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Frequently Asked Questions
‘Help! I cannot make a booking' To make a booking click on the BOOKING page of our website. select the shop you wish to book for and an approximate time you would like to visit, with the amount of people you want to visit with (please note we cannot add extra guests from the booking notes box of your reservation. The table sizes shown are the only ones available.) We cannot make your booking via email or phone but can discuss bookings already made with us by quoting your reference number.
‘What happens if you are fully booked?’ If we are fully booked in the shop of your choice and you cannot make it to our other branch then please try popping in either way. As we like to keep Biddys a relaxed environment (a village tearoom in the city) we only book half of the tearoom out at once meaning that there are often spaces available or tables that come up. On weekends we have a greeter who will find you the next available table.
‘What time do you serve Afternoon Tea?’ Between 12-4 every day.
‘Do you only take bookings for Afternoon Tea?’ Between 12 and 4 yes we do. Afternoon Tea is the most popular item on our menu and we often find ourselves oversubscribed. We regret that we cannot reserve the tables for just tea and cake through lunch service in our tearooms. However, we take bookings for tea and cake before and after lunch service and you can have a walk in or unreserved table at any time of the day for any times from our menu.
‘Do little ones need to be booked for?’ Yes they do, even if they are not requiring food as the booking number will determine what table size you are seated on and failing to count all party members will mean there won’t be enough seating.
‘Why do you need my card details? Do you take a deposit?’ No we don’t take a deposit. As a bakery we make fresh cakes and food daily often depending on how busy the tearoom is booked for. We were finding that no-shows or very last minute cancellations were resulting in waste of produce and customers being turned away unnecessarily. So we ask for a card to secure the booking. If you do not turn up or give an inadequate amount of time to cancel we reserve the right to care £5 per person on that table.
‘What’s the maximum amount of people I can book for?’ Our largest stand alone table is 6. We can sometimes take larger bookings depending on the time of year and trade. This is at our discretion and can be arranged by emailing email@example.com
‘If there are more than 10 of us, what can we do?’ We offer private party option for all bookings over 10 as it’s the least disruptive booking for our other diners (and it's much more fun for groups!) All Mad Hatters Tea Parties can be booked or viewed on the PARTIES tab on our website. We can also accommodate groups for tea and cake in the mornings from 9 to 11 and on some Tuesday evenings when our private events are on. Get in touch for more details.
‘I can no longer make my booking, what can I do? I don’t want to get charged’ Don’t worry, we want to keep Biddy’s as flexible as possible. As long as you give us 2 hours notice for tables of 7 or less and 24 for groups of 8 or more in the tearoom there will be no charge.
‘How many sandwich choices do we get with our Afternoon Tea?’ We are slightly different to your typical Afternoon Tea because we offer a make-your-own experience. As well as choosing the cake, scone and tea you want to sample at your sitting you can choose your sandwich too (including bread type) There is a long list of quirky and regular sandwiches to choose from and they are all made freshly for you. Personally we think this sets us apart from the pre made/same choice Afternoon Teas but it means that you only have one choice per person as we would be wasting 2 out of three fingers otherwise! Our suggestion is choose different options to those you come with and all share the finger sandwiches when they come out.
‘What is the difference between the Tearoom and Lounge?’ Our Tearoom is the original top floor of Biddy’s Norwich. It has higher restaurant seating and serves our lunches and Afternoon Teas. Our Lounge was the area we expanded into a couple of years later and is a more casual/low dining experience serving drinks, cakes, scones, and light snacks like sausage rolls and scotch eggs. Our Aylsham branch has a lounge and a tearoom in one.
‘What the history of Biddy’s and how many branches do you have?’ Biddys was created in 2010 by owner Charlie and is named after her dog, who happens to look and act like an old Biddy... Although heavily influenced by the Victorian’s and the British Empire It’s intended to be a bit tongue in cheek with its styling and reference a sense of eclectic fun with that period. We specialise in loose leaf tea and homemade cake. Our Afternoon Tea is taken from the owner's Nan who made Afternoon Tea every Saturday. It is a small independent with the same owner (who now makes the wedding cakes as Ophelia Wedding’s) we have a close knit team of amazing people, some of whome have been with us from it's inception. Our Lower Goat Lane shop in the heart of Norwich’s Lanes was opened in 2011 and we decided to take on a bakery in 2014 to ensure all baking was done in house. In 2013 we started a wedding and occasion cake business called Ophelia’s next to the new tearoom at the bakery, Biddy’s Kitchen which is our rural and dog friendly branch of Biddy’s in the Market Place, Aylsham. Who knows whats next….
‘Is everything homemade?’ Pretty much yes! All of our cakes are made by our in house bakery team at our other shop in Aylsham, Norfolk. Our bakery makes everything you see in the glass displays (and the occasion cakes) daily. Sausage rolls and scones are made from scratch each morning on site. The only things not made by us come from trusted local businesses with similar values to us. For example Bray’s Cottage Pork Pies and Deerly Beloved Vegan Cakes
‘Talking of vegan, what diets can you cater for?’ We can make cakes, scones and sandwiches for… dairy free, gluten free, sugar free and animal product free and even a mix of the above. Each day we offer at least dairy free, vegan and gluten free cake (separately) and can make Afternoon Teas for all of these diets. Other diets can normally be catered for but we need warning and time as these need to be specially made. We are currently looking at options that incorporate all so that there is a daily option at short notice. (Please note that our kitchen contains the following known allergies; nuts, peanuts, soya, wheat, gluten, dairy, eggs)
‘Why don’t you do a late/cappuccino/flat white?’ We do serve a refillable filter coffee as well as hot chocolates and chai lattes but we made the decision to be a traditional Tea Room when we opened with the focus being very much on tea and tea choice. Biddy’s is a very personal project and created by the owner. She loves tea and felt there were very few places to enjoy the sheer range of teas out there compared to coffees in coffee shops. Believe it or not we did have a coffee machine when we opened but we found the noise off putting and personally believe that coffee is too strong a drink to enjoy with cake so we went back to our roots and have not looked back since. Norwich has a thriving cafe scene and some of the best coffee shops we’ve ever been to. There is a place for all our independent businesses in the city if we all keep a point of difference and we can happily advise on the best coffee shops to visit.
‘What tea do you advise?’ Its really depends on your taste, particularly if you like to take your tea with milk or not. We serve over 50 blends of tea and our menu splits them into categories. Our staff are also trained and on hand to offer advice. Please ask to smell them too to help get an idea.
‘Can I buy the Tea?’ Unfortunately not at this point. But we are looking into it.
‘Do you serve your scones with clotted cream?’ Yes absolutely! We are traditionalists who love Cream Teas so it's obligatory. Please remember that clotted cream only has a clotted layer at the top. If your cream pot doesn’t have that it's still made using the traditional boiling and clotting technique.
‘I have a pushchair, Will it fit or can I leave it somewhere?’ Norwich Tearoom is a bit ’economical’ when it comes to space. We find it hard to fit pushchairs by tables. However we are happy to store them downstairs for you. We have 4 high chairs in each shop.
‘Can I have my Afternoon Tea downstairs on your Norwich shop?’ I’m afraid not. There are a few reasons for this and the main one is a long standing licensing agreement in our building. It’s the main reason we have two separate areas in our Norwich branch. If you cannot make the stairs then we can book you into our Aylsham Branch which is all on one level and has ramp access.
‘I want to buy a voucher for a friend, can do I do this?’ Yes of course. You can visit us in store and purchase a gift voucher or visit the VOUCHER page on our website for more information on how to buy without coming in.
‘Do your vouchers expire?’ No they do not. Although we reserve the right to charge for additional items purchased to voucher face value and if vouchers are over a year old we might ask for any price increase to be covered.
‘How can I pay?’ We accept cash, debit, credit card, spree vouchers and gift vouchers (credit cards incur a 50p fee)
‘How do I book for a private party?’ Please have a look at our PARTIES page for all the info you need. Including Terms and Conditions. Once you email Emma our bookings manager she will confirm available dates and send out deposit and bookings forms.
‘I would like to book a special cake, who do I contact?’ Our bakery makes all of our special cakes from little birthday cakes to huge wedding cakes. Our pricing structure is the same and is mostly calculated by time. Please check out our BAKERY and WEDDING pages for more information. We normally ask for a week's notice on smaller bespoke cakes but that's more to organise our diary and we can often make cakes with 48 hours notice. If your cake is not something that we specialise in or we are fully booked we can direct you to other great local bakers.
‘Do you sell your whole cakes?’ We do but by pre arrangement only. Click the BAKERY page or email firstname.lastname@example.org to get a price list.
‘Where is the wallpaper from?’ Most of them are by William Morris (Golden Lily, Red House and Strawberry Thief) But we also have some Farrow and Ball and Little Greened in there too!
‘What are your opening times?’ Our Norwich shop is open 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday and 10am to 5pm Saturday and Sunday. We host events each Tuesday from 6.30pm and private hire every other day of the week from 6.30pm. Tuesday mornings we hold a mum and baby group for women to come and chat and be pro-breastfeeding. In our Aylsham shop we open 9am to 5pm Monday to Saturday and are closed Sundays and Bank holidays (sometimes we have to open later to take in deliveries) and we offer private hire after 6.30pm each evening.
‘My question is not here. Who can I contact?’ You can see a full list of contact emails on the CONTACT us page or email email@example.com to speak to someone.