Lady Dinah's Cat Emporium: London, UK
Phone: +44 20 8616 9390
Hours: Thu-Tue 11:00-18:00, Wed 18:30-20:00
Entrance Fee: £10 (cup of tea) or £25 (high tea)
A Proper Lady: Review of Lady Dinah's Cat Emporium
My expectations were high and how could they not be?
Lady Dinah's opened in 2014 to great fanfare and a months-long waiting list. It has become quite famous, topping many 'Best Cat Cafe' lists and remains solidly booked even after three years!
So, I was definitely curious and when I asked my friend Alison, a cat cafe newbie, to join me for afternoon tea, she was as excited as I was. Arriving at nearby Liverpool Street tube station early, we decided to amble down Brick Lane which just happened to be on the way to our 1 pm scheduled appointment.
As we waited in the reception area to be checked in, I was pleasantly surprised by the gracious and friendly greeting offered to each guest. Instead of barking instructions or speeding through the rules (somewhat understandable if repeating them for the millionth time), the hostess spoke to each of us with courtesy and kindness.
Once inside, we were seated on the main level where a lovely 'cat carer' gave us great information about the seventeen cats in permanent residence, all rescues. I particularly loved how she told light-hearted stories about their lives at the cafe, like Wookie, a big boy (17.5 pounds!) who doesn't like a lot of fuss and prefers to observe the action while chilling out and Salome, a sweet girl who was wearing a cone since she had recently been spayed.
After a short time checking out the cats, our high tea arrived in a magnificent presentation, three tiers filled with sandwiches, scones/clotted cream/jam and a melange of petite sweets such as macaroons and eclairs. Ali and I nibbled and chatted away while world music played overhead and the kitties frolicked around us.
It was exactly what I had hoped it would be. I found that the tea service made for a relaxing atmosphere as guests focused more on food/conversation and less on trying to attract a cat to their lap.
Before our 90 minute time slot was up, I made a trek downstairs and loved how cool and cozy it was, with a slightly more intimate vibe than the upstairs, which is more like a formal tea room.
Lady Dinah's is deserving of the many accolades it has received. With the combination of a fresh & clean space, delicious food, engaging staff and friendly felines, it has all of the elements of a great cat cafe, plus the added bonus of a proper high tea, making a fun afternoon out even more special. Yes, the cost of £25 per person might seem substantial, but when you consider the average price of an afternoon tea in London is £30-£50 (sans kitty snuggles) I find Lady Dinah's offers exceptional value for money, especially when you consider they are caring for a clowder!
Great expectations, yes, but Lady Dinah's delivers.
Date Visited: 11/10/17