Saturday, 26 March 2016

Afternoon Teas, Yes Please

I've recently been adding to past indulgences and making the effort to head out for Afternoon Tea or Cream tea at a few different locations, often by myself.  A chance to get away from it all, read a paper or a book and forget about the crapness of other things in life!  it seems like you can't escape Afternoon Tea on voucher websites, but it should be something special and thought through, so here are my favourites of late and past...no vouchers here!  Here are my thoughts.

Apex, Waterloo Place, Edinburgh - all the stars!

Cotton Rake, Glasgow
Cream Tea from £5
Cotton Rake is one of my favourite places, I think, anywhere.  I was introduced to it by a friend in Glasgow, when they used to have a little shop in Partick, which is now closed.  But the Great Western Road branch seems to be doing a roaring trade.  I popped in one lazy weekday afternoon for a delicious, and generously sized scone with whipped vanilla cream a raspberry cream.  The second best thing about this place is the music - that particular day I struggled to vacate the table because the r n' b hits just kept coming!  They don't strictly do Afternoon tea, but they have a a great selection of cakes and pastries, sweets and savouries, to eat in or take out - great tea and coffee too, so why not construct your own!  The Financiers are particularly wonderful.

Cup Tea Lounge, Glasgow
Cream Tea Afternoon Tea from £22
This was a massive disappointment.  I'd read that the original branch was west-end and that filled me with confidence but the city lounge was such a let down. The setting has the potential to be beautiful - set within an original tea-room tile clad interior - it really is stunning.  But the furniture (except for the bar) completely clashes, and that ruins the atmosphere. It's also pricey - but you get your money's worth - the Afternoon Tea comes as three course, with an Amuse-bouche to start, which, quite frankly, tasted like warmed up shop-bought soup, and then a course of savouries followed by a course of sweets.  The concept is nice but it's far too much food to manage, some of the savouries were stale and the sweets wooden tower was actually dusty.  Not very impressed - I won't be returning!

Black Medicine, Edinburgh
Cream Tea £5
This is really just a great cafe and I opted for scones, butter and jam - wonderfully driftwood interior, with lots of nooks to sit away for long afternoons whilst working or reading.  Very cosy, laid back, and friendly.

Afternoon Tea £15
This is the dream.  Simple and really well considered, great service.  Lovely fresh sandwiches, and an eye watering amount of sweet treats - gravity defying marshmallow, fruit tartlets, little profiteroles, fruit scones, carrot cake, fresh raspberries and strawberries, and a pot of warm dipping chocolate on the.  Excellent value for money and a glamorous setting for a special occasion or if you're passing by after a hectic Princes Street shopping marathon.

Forbury Hotel, Reading
Cream Tea £9, Afternoon Tea from £22
I'm a regular here.  Well, maybe regular is a bit strong.  But this place never disappoints.  Wonderful service, and although it's a bit more pricey, there's no rush - great for catching up with pals for a special occasion.  Probably the best fruity scones I've had in a long time!

The Tearoom at Petersham Nurseries, Richmond-upon-Thames
Tea and Cake from £5
Strictly speaking, this place doesn't serve High Tea, but they have a great selection of cakes, tea, and coffee, and who wouldn't want all of those things whilst sat inside the greenest of greenhouses on the banks of the Thames.  Quaint and glorious.

Still to come...

Another visit to Glasgow will take me to The Salon at Blythswood Square Hotel, Glasgow, for a cheeky solo afternoon tea, and I'm off to the Sketch, Soho, in May, with a couple of pals, so watch this space for some further Afternoon Tea action!

Claridges, Mayfair...one day
The Ritz, Mayfair...the next day
Crazy Bear, Beaconsfield...maybe for a birthday
Aqua Shard, up the Shard...for the views

Other Recommended Afternoon Tea's from the past...

Afternoon Tea from £28
This is, hands down, my favourite Afternoon Tea haunt of late.  Tucked away down a quiet Marylebone lane in Marylebone, you can't go wrong.  The unequivocally modern-french decor, together with the personable and friendly service makes this place truly special - whether you're just passing or celebrating.  The well considered and manageable menu is also available Gluten Free - and you wouldn't be able to guess the difference - there's no compromise on quality!

(now sadly closed)
Until it's closure a couple of years ago, the Paramount bar and restaurant at the top of centre point had been an absolute gem of a place to catch up with pals over tea and sweet treats, at a reasonable price.  But the building is being developed and the irony of Centre Point being converted into luxury apartments should not be lost on anyone.

Cream Tea £7, High Tea £15, Champagne High Tea from £45
Serving traditional High Tea, Cream Tea and Champagne options, this is a cosy and well established tea room, but it relies heavily on the tourism generated by the Botanical Gardens, just over the road - it's a bit of a tourist trap these days.

Cream Tea £6.50, Afternoon Tea from £18.50
The setting of this place is fantastic!  Entry to The Wallace Collection is free and Afternoon Tea in the glorious courtyard is a bonus.  Great place for a date or birthday outing.

Cream Tea £9.50, Afternoon Tea from £15.50
This is a modest Afternoon Tea serving but perfect for a break from the shops (or art) if you're passing by!