why do places still do this? In my book, food should not be served from wooden boards. They are incredibly difficult to keep clean and bacteria free.

Outside the cafe are public areas on which to sit. The areas had been taken over by persons from a local hostel and, whilst this is obviously not in the control of the shop, it made for an unpleasant atmosphere to say the least.

Overall a regrettable experience, and I wished that I had read some recent reviews before giving them my patronage.

  • Visited August 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
5 Thank 0w1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
909JOHN_C, Owner at King alfreds Kitchen, responded to this review, 18 September 2014
Dear Ow1

Thank you for taking the trouble to write a review on trip adviser, we encourage feedback from our customers good or bad as I feel it can only help us in our strive always to improve thereby ensuring that future customers have an even better experience.

You have kindly written a long and detailed report, which is quite heroic of you considering you only had a pot of tea for 2 and one slice of cake.

I had decided to spend my valuable time in making a worthy reply then I happened to remember sitting in a school assembly in my youth when I heard
the quote

Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools because they have to say something.


John Croft
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Write a Review

144 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Rating summary
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • Russian first
  • Any
English first
Salisbury, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
41 reviews
20 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
“what a shame”
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 23 August 2014

I have been popping into this cafe for many years now whenever I go to Shaftesbury. I believe it has recently been taken over by new owners and today may have been teething problems but oh what a disappointment. As previously mentioned in another review, the thin plastic table cloths are not in keeping with the age of the place and add nothing. We ordered a cooked breakfast and we had drunk two pots of tea before it arrived. Another table decided to leave as they were not willing to wait any longer. Breakfast was ok but fresh tomatoes are never as good as tinned when it comes to a cooked breakfast. The service was polite but one of the slowest meals to be cooked I have experienced and nobody saying anything about the reason for the delay. We went around the corner later in the day for a cup of tea and had fantastic service, quality and speed so I feel you will have to up your game to fight off the competition. I would not hurry back.

  • Visited August 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank Bigshirl2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
909JOHN_C, Owner at King alfreds Kitchen, responded to this review, 27 August 2014
Dear Bigshirl2

Thank you for taking your time to post a review regarding your experience at King Alfred’s on Saturday.

It was the first Saturday that we had been open so as you had rightly identified we were experiencing some teething problems one of them being that the front of house staff had not relayed that to you.

On the matter of the thin plastic cloths the new cloths are a totally different cover from the aforementioned plastic cloths and we think they are quite fun! Although nothing is set in stone at King Alfred’s and if we were to find another sustainable solution which sits comfortably in a 13 century tea rooms everything may change.

On the subject of tinned tomatoes verses a freshly grilled Isle of White tomato, some would say that there is no contest fresh winning every time but each to their own; the world would be a very sad place without these daily conundrums to solve.

I can assure you that although my lovely team of workers have scrubbed, cleaned, painted and cleaned again, they know that there is still much to do and going forward will work hard to make sure King Alfred’s is again the little gem that the lovely town of Shaftesbury deserves.

All the very best

John and the team
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Southampton, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
7 reviews
7 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
“A big tasty Scone!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 27 July 2014 via mobile

I popped into the King Alfred's Kitchen for a cup of tea whilst passing through the town on business. Even though it was quite early I decided to try a scone with cream and jam as I was a little peckish and have a sweet tooth. The scone was brought to me and I was pleased that it was still warm and it was a big one as well! Very fresh and tasty. The service was friendly and attentive.

Visited July 2014
2 Thank InspectorCat
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Leominster, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
47 reviews
21 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
“Worst cream tea”
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 16 July 2014

The thin plastic table cloth should have been a warning: the over large scones with a knob on top were over baked and full of raising agents. Not even lashings of clotted cream and jam could disguise the taste. Not a good experience. Shame.

  • Visited July 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
2 Thank Jane B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
16 reviews
14 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
“My Favourite Place”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 6 July 2014

Love this cafe as first and foremost, you feel as if you have stepped back in time, with it's truly original interior and atmosphere. As newcomers, we were immediately made to feel welcome and due to its excellence have returned many times. The food is wonderful, everything is home cooked and best rarebit you will ever taste. The breakfast baps are also great and you will not leave this place feeling hungry. I have also become addicted to their Victorian lemonade which is a pure taste from the past. Perfectly situated in Shaftesbury, very close to Gold Hill, I can truly recommend this place.

  • Visited June 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
2 Thank Liz O
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

Travellers who viewed King alfreds Kitchen also viewed

Shaftesbury, Dorset
Shaftesbury, Dorset

Been to King alfreds Kitchen? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing