A British chain of tea rooms is helping hopeless romantics planning to propose to their loved ones to do it in a creative way this Valentine’s Day.
The Tea Terrace, which owns and operates three tea rooms at the House of Fraser department stores in London and Guildford, has come up with a clever menu that in itself is a marriage proposal. Plus all the foods on the menu are aphrodisiacs.
Ehab Shouly, Director of The Tea Terrace, said he has seen his fair share of proposals at their tea rooms since they opened their first branch back in 2010. “We wanted to do something special this Valentine’s Day and help hopeless romantics surprise their loved ones,” he said.
Shouly, who runs The Tea Terrace with his wife and business partner Rowena Shouly, said they were both big fans of romantic proposals. “It brings us joy to see people coming up with clever ways to pop the question. I myself proposed to my wife under-water in a cave on a beach island,” he said.
The menu, which will be launched at The Tea Terrace’s three branches on February 9th, will be served for two weeks. All the dishes on the menu have creative names that drop hints at nuptials, Shouly pointed out.
“All the food items on our menu are known aphrodisiacs as well”, he added with a wry smile.
The soup is called Lentil Death Do Us Part Soup. It’s a cream lentil soup served with bread rolls and butter. “Yes, lentils are aphrodisiacs. Old Hippocrates, who apparently had sex on the brain, also recommended these humble legumes to keep lead in manly pencils. Aristotle supposedly did too and so did the ancient Egyptians,” Shouly explained
The starter on the menu is a Prawn and Avoca-i Do Salad. This is the traditional prawn cocktail salad of cooked tiger prawns on a bed of lettuce and fresh avocado and drizzled in Thousand Island dressing. Both prawns and avocados are also aphrodisiacs.
“Going back to 200 B.C., the Aztecs called the avocado "ahuacuatl," which translates as "testicle tree" for two fairly obvious reasons. They thought its soft, creamy flesh had just the opposite effect on their own,” Shouly explained.
For the Main Course on the menu, Shouly has created a dishy called “My Heart and Sole with Lemon and Parsley”. The name is a play on the ingredients, as the dish is made up of an oven-baked fillet of sole fish served with roasted artichoke hearts.
Greek mythology holds Zeus responsible for the creation of the artichoke. After being rejected by a beautiful young woman, the god turned his object of affection into a thorny and difficult thistle. Tough on the outside and soft on the inside, artichokes are well versed in the game of hard-to-get, but their history as an aphrodisiac is mostly due to folklore.
Catherine de Medici, known for her insatiable appetite for both food and romance, brought artichokes to France when she married Henry II. 17th century French writer and sexologist Dr. Nicolas Venette reported that Swedish women who were feeling neglected in the bedroom would serve their husbands artichokes in an effort to increase their desire and stamina. “Whether or not you believe in the romantic power of the artichoke, eating one certainly won’t hurt. They’re packed with healthy antioxidants and they’re delicious too,” Shouly said.
The clincher of the proposal on the menu is the dessert which is called “Lemon Me-Ring Pie” which is a lemon meringue pie with browned mallow meringue.
“OK neither lemon nor meringue are aphrodisiacs. But Lemon Meringue Pie is my wife’s favourite dessert. And since my wife is my aphrodisiac, I’m counting this one,” Shouly joked.
The Tea Terrace is a chain of unique and quaint English tea rooms which aims to reinvent the tradition of afternoon tea.
It has three branches located at the House of Fraser department stores in London on Oxford Street, London on Victoria Street and Guildford on the high street.