REDMOND — If you’ve found that you’ve blown through every episode of “Great British Bake-Off” and are still left wanting more, or rather, you just find yourself with a deep craving for sausage rolls, there is only one place for you: Redmond’s British Pantry.
Now, the sprawling 6,000-square-foot space includes a bakery, restaurant, pub and gift shop, but it all started in a small, 450-square-foot space by Mavis Redman 41 years ago.
“We had six tables and it was all imported foods and the bakery,” says Alvia Redman, Mavis’ daughter.
Alvia now runs the business along with her brother, Neville, and her son, Graham. They also operate the Three Lion’s Pub in Bothell and on Novelty Hill.
“But she’s still the big boss,” Alvia says of her mother, who still works the occasional shift at the shop.
Mavis is originally from Swinton, outside of Manchester in England, and grew up baking in her family’s bakery. The Redmans moved to Washington when Alvia’s father, Fred, got a job with Boeing. Alvia says her mother missed British food, so she started making things at home for her family and other British friends.
The small space opened in a strip mall in 1978, and has slowly expanded over the years. The pub is the newest portion, opened over a decade ago. The main doors lead you to the restaurant on the left and the bakery and gift shop to the right. You can also access the pub through the gift shop, which has its own separate door.
The restaurant and pub share mostly the same menu — with the addition of tea service and pastries at the restaurant.
The restaurant’s cozy walls are covered in framed photographs of England’s royal family, scenes of the English countryside and assorted bric-a-brac. The words “Neville’s Restaurant” are painted on the outside of one of the large windows, a relic left over from when Neville pushed to expand the hours to include dinner service.
We were there too early to take advantage of the tea service menu (served 2:30-4:30 p.m. daily), which offers the traditional cucumber sandwiches, scones with jam and cream, and quiche served a la carte or as a platter — but no one should be disappointed by the regular menu, as it’s positively stuffed with anything you could want.
After chatting up our lovely British server about her favorites, my friend and I ordered the beef shepherd’s pie ($16), sausage rolls served with chips ($13), and a half-size Caesar ($7). We also grabbed a scone with fruit ($6) and, obviously, I ordered a cup of the house blend tea ($3).
Portions are generous, and we ended up sharing everything. Shepherd’s pie comes with a substantial side of peas. The toasted mashed potatoes were beautifully piped atop a filling that was flavorful and not too runny. The peas were fairly plain, but nice if you mixed them in with the pie.
The sausage rolls are a bit bigger than a deck of cards and feature loose sausage corralled by buttery, wonderfully flaky puff pastry. If you don’t fall in love with this sausage roll and head over to the bakery to procure more to be eaten later, I’d be shocked. Chips — “fries” to us Yankees — are skin-on and sturdy.
There’s jam for the scone if you want it, and it comes served with a generous portion of melon and grapes, plus a little ramekin of clotted cream. The scone was neither overly sweet nor overly crumbly.
The half-size Caesar was, again, generous, with a lemon-forward dressing and a heap of Parmesan flakes.
Service is casual, but there’s always someone around if you need something. If you’ve got extra time, you’re going to want to spend it in the bakery and shop.
There you’ll be greeted by a case of treats — from Victoria sponge and custard tarts to meat pies, pasties and those amazing sausage rolls — alongside a grip of imported food. I’m talking anything you have ever read about in a book that took place in London, anything you have ever seen on GBBO, or anything you have seen in a movie. There’s Horlicks, golden syrup, HP sauce, curry packets, licorice allsorts, Crunchy bars, Maltesers, Ben Shaws Dandelion and Burdock soda, Lucozade energy drinks and, whew, so much more.
You can also get just about anything to host your own tea party, from actual tea to pots, cozies, tea rests and three-tiered cake stands.
The entire experience is delightful — the most trouble I had was trying to not constantly imitate Paul Hollywood as my friend and I enjoyed lunch and perused the shop. The sausage roll for breakfast alongside my usual cup of tea was nice, too.
British Pantry: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Tuesday; 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Wednesday-Sunday; 8125 161st Ave. N.E., Redmond; 425-883-7511, thebritishpantryltd.com