Old Forge tea room ‘pops-up’ in Japan

Laura White
Laura White

A ‘pop-up’ version of the Old Forge Tea Room in Chagford will be the centre-piece of ‘British Week’ in Tokyo.

This September Vincent and Sara Martinez, proprietors of the Old Forge, look to recreate a near-exact replica of their quintessentially British tearoom where they will serve cream teas at the world-famous event.

Tokyo’s vast, luxury Mitsukoshi department store, whose origins can be traced back to 1673 is often dubbed the ‘Harrods of Japan’ and plays host to this cultural event which sees the best in Britain for special crafts and bespoke manufacturing on show. Organisers recognised the quality and potential of The Old Forge after it was awarded the prestigious ‘Best Cream Tea in Britain’ title in 2015.

Dr Richard Farrington, the former owner of the Old Forge, gave the secret scone recipe to Vincent when he sold the business on the strict instruction that the recipe would never be shared and must remain secret.

Due to the enormous and prohibitive cost of shipping the flour which makes the recipe so unique, Richard’s secret will be preserved as Vincent will be using Japanese flour which is slightly different to the flour he uses back in Chagford.

Vincent will have to bake 1,200 of the Forge’s famous scones every day which are served with cream from Langage Farm and Waterhouse Fayre strawberry or Whortlberry jam.

The Japanese version of The Old Forge will be adorned with photographs of Chagford along with literature to promote the beautiful Dartmoor town.

Sara and Vincent were approached by a delegation from the Mitsukoshi store to take part in British Week some time ago.

“I thought it was a joke at first,” said Vincent, “but we have now booked the flights and the hotel is paid for, but I suppose we will have to close the Chagford ‘branch’ of the Forge while we are away.”