In a time when coffee shops seem to be blossoming on every corner, The Kettle Café and Tea Room here is making a different kind of splash.
Sure, there is coffee, and a nice selection of good things to eat, but it is a tea room.
Get tea by the cup or the pot, there are seven from which to choose, and all are loose leaf, of course.
You can get old standards such as Earl Gray, a flavored tea such as hibiscus herbal tea with lemon grass, or a more classical Chinese tea, such as gunpowder (where every leaf has been rolled into tiny pellets).
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The Kettle offers health options for good things to eat as well. Everything served at The Kettle is plant-based, organic, non-GMO, vegan, gluten-free, gluten-loaded and Fair Trade.
The menu is small, but there is a lot of bang for the buck. I tried three different items and was wowed by them all.
The selection varies, but on the day of my visit there were 17 choices, divided roughly into savory and sweet categories.
Everything is made in house, so some things are bound to sell out.
There was a chocolate cake on the counter when I arrived, and a slice of this decadent homemade cake would set you back just $6.
My doctor won’t let me touch anything as rich and sweet as chocolate cake, but it looked wonderful.
I did try the scone with clotted cream and jam ($3.25), and it was nothing like what I expected.
The clotted cream was a wonder, and I could have gone after it in a big bowl with a spoon.
It is house-made whipped cream, fortified with cream cheese and a few other secret ingredients.
The scone was just right, not too dense and good by itself, but loaded with homemade peach and apricot jam, and a big dollop of the cream, it was delicious.
Next on the list was the lemon dill “cuke” (as in cucumber) sandwich (just $4).
Think of the English tea cucumber sandwich, and you’ll get the general idea. But this one was blended with lemon and dill to make a light but flavorful sandwich and along with a few grapes made a great snack.
Last was the peanut butter and jam with banana panini. Elvis would have lost his mind. A sandwich made with dark bread, maybe a multi-grain, peanut butter, jam and sliced bananas, then toasted until it was a warm, gooey delight. This could become an addiction.
If you do come for coffee, check out the Dominican espresso ($3.45 a shot, $3.75 for a double). This rich coffee is shipped direct from the Dominican Republic to the Kettle, and if you are an espresso fan, this is a must-try.
The Kettle is decked out in light pastel colors, some of owner Somer Cochran’s favorite art, and a few knickknacks are or sale. The mood is light and cheery, and the service is as friendly and when the mood for a good tea, a serious sweet, or a healthy snack strikes, this is the place to be.
The Kettle Café and Tea Room
Where: 1064 Thorn Avenue, Ocean Springs
When: Monday-Friday 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Saturday 11 a.m.-4 p.m.; Sunday closed