Mary’s English Kitchen: A merry olde spot on Ivanhoe Ave. in La Jolla


Big English breakfasts and hot toasted crumpets; fresh fish and chips and stuffed chicken pie; afternoon tea with finger sandwiches and homemade pastries; strawberry jam with thick, clotted cream — these are just a few of the tasty treats awaiting visitors to Mary’s English Kitchen in La Jolla.

Owner Alison Brown opened the cafe as a tribute to her mother Mary Brown’s cooking and recipes. Mary’s home in Exmouth, England was a neighborhood favorite.

When Alison’s parents visited her in La Jolla years ago, Mary brought her recipes with her. Mary passed away in 1998, but these days, Alison loves sharing her mother’s cooking and recipes at the cafe, which seats about 48 people indoors and out.

The cafe decor is a blend of old teashop sofas and a chandelier, with a modern spin of California casual featuring comfortable chairs to read in and Union Jack posters.

“People love coming to our high teas for the joy of sampling so many different flavors,” Brown said.

High tea is served on a beautiful bone china tiered service, and visitors sip from Mary’s original mismatched English bone china crockery. Diners start on the bottom of the tiered plate with a selection of bite-sized finger sandwiches (beef and horseradish, smoked salmon and cream cheese, ham and mustard, cream cheese and cucumber and strong English cheddar with pickle chutney).

From there, diners sample bite-sized quiche — Spinach with feta cheese, and Lorraine with ham and cheese. Then there’s the fresh pastry sausage roll and two mini scones (plain and raisin) served with strawberry jam and clotted cream.

The tray’s top tier displays an array of jam tarts, chocolate bites, a bit of lemon drizzle pastry and Victoria sponge cake. A hot pot of English loose tea is included.

Open less than a year, Mary’s English Kitchen is fast becoming a local tradition, and Alison will soon be sharing her mother’s cooking by offering her packaged recipes in the cafe and online. In June, her scone recipe will be available, followed by her jam and chutney recipes.

On Easter Sunday, Mary’s will offer a roast lamb dinner with roast potatoes, parsnips, vegetables and dessert.

Mary’s English Kitchen is available for special events, including bridal and baby showers, seminars, conferences.

On Saturday night, the cafe converts to Chef Rasta’s Caribbean fusion theme with a steel pan musician and island specialties. Fixed price. Reservations required.

• Mary’s English Kitchen

• 7918 Ivanhoe Ave., La Jolla

• Hours (as of March 1, 2015): 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday; 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Evenings with Chef Rasta run 6-11 p.m. Saturday

• (858) 263-4614

— The Business Spotlight features commercial enterprises that support the La Jolla Light.