Love Basingstoke recently spoke to Lucy Fisher, owner of The Parlour Tearoom at Viables Craft Centre.
Tell us about The Parlour Tearoom
The Parlour Tearoom is at family-run traditional English tearoom nestled inside an old milking parlour. We are situated at Viables Craft Centre (an old converted farm) with its heritage very much still alive, keeping the perfect blend between old and new.
The Parlour Tearoom was established back in 2010 and experienced a change of ownership in March 2017 when myself and my mum took the business reins and made it into the tearoom that you all know and love today. The business has since grown in both size and popularity and has gone on to achieve a multi-award winning status in Hampshire and the surrounding area.
Our once small team has now expanded into a team of 12 wonderful staff, who add an extra layer of charm to each and every visit.
From the quaint interior and warm pastel tones, to the vintage china cups and personal service, The Parlour Tearoom has gone on to become a much loved destination for home-baked treats and afternoon tea experiences.
Inside the Parlour Tearoom
What’s it like being based at Viables Craft Centre?
We love being based here at Viables Craft Centre, the old-style buildings and other small businesses here really complement each other and it's become a popular site for the variety it offers. The little quirks around the site are my favourite thing about being here, from the old bull pens to the wonky floors. It really helps to keep the old farm atmosphere and individuality of the centre alive.
Can you share you biggest business highlights or achievements with us?
My personal favourite business highlight has to be winning “Best cafe in Hampshire and Isle of Wight.” That for me was the first big award win we had obtained and just made it all feel worth it. Having our hard work recognised so widely makes us truly proud of what do day in, day out. We have recently been nominated by Lux Life for a Global Excellence Award 2023!
Being able to expand our team has also been a true highlight for us. We love being able to give people the opportunity to learn and grow along with us as a business and become part of the tearoom journey.
Surviving the pandemic also feels like such a huge achievement for any one let alone a small business owner, quick adaptations to our business structure in tough times was a challenge but being able to come out the other side of it and still blossoming feels a true privilege.
The Parlour Tearoom
We notice you have been holding a series of events, can you tell us about these?
We are loving bringing something new to Basingstoke so we have been hosting a variety of different events in conjunction with other small businesses. Its really nice to help support each other and bring something new to area. We now host regular evening events from mediumship evenings, to floristry workshops, and cocktail masterclasses to tea leaf reading! My all time favourite event to host has to be our afternoon tea by candlelight and late night shopping experience in the run up to Christmas. The tearoom is just so cosy by candlelight and it always brings such a warm atmosphere.
Can you tell us about your fight against food waste?
At the tearoom we are really conscious about food wastage. Every day, food goes to waste in cafes, bars and restaurants simply because it's not sold in time. We have established a new commitment to reducing food waste and are now in partnership with several companies to help provide any surplus food to a wider audience at a cheaper price, simply saving it from being wasted.
We use apps such as 'Too good to go' as well as providing local homeless shelters, care homes or simply people in need with any surplus food. I see cutting food waste as a delicious way of helping feed the world, saving money and protecting the planet.
The Parlour Tearoom
What are your plans for the future of The Parlour Tearoom?
Ooooh, wouldn't you like to know! We have so many ideas and different directions we would love to take the business in. We have often thought about another tearoom and there’s lots of other aspects we’d like to branch into. We do have some super exciting things in the pipeline coming up already but I can’t quite reveal anything about those just yet!