Saltaire Village, World Heritage Site
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Added to website: 29 June 2011

Chez Shamwari - Saltaire's Secret Tea Room

Chez ShamwariSaltaire now has its first and very own ‘secret’ tea room in Chez Shamwari, serving delicious lunches and afternoon teas of exceptional quality and value in the cosy and elegant setting of a Grade II listed house in Saltaire Village.

Shirley Quarmby, whose Saltaire home and cooking you can enjoy explains that the concept of the 'secret tea room' originated in Latin America after the Cuban revolution where  ‘secret paladares’ were set up in response to government restrictions and the American embargo.  Families opened their homes to diners, typically complete strangers, under cover of darkness.  The phenomenon has taken off in the UK over the past few years and are springing up all over the country. Secret tea rooms are not 'walk in restaurants’ so participation is by pre-booking.

Chez Shamwari - 'At my friend's house'

"At Chez Shamwari, you will experience a warm welcome and delicious food. I was born in Zimbabwe and the word "shamwari" (in Shona, the predominant language of the indigenous Mashona people of Zimbabwe) means 'friend' and has special meaning to me, having grown up with it as a term of endearment. The literal translation of 'Chez Shamwari' would be ‘at my friend’s house'.  There is something very sociable and special about sitting down at a table to share food or a meal; it presents the opportunity to make new and consolidate old friendships.  So Chez Shamwari conjured up for me the very epitomy of this.  While my guest may arrive as strangers to each other, I would hope that they will leave as friends."

Bookings are currently being taken for the following events:

  • 23 July – Lunch
  • 6 August – Afternoon Tea: A Taste of South Africa
  • 20 August – Lunch
  • 17 & 18 September – Afternoon Tea:  A Taste of Victorian England
  • 12 November – Afternoon Tea:  A Taste of American Thanksgiving
  • 3 December – Afternoon Tea:  A Taste of Christmas

More info

Details of Chez Shamwari’s opening hours and how to book can be found at where you can also follow Shirley's blog. Details are also published on the forum section of the Saltaire Village website. 

You can also email enquiries to and follow on twitter:  @chezshamwari



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