With qualifications in hotel management and hospitality, Marianna gained valuable experience from her first jobs managing restaurants, bars, and hotels. And as she began to recognize the lack of stylish, well-run tearooms in the London area, she started to plan her own. She found the perfect location in Barnes, a leafy riverside suburb on the upper reaches of the Thames where pretty cottages sit on tree-lined streets, and residents move at a slower pace than in the busier, noisier parts of central London.
When she investigated the availability of the shop that is today home to Orange Pekoe, the owners had already found a new tenant but were so taken with the idea of Marianna’s tearoom that they withdrew from their previous arrangement and signed a contract with her instead. The location is as near perfect as Marianna could have hoped for. The generous sidewalk outside Orange Pekoe provides a shady spot for al fresco teatimes at white wrought-iron tables beneath elegant olive trees. Inside, the larger of the two rooms is bright and cheery, with tables bathed in sunlight that filters through the glass roof and reflects off the white brick walls, while the swirls and garlands of the gilded wallpaper in the smaller room recall a refined Georgian parlor.
The ambience is harmonious, kind, quiet, and respectful—a gentle but stylish blend of family drawing room and tearoom, and a perfect space for visitors of all ages. The décor is carefully designed to mix whimsical touches—crossed teaspoon menu holders and winged cherubs on the wall—with quiet charm. Little vases of delicate fresh flowers sit on tables and shelves, and recesses display Edwardian and Victorian hand-painted teapots, glass cake stands, and a selection of eye-catching children’s books to amuse younger visitors.