Note: McGregor's has closed their Tearoom in Tacoma, but it is rumored that they may soon open at another location. Check back for updates as they become available. Their web site is still online, so be sure to check it out.
This is a 'two teapot' place. The establishment is called McGregor's Tearoom, and it's located at 430 E. 25th St., in Tacoma, WA.
Their website address is www.mcgregorstearoom.com.
For those not familiar with Washington cities, Tacoma lies approximately 45 minutes south of Seattle. Tacoma is the stepsister of Seattle, often forgotten. But in Tacoma there is a tearoom: McGregor’s Scottish Tearoom.
When one thinks of a tearoom it’s usually Japanese, Chinese or English, but Scottish doesn’t immediately come to mind. I encourage you to visit McGregor’s, though, and experience the Scottish heritage this tearoom has to offer.
One of the interesting things about this place is its location. The tearoom is housed in a building that once was a train station, now filled with shops, food courts and a cool art gallery. The tearoom itself is quite impressive … kudos to the owners of this space. The use of a partitioning wall to block the rest of the shops gives the cozy feel of being in a true tearoom, rather than in a “mall” environment.
Once you’re inside, you’re inundated with everything Scottish. There are some great photographs of the Scottish highlands and other images. The only downfall I found was the open exposure to the kitchen. Personally, I think a small tartan curtain to hide the kitchen would be good, and would have made a huge difference.
The atmosphere was pleasant. Sunday afternoon is a great time to go to this tearoom. There was no feeling of being in a stuffy environment … it was just easy going, allowing busy people to sit and enjoy every minute in the tearoom. Reservations are needed for High tea and Afternoon tea. You can, however, just walk in and have a cuppa with food.
The service was great. The hostesses were nice and were able to answer my stupid question, which was, "Is this Salmon?" I was referring to the tea sandwich (no crust). It wasn’t, which leads me to the topic of the food.
The afternoon meal was cool. There was an assortment of finger sandwiches from Cucumber, to Cranberry spread, to Tuna. A note to Vegans: the only vegan item on the menu is the Oat Cakes. There was a small selection of scones with interesting spreads. The only thing I didn’t particularly like was that the jam spread was a bit bland. The Oatcakes were tasty when you had the cubed cheese with it (yum).
As Tanja and I ate, we watched each other’s facial reactions to the different foods. However, for me, watching Tanja putting milk in her tea was the best part (see her review below).
Now on to the important thing ... the TEA. The Scottish breakfast tea that I shared with Tanja was a blend of three teas. It was interesting … the smell was like Lipton tea but the taste was quite different. It tended to become bitter quickly, when there wasn’t enough water kept in the pot. Refills of water were free. The only thing I wished for was more frequent refills of water, instead of having to request it. There were a bunch of blended teas, but I saw regular teas, too.
Tanja was my "guinea pig", and here is what she had to say about McGregor’s:
”I think that Afternoon Tea at McGregor's Scottish Tea Room is a good starter for someone who is interested in exploring the relaxation that tea can provide.”
”The atmosphere and attitude of the staff gives locals the feel of a quaint European tearoom but without being overly prim or stuffy. The open view of the kitchen and noise from the other shops beyond would be nice to do without, but don't detract too much from the overall experience.”
”The 3-tiered plate full of tea sandwiches, scones, fruit, cheese and sweets is a nice complement to your pot of tea and helps promote the overall tea experience. Musing over the bite size morsels, deciphering what's what and figuring out how you want to share them, slows down the pace of your afternoon just like a good cup of tea should. Now if you find yourself inhaling the food as quickly as possible and wondering where the rest of your lunch is...this may not be the way you want to spend your afternoon.”
”As for milk in your tea...we had Scottish Breakfast and I won't advise putting more than a drop of milk in it (if you're so inclined) because that takes away just about all the flavor of the tea itself. I found I liked it better with no milk and just a little sugar.”
Overall the experience was very interesting. I will go back the next time I’m in Tacoma. I give McGregor’s a “Two Teapot” review. Be sure to check back for my next review.
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