You might think that a city the size of London is awash with great tea. Not so. What it is awash with is Starbucks-clones, over-priced tea and disinterested service. Hooray, then, for places like Café 171.
A stone's throw from the Tate Modern (admittedly you need a good throwing arm), Café 171 sits on the side of the Jerwood Art Space and Gallery. And if you think that's going to make it a very civilised, chilled place to have a cup of tea, well, fortunately for us all you'd be right. That's not to say there aren't some populist touches, because there are: if you want a chocolate muffin with your cuppa, you can, but equally if you're the kind of person who'd prefer a delicate croissant with your breakfast beverage, well, you're catered for too.
As you might expect, varied tea tastes are provided for - as well as reliable English Breakfast, decaffeinated, Earl Grey and a range of fruit teas are on offer. Cakes, pastries and light snacks are on offer too, and there's a short, basic but nevertheless satisfying lunch menu too. In short, everything you want to be on the menu is on it. Not only that, it's all very reasonably priced too, especially when you remember how close you are to the very pulse of the throbbing metropolis. And my cuppa was good and strong, in a lovely big bowl of a cup - who could ask for more?
Then there are your surroundings. You've got a choice of seating - indoors or in a small courtyard that, again considering your position, is surprisingly quiet and peaceful. And there is some sculpture on display too, in keeping with the artistic purposes of the Jervis Space itself.
As if all that wasn't enough, there's plenty of reading material to accompany your cuppa too - decent newspapers, magazines aplenty, and more. It's worth rifling through some of the Jervis Space's promotional material too.
All in all then, a great cuppa at a great price, a hop and a skip from the Tate and the Southbank - well worth seeking out if you're in that neck of the woods.