The food at Mary's English Kitchen is just like mother used to make
Published - 06/06/14 - 01:43 PM | 4032 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Alison Brown traded Britain's cloudier climes for La Jolla's sun. PHOTO BY DAVE SCHWAB
Alison Brown traded Britain's cloudier climes for La Jolla's sun. PHOTO BY DAVE SCHWAB
In the 1960s came the British Invasion, with the Beatles and rock 'n' roll conquering the U.S. mainland.

Fifty years later, a new British import — Mary’s English Kitchen — arrived in April, taking the Jewel by storm, overwhelming locals with Anglo cuisine and culture.

“It’s a slice of Great Britain,” noted proprietor and native Brit Alison Brown of her homegrown menu, borrowed in large measure from her late mother, Mary Brown.

A La Jolla resident for a decade who returned to England but couldn’t stay away, Brown said, “My dream really was to come back and bring my mom’s recipe book and open up a café where people could come and have traditional, home-cooked food. We wanted to give tourists a good time, a nice experience, bring something from home over here.”

Brown has succeeded in making Mary’s, at 7918 Ivanhoe Ave., “as English as possible,” in part by employing relations so that “somebody from the family would be here to serve the customers.”

Mary’s features classic British entrees, everything from bangers and mash to toad in the hole. Breakfast headlines the menu, starting off with crumpets and finishing with a full English breakfast.

Alison said her eatery pays homage to her mom, whom she said was always “baking and making jams and chutney.”

“I have so many fond memories of friends coming 'round and loving her food,” Brown said, adding, “I thought it would be a fantastic tribute to her and everything she put into it to open a café in her name."

Brown said her English-style chicken pies can’t be topped, nor can her fresh soups made daily or her quiche Lorraine.

There’s a new tea party in La Jolla, but it has nothing to do with partisan politics. Afternoon tea is served promptly at 2 p.m. at Mary’s, with a white tablecloth and fancy china along with a pot of tea, finger sandwiches, scones with clotted cream and assorted homemade cakes and pastries.

In Britain, tea’s more than a meal: It’s an experience.

“In England, everybody drinks tea all the time,” said Brown, noting Brits stop at 4 p.m. for high tea. She said it “helps them get through until the evening meal.”

Brown said Mary’s is also open for hosting parties and special occasions.

“We do dining inside and outdoor parties — baby showers, weddings, tea parties, birthday parties for little girls, et cetera,” she said.

Brown that added Mary’s is also up for doing company lunches.

“We’ve done board meetings taking up scones,” she said. “It’s a bit of a different twist, something new and fresh in La Jolla.”

The restaurant and tearoom also sells imported teas and homemade jams as well as unique china, such as extra-large cups.

Mary's English Kitchen is open 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day.

For more information, call (858) 263-4614 or visit

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