Sunday, 21 December 2014

The Afternoon Tea Club Reviews: Tea 42, Manchester

A few months ago we visited the newest addition to Manchester's afternoon tea scene, Tea 42. Find out what we thought below!

Stand

Everything about Tea 42 is pretty. From its shining light bulb sign, to its white leather chairs, this place is every girl's dream. 

Upon arrival, our first reaction was that it was quite similar to Hey Little Cupcake in Spinningfields - only much bigger and glitzier. Perfect for a girly champagne afternoon tea and catch up.


Scones
Food wise, the menu was simple, yet  well executed and whilst I missed the traditional finger sandwiches, it was nice to try something a bit different with the ham and cheese mini rolls and bagels.

A definite highlight of the stand however, was the traditional pink and yellow battenberg which provided a delightful childhood throwback, wrapped in a lovely layer of marzipan and served with the cake selection. The macaroon was also excellent.

However, in spite of the other cake triumphs, I must admit that I was slightly disappointed by the pot of raspberry cream which featured alongside, as cream isn't something that I'd typically eat by itself. However, if it's your thing, then you'll be in for a treat!



All in all, Tea 42 offers a very pleasant environment and I'd recommend it to anyone thinking of venturing out for a girl's afternoon!

For more information and prices, please visit http://www.tea42restaurants.com/

Have you ever visited Tea 42? Let us know what you thought in the comments below!

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Charlotte in the City: Afternoon Tea at The Dorchester, London

A few weeks ago, our lovely Lady in London visited the Dorchester Hotel to sample their award winning Afternoon Tea. Find out what she thought here:

Two Tiers
It’s winter, the season of hot drinks and comfort food, and what better place to satisfy such requirements than in The Dorchester hotel’s Promenade. On London’s five-star studded Park Lane, it’s a long, elegant venue that draws an international crowd. 

The lounge furniture is portly and positioned at just the right height for the table laid with pretty crockery and silverware. Large doughy scatter cushions make it even more comfortable to sit back and listen to the live piano accompaniment in between bites.

Sandwiches

Service (other than being provided during my visit by two waiters, the first noticeably less sociable and cheery than the second) is superb, with handbags awarded their own perches. The sandwiches with fillings of smoked salmon, cheese and mango chutney, egg, chicken and thinly sliced cucumber, are a tasty warm-up to the scones, and are topped-up until you’re full-up.


Especially mixed for the hotel, The Dorchester’s tea blends include a perfumed Earl Grey that brings together Sri Lankan Ceylon, Indian Assam and Taiwanese Formosa Oolong. There’s also a choice of  black and caffeine free.

Cake Treats
Some slightly wonky, the tiered cake stand is weighed down with homemade scones, served with clotted cream and jam, and crowned with cakes and pastries. The attention to detail is uniform, from the honeyed glaze on top of each scone through to the delicate gold flakes that ensure the sweets have extra dazzle. If you don’t manage to finish it all you can take a cake box home for later.

Served six times a day from 1pm, the theatre of Afternoon Tea continues up to a balcony that overlooks the marble pillared Promenade. If you’d like only a little bit of what you love, The Spatisserie, a softly-lit feminine space in the hotel’s spa, serves a slightly more guilt-free tea - notice the macaroons are ever so slightly more dainty than those served elsewhere. Attire is a little more informal as guests may be in robes, but it’s still an occasion entirely appropriate for champagne.

For more information and current prices, please visit dorchestercollection.com


Charlotte Vowden is a travel & lifestyle journalist who is as happy in the mountains as she is sipping champagne and eating cake. Writing for The Sunday Times keeps her busy but she’s always looking for her next adventure or afternoon tea destination.
Twitter: @charlottevowden

Charlotte was provided with a complementary meal for review purposes, however all opinions are her own!

Friday, 5 December 2014

The Afternoon Tea Club's Top 10 Festive Teas

If you can’t indulge at Christmas, when can you? Grab a cuppa and get into the Christmas spirit with our picks of some of the best festive Afternoon Teas from around the UK.

The Wellbeing Farm, Bolton

The Wellbeing Farm Festive Tea

Having visited this gorgeous tea room a few months back we were really excited to see what its Christmas tea offering would be – we were not disappointed! From mini Christmas puds to shortbread stars, this tea crams all of the best things about the festive period onto one tea stand. 
Price: £15.95pp.

Conrad London St James, London

Snow Scene Afternoon Tea

This Snow Scene Afternoon Tea comes housed in one of our favourite tea presentation stands and equipped with edible snow. With snowflake macaroons, mini meringue snowman and free-flowing Laurent-Perrier Champagne, this tea is sure to get you into the Christmas spirit. 
Price: £37pp.

Corinthia Hotel, London

Festivi-Tea

Aptly named the Festivi-Tea, indulge in a selection of classic festive fancies and all important savouries such as roast turkey and stuffing with fresh cranberry compote finger sandwiches. Top this off with a well-deserved glass of champagne. 
Price: £55pp.
More Info: www.corinthia.com

Oxo Tower, London

Festive Not Afternoon Tea

For something a little more contemporary, why not go for the Festive Not Afternoon Tea? Including a mulled wine taster on arrival, this festive NON-Afternoon Tea will have you feeling merry with mincemeat strudel and of course a good old Christmas pudding. 
Price: £38.50pp.

Four Seasons, London

Four Season Festivities

Packed with the usual components but with added Yuletide twists, this tea adds some extra special courses with Spiced Mandarin Whipped Ganache, Crumble and Milk Chocolate Sauce and Chestnut and Stilton Tart with Tea Soaked Raisin Syrup. There’s also a fabulous veggie option too! 
Price: £53pp.
More Info: www.fourseasons.com

Lanes of London, London

Lanes of London Gingerbread House

Getting into the Christmas spirit with free-flowing Moet and Chandon Brut champagne, this tea has undergone a fully festive makeover with a gingerbread house, coffee and mascarpone yule log and warm eggnog with spiced foam. 
Price: £23pp.

Great John Street, Manchester

Classic Great John Street Afternoon Tea

As one of our favourite Manchester Afternoon Tea venues, we highly recommend taking an hour or two to relax in the luxury surroundings and sample this merry menu filled with Bailey's cheesecake, orange and cranberry frangipane and chocolate and ginger mousse, topped with a glass of mulled wine. Price: £28.50pp.

Radisson Blu Edwardian, Manchester

Christmas Carol Afternoon Tea

What’s Christmas without a few carols? Enjoy a festive Afternoon Tea in the cosy setting of the Opus One Restaurant joined by carol singers at selected dates throughout the festive period. Choose between the traditional or a gentleman’s tea menu – trust us, they’re both fantastic! 
Price: £18.95pp.

The London Carriage Works, Liverpool

London Carriage Works Tea/

Starting with a Merry Berry Bellini, this Fabulously Festive Afternoon Tea, comes with Xmas must haves including; turkey and Christmas spiced chutney, mince pies with brandy butter and chocolate yule log. 
Price: £19.50pp.

Bettys Christmas Teatime Gift Selection, Bettys York

Bettys Festive Tea at Home

Perhaps you fancy Afternoon Tea whilst cosying up to your own fire. Why not grab yourself a Bettys gift set and bring one of the UK’s best tea rooms home for a relaxing Christmas Eve treat? This gift set includes a Bettys’ cake tin, Christmas fruit cake, spiced Christmas shortbread and 80 Tea Room Blend Tea bags. 
Price: £25


Been for a festive tea? Tweet us your pics and let us know your faves at @TeacupReview #FestiveTea


Tuesday, 2 December 2014

The Afternoon Tea Club's Top Tips for Afternoon Tea Success!

As experts in the finger sandwiches and cake department, we often get asked what some of our favourite components are for the perfect Afternoon Tea. So we thought it would be a good idea to give you a little run down of some of our top picks for a successful tea.

It starts with a simple sandwich ... 

Savoury selection at IC Westminster.

Every successful afternoon tea starts with a good range of sandwiches. A simple ham sandwich on plain white bread is fine but this is Afternoon Tea – it needs some pizazz! A nice range of breads makes a world of difference, as do fillings with a slight twist in spread or presentation. We see this more and more often these days but a good addition to a savoury palette is a mini smoked salmon bagel with cream cheese – a traditional filling but the bagel gives it a bit of added cool.

Top tip! For extra points, a completely different form of savoury miniature is always a good option to go with. Think a homemade sausage roll or pie.

What goes first - jam or cream?

Rosewater Bakery - Rosewater scones.

You can’t have afternoon tea without scones – well you can, but you best have a good replacement! A great way to make such a standard component that little bit special is to have a signature flavour. We have come across fantastic rosewater scones and apple flavours on our travels. These subtle flavours just give this staple an extra kick and can really add to a running theme that’s identifiable with a particular venue.

Top tip! If scones are a little too conventional, strawberry shortcake makes a worthy substitute.

Macarooning magic. 

Colourful Macaroons at Manchester House.

Some people can take them or leave them, we’re fans but there has to be a point to them be that an interesting colour theme or unusual flavour. Macaroons that surprise you with their flavour work really well, like a chocolate style one that’s actually filled with blackcurrant flavour – yum!

Top tip! Mix things up, offer a choice of a couple of flavours depending on the size of the tea.

Keeping up with the classics.


Not that you could mistake a classic Bettys tea.

Whilst it’s good to be quirky it’s important not to ignore the basics. These things are classics for a reason. A good slice of victoria sponge or lemon drizzle never goes a miss and is quite often more popular than a fussy three layer cake.

Top tip! Adding a caramel swirl or a hotel signature brand on top can give what would appear to be a boring old victoria sponge, just a little sparkle.

Afternoon ... what was that last bit again?


Proper timed tea at Crewe Hall.

You would not believe the amount of tearooms we visit that neglect the importance of the tea part of Afternoon Tea. A choice of tea goes a long way in our books, even if we do often go for a simple old earl grey but this is where venues can really get creative and often miss the opportunity.

Top tip! Get creative with names and presentation. The irresistible aroma from an assortment of tea can really set the mood and make for a much more interactive event.  

Feast your eyes. 


Afternoon Tea ... in a greenhouse at IC Westminster.

Of course a tea has got to taste good but we eat with our eyes first and presentation is so important for making a good tea. There’s no one size fits all, whether its all matchy, matchy or a bit hotchpotch, Afternoon Tea should have a style that makes you go wow.

Top tip! From cute glasses for a mousse to a miniature greenhouse, Afternoon Tea should be something to remember and cool accents like this can really set a tea apart.


So there’s just a few things that in our humble opinion, make for a pretty perfect Afternoon Tea. What about you - What are some of your essential components? Tweet us @TeacupReview #EssentialAfternoonTea.

Thursday, 6 November 2014

The Afternoon Tea Club Reviews: Patisserie Valerie, Metquarter Liverpool


As much as we would like to, we don’t in fact indulge in Afternoon Tea every single day – we know, shock! So last month we were invited by the lovely people at Metquarter Liverpool to sample a brand new menu at one of our old favourite’s, Patisserie Valerie.

Winter warmer mocha.
Now if you’ve ever walked past this wonderful shop on the high street, you will already be well aware of the gorgeous cakes, pastries and treats that Patisserie Valerie offers in it’s gloriously tooth-ache inducing window. But this time we were there to try something a little different, the new set Winter menu.

First course - Soup of the day.
Choose from a selection of Winter warmer dishes in the cosy surroundings of this café and you’ve got a nice little afternoon indeed.

We went for soup of the day which was a delicious tomato flavour with a nice chunk of toasted bread. Other options included meatballs and goats cheese tartine.

Main course - Confit of duck.
For our second course we choose confit of duck served with potato, swede and carrot mash – delicious, and asparagus and peas shaped Girasole Ravioli – another tasty and filling dish.

Main course - Asparagus & Peas Shaped Girasole Ravioli
Diners can choose from either a 2 course or 3 course meal. Desserts on the menu include crème Brûlée, apple cranberry and almond crumble, chocolate fondant or a slice of Valerie’s gateaux.

We opted to go off menu and went for delicious waffles complete with a big dollop of vanilla ice cream – a complete classic but such a goodie.

Classic waffle.


All of this was topped off by a chocolaty mocha and a good cup of tea.

The menu is currently available throughout the Winter season at participating Patisserie Valerie outlets with prices starting at just £9.99pp. 

DISCLAIMER: As is common in the catering and leisure industry, we were provided with complimentary services for review purposes. Whilst this has not influenced our review, we believe in the full disclosure of all potential conflicts of interest.