Dolly’s opened just over a year ago on Church Street in Falmouth and, despite its central location, it still feels like something of a hidden gem. Situated above the Falmouth Bookseller, the doorway at street level gives just a small clue as to the delights in wait. It is only on climbing the staircase that you discover an elegant, airy room, with retro wallpaper and chandelier, china tea sets stacked up in a glass cabinet, and cosy window seats in the large sash windows.
As it was only 3pm when I visited recently, and a weekday to boot, I thought I better stick to the tea room side of things, rather than the wine bar choices. I opted for a teapigs peppermint tea and a slice of homemade chocolate Guinness cake. Everything was beautifully presented – my tea came in a proper teapot, with a vintage tea-cup and saucer, and a mismatched side plate for my (vast) slice of rich, moist cake.
By day, Dolly’s is a peaceful haven above the bustle of Falmouth, offering a lunch menu and decadent cream teas as well as a selection of coffees, teas and cake. By night, it becomes an intimate wine bar, with a carefully chosen of list of tipples and an evening menu of tapas.
I’ve previously had dinner there with friends, and ordering a selection of small dishes to share is ideal for a sociable meal. The only difficulty is choosing from the many mouth-watering options, such as warm crab and lemon crumble with hot French bread, and baked French Camembert with blackberries and port.
There’s also a tempting sounding cocktail list, with delicious names like Flappers’ Delight and The Vicar’s Tea Party. These come served in tea-cups – perfect to sip on genteelly while the pianist tinkles away in the corner or the waitress takes a break from serving to belt out a few tunes on her accordion.
The service is friendly and personal, with Dolly herself usually around for a chat. And the resident Labrador, who is often found ambling around tables making soulful eyes at diners, only adds to the relaxed atmosphere. It feels slightly like visiting the home of a grand, rather eccentric, but very much loved relative. The kind of place that makes you wish you could leave your own humdrum life behind and live always in a place where cocktails are served in pretty china and dogs wear pearls.