Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Cake Break: FM Caffe, Widnes


What we have here ladies and gents is a photo of a half eaten brownie.
And the reason it's half eaten is because these brownies are so addictively good that I rushed in to eat it before sitting back to take a photo.
 
Back on point, FM Caffe is without a doubt my little home from home. It's my oasis where I can just sit, use my laptop, read Celebs magazine or just indulge in brownie goodness.
The welcome is warm and personal and the decor makes you feel as though you've just stepped off a plane into a wonderful Spanish cafe - the music certainly helps too!
 
If you feel like having a 'treat day' (or what I'd pretty much call: any day that ends in 'y' that has a spare hour) FM cook the best 'Make Your Own' breakfasts I've ever had. Nothing is too much trouble.
 
If you're looking for somewhere with attentive staff, great food, oh and really lovely coffee (especially the cappuccinos!) then FM is just perfect. I'll see you in there no doubt!
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Monday, 12 November 2012

Cake Break: Rhode Island Coffee, Warrington


I had always walked past Rhode Island Coffee nestled away in a corner outside Warrington's bustling Golden Square, but recently I decided to pop in for a quick cup of coffee.
 
Of course I can't have a coffee without a brownie so I indulged in what turned out to be a very yummy chocolate snack.
The coffee was good and reasonably priced with my drink and cake costing around £4.
 
The music was relaxing, if a little dated but what was your typical easy-listening playlist helped to create a comfortable environment.
The decor was warm and cosy with plenty of seating and an outdoor courtyard for drinks in the sun ... Suffice to say I sat indoors!
The only thing I'd point out is that a lot of the tables were left unattended for quite some time and it took a while for used cups to be moved.
 
Apart from that it made for a pleasant pit stop during my particularly unsuccessful Christmas shopping trip! Wish me luck next time!
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Sunday, 28 October 2012

Coffee Break: Waffles in Belgium


There's a lovely little coffee shop in Brugge which sells the most delicious waffles, the only problem is that it doesn't have a name... All I can say is that it's located just around the corner from mini water in the centre of Brugge and always has a display of freshly made waffles (complete with chocolate sauce, bananas, strawberries and cream) outside the door to entice you in. I'm sure you'll know it when you see it... So if you're ever in Belgium keep your eyes peeled for the waffles!

(Caroline)

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Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Coffee Break: De Proeverie, Brugge

De Proeverie has to be one of the lovleiest tea rooms I've ever visited - and it's not even  British...

 

Situated in the pretty Belgian town of Brugge and offering a good selection of traditional English and Belgian fare, De Proeverie is a continental gem. From the moment you walk through its lovely green doors until the moment you leave, the charm of this tea room is apparent, not only because of its warm and welcoming atmosphere, but also because it's bursting at the seams with locals and tourists alike. 

Hot Chocolate

This wide-spread popularity is testimony to their staff's service and product quality, which in my opinion is second to none. My personal favourite is their hot chocolate, which is served as a do-it-yourself delight, with a cup of hot milk and a dish of melted chocolate to stirr in. The attention to detail here is wonderful and every coffee is accompanied by a plate of chocolates and cream - yummy!


People say that it's the little things that make the difference and it really is.

- If you're ever in Brugge, pay them a visit - you won't regret it!

Check out their website Here

(Caroline)

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Friday, 5 October 2012

The Afternoon Tea Club Reviews Fresco Freddo

This week, despite the autumn chill, we decided to take a trip to Fresco Freddo's, Manchester's brand new gelato house for a cool twist on dessert.


Environment

Laura: I find pretty things in pastel colours hard to resist at the best of times but when they're paired with waffles, pancakes and coffee - it's pretty much a given I'm going to indulge. The space is very cute and simple with a small bench area for customers to sit inside if they wish. Cool modern dining with optional al fresco seating too - just remember to bring your coat!

Caroline: It's only small, but Fresco Freddo's cafe is the ideal space to enjoy a coffee and gelato on a warm summer's (or cold winter's) evening. Their smart and simple benches, offer a sleek practicality, whilst their choice of music provides a comfortable informality which is pretty much everything you can ask of a shop like this!


Food 

Laura: We've been here twice already so it's safe to say we're fans. I tried the cookie dough gelato on ourfirst visit and had a fabulous banana and nutella crepe on the second occassion. Those lovely warm crepes have certainly got me looking forward to Christmas!


Caroline: We love this place, we really do - everything is just so yummy. The first time we went, I tried their Strawberry and Chocolate gelato which was molto delizioso, and the second I opted for waffles. Freddo's gelato is seriously the best that I've had outside of Italy and their waffles, well what can I say? They're amazing - I'm off to Belgium soon so I'll let you know how they fare!



Service

Laura: Lovely staff - stamped my loyalty card for just a cup of coffee which was very much appreciated. Polite, helpful and friendly.

Caroline: The service is great, very friendly and accommodating staff. Also the addition of table service for in door diners is an unexpected but very welcome plus!


Overall Thoughts

Laura: Extra points should be awarded for the lovely member of staff on our first visit who gave me a free slice of wonderful orange cake with my cup of coffee. I think we've found our new hangout!

Caroline: I can't wait to go back here and enjoy some more of their delicious gelato - If you're in the Oxford Road area of Manchester, pay them a visit!

Cupcake Rating:



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Saturday, 1 September 2012

Coffee Break: Stringers, Lytham



Oh I do like to be beside the sea-side, oh I do like to be beside the sea...

Just a few short miles away from Blackpool, the pretty town of Lytham and St. Annes offers visitors a wealth of delightful eateries for their delectation. Whenever visiting, I always try to sample somewhere different and on this occasion it was the turn of Stringers department store. Since my last visit to the store, their coffee shop has undergone a substantial refit and downscale - changes which I was initially very scpetical about. However, after visiting, I can confirm that these changes have not been of detriment to the overall ambiance of the cafe and that the food is just as nice as ever. My only criticism is that you now have to walk through the men's clothing department to access the cafe, which is a minus point off their previous design.

On this occasion, I decided upon a Bakewell Slice and Americano, both of which were very good and well priced.

If you're on your way to the lights this month and want a coffee and a cake before hand, pay a visit to Lytham, you won't regret it!

(Caroline)

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Sunday, 26 August 2012

Coffee Break: Coffee Cali, Hebden Bridge



In the Hebden Bridge area and fancy a coffee? Check out Coffee Cali...

Small in size, but offering an excellent selection of freshly prepared food, Coffee Cali is at the heart of Hebden Bridge, providing the town with their daily coffee needs - and also some very hungry ducks, who like to join in if you dine al fresco!

Look out for their coffee with a musical twist - Well worth a visit if you're in the area!

(Caroline)

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Thursday, 23 August 2012

Cake Break: Il Cappuccio, Widnes




Searching for a good place for lunch after a busy morning atmy local newspaper, I hopped out of the rain into this lovely coffee shop, IlCappuccio. The café is a lovely mix of modern, traditional and Italian withleather interiors, cute tea sets and countless types of hot beverages.
To warm my rain soaked self, I ordered cream of tomato soupand a latte. I was pleasantly surprised with the extra effort that went withthis simple dish which was wonderfully presented with a sprinkling of herbs anda warm crusty roll. Delish!

My cake-less coffee shop lunch cost just under £5. IlCappuccio isn’t really about the cake – just good surroundings, good coffeeand yummy food.
(Laura)
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Sunday, 19 August 2012

The Great British Afternoon Tea

There's nothing more British than a good-old-fashioned afternoon tea and since we at ATC have something of a penchant for the pastime, we couldn't let a week of national celebration go by without doing something special to mark it. So in the true spirit of the occasion, we've gone off in search of your favourite post-noon treats, seeking out the help of our lovely twitter friends along the way. Here are a few of our favourites...


1.
Afternoon Tea at Lands End



This delicious looking cream tea was taken by @lindaloves2012 at Lands End. We're not sure which tea room it's originated from, but coming from the home of the cream tea - cornwall - we're betting that it was truely scrumptious. The clotted cream in particular looks amazing. Certainly one to look out for if you're ever in the area!


2.
Eilis and Kat's Afternoon Tea.



You don't have to travel far for a yummy afternoon tea if you've got the right ingredients at home. Check out these creative cakey treats submitted by @goodgobbleblog who spent an afternoon with two little helpers, making banana and chocolate sour cream cake. Check out their blog for the recipe -we're thinking of giving it a go too!

GOODGOBBLE BLOG

3. "High Tea" at Hilton Deansgate, Manchester

This fancy little afternoon treat was submitted by @cakesbysian from her visit to Cloud 23 at the Hilton Deansgate.
Their special “High Teas” are served between noon and 4 pm daily and serve up some of the best tea – and views – the city has to offer.
For £16.95 you can treat yourself to a selection of fingersandwiches, scones and a choice of cakes from eclairs to Victoria sponge plusunlimited tea or coffee. If you’re feeling fancy, make it a champagne afternoonfor an extra £10.
Hilton’s Cloud 23 is the epitome of modern, city chic décor.Mesh seats, high tables and even a private lift to get you there, it reallydoes make you feel on top of the world.
WEBSITE


4. Bistro 1847, Manchester


@VintageMCR recommended an afternoon at Manchester's only vegetarian bistro. Looking at the yummy photos on their website - their afternoon tea might be worth turning veggie for the afternoon!


Below is a photo from @VintageMCR's visit to the Bistro. Check out their review HERE


BISTRO 1847 WEBSITE


5. The Ash Tea Rooms, Reddish



This elegant afternoon tea was tweeted by @ChattyMand from her visit to this quaint tea room in Stockport. Beautifully presented and those freshly baked scones look absolutely delicious. We're adding this one to our cake bucket list!

WEBSITE


MENU
We don't know about you, but all this talk of tea and cake has got us feeling everso slightly peckish, so we're off out to find ourselves some early-evening-afternoon-tea...
We'll be back soon with some more reviews from our travels, but in the meantime, if you have any comments or pictures that you'd like to share with us, then send them to theafternoonteaclub@hotmail.co.uk or drop us a tweet @TeacupReview.

Happy National Afternoon Tea Week Everyone!


- Laura and Caroline


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Thursday, 16 August 2012

Coffee Break: Minstrels Gallery, Hawkshead

My personal favourite... Victoria Sandwich!

If you like traditional surroundings and a peaceful ambiance, then Minstrels Gallery in Hawkshead is the place for you. With only four tables and a cabinet of Royal memorabilia, this coffee shop is cosy, intimate and perfect for a quiet afternoon. What’s more, all of their cakes are deliciously home made and very reasonably priced, with their range including everything from carrot cake to Devil’s food cake and much, much more.

Check out their website at: http://hawksheadfineteas.co.uk/Minstrels-Gallery.php

(Caroline)
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Coffee Break: Apple Charlottes, Arndale Market, Manchester


In a world where having to splash out over £2 for a fancy cupcake has become pretty much the norm, you come to not really expect much from one that costs less.

But Apple Charlottes does just the opposite and for only £1 you can treat youself to a few of their fabulous different flavours!

The bakery on Manchester's Arndale Market offers a vast selection of cupcakes, brownies and muffins. My favourites have got to be the vanilla and chocolate orange flavours. Beautifully frosted with buttercream and glitter - and they really do taste as good as they look! Soft, creamy and the perfect amount of fluffiness - I could eat these cakes forever but unfortunately I enjoy being able to fit through my front door.

Just delightful.

(Laura)

P.s Head over to Manchester Arndale's website and download yourself their summer deals booklet where you'll find a voucher for a free Apple Charlottes' cupcake! (T&Cs apply) Manchester Arndale Voucher Booklet 
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Tuesday, 14 August 2012

National Afternoon Tea Week


Yesterday marked the start of National Afternoon Tea week and with us being everso slightly partial to a bit of tea and cake, we got very excited at the prospect of a whole week dedicated to our favourite pastime!

So what is National Afternoon Tea Week?


In their press release afternoontea.co.uk said this...

NATIONAL AFTERNOON TEA WEEK - BRITAIN CELEBRATES A GREAT TRADITION

It has been a year of celebrations with the Diamond Jubilee and Team GB success at the Olympics igniting a renewed sense of patriotism. The celebrations continue during National Afternoon Tea Week from 13th to 19th August.

Keith Newton, Managing Director of AfternoonTea.co.uk says "Afternoon Tea is more popular than ever and bookings through the AfternoonTea.co.uk website are up by over 25% on the same time last year".

"National Afternoon Tea Week is our way of celebrating a great British tradition. We want to encourage more people to try it for the first time and have negotiated some fabulous discounts during August"

Over 30 venues in London and across the UK are offering 25% off Afternoon Tea, including 5-star Brown's Hotel in Mayfair, famous as the inspiration for Agatha Christie's ‘At Bertram's Hotel'.

Afternoon Tea is also very child friendly and makes a great family treat during the summer holidays. Some hotels even offer special children's menus at a fraction of the adult price.

Keith Newton added that "Afternoon Tea seems to be recession proof. It's a special treat, an occasional indulgence. You can get Afternoon Tea from just £10 in central London and our customers like the fact that it's a fixed price, with no surprises."

National Afternoon Tea Week run from 13th to 19th August, with exclusive offers and discounts available throughout August at www.afternoontea.co.uk.


Are you as excited as we are?


At the Afternoon Tea Club HQ we like to celebrate things, so to mark this exciting tea-filled week, we want to hand the reviewing power over to you, by featuring YOUR afternoon teas. Be they a cake and coffee at Starbucks, or a full blown finger sandwich fest at the Ritz, we want to see where you're going and what you've been eating.

To get involved all you need to do is tweet or email us your pictures along with a few words about where they're from to theafternoonteaclub@hotmail.co.uk

We can't wait to see what yummy treats you have in store for us!

Lots of Love

Laura and Caroline
(The Afternoon Tea Club)

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Thursday, 28 June 2012

The Afternoon Tea Club Reviews: Moose Coffee, Liverpool



Environment

Caroline:
Simple but chic are the words which I'd use to describe the environment at Moose Coffee. Complete with leather chairs and wooden moose head above the door, this cafe mixes modern and traditional influences (including an old cash register and giant moose Elizabethan portraits) to create a comfortable space, perfect for spending a relaxing afternoon in.



Laura: A modern space of simplicity but fused with quirks such as the giant wall hangings and elegant low lit lamps. The neutral colour palette adds to the city chic character of the eatery and really, where else are you going to enjoy pancakes with a supersized picture of an astronaut moose hanging over your head?



Food

Caroline:
What can I say about the food at Moose - In a word Yummy!
The portion sizes here are exceptional and the food quality is brilliant. For my lunch I opted for one of their cheese and ham toasted sandwiches and was pleasantly surprised when it arrived complete with potato salad and green leaf garnish (which included a balsamic dressing) - always a much appreciated addition. For dessert I chose their waffles with ice cream which were Ah-Mazing. I've always loved waffles and have them every day when I'm in Belgium, but I've got to say that these we're some of the best waffles I've ever had, so much so that I need to go back to Moose asap to taste them again!



Laura: Waffles are my sweet tooth's latest addiction and oh my, did Moose not help to cure me of this problem. They offer some of the best waffles I have ever had on their particularly American menu. And trust me, I've had a lot. For just over £4 you get 2 large waffles with a side of ice cream and maple syrup to top it off. Simply gorgeous, waffley goodness. Waffles, waffles, waffles ... Oh yeah, did I mention I like waffles?


Service:

Caroline: The service at Moose was great - no complaints here - excellent!

Laura: The staff were extremely polite and friendly. Our food was brought to us promptly and with wonderful presentation. High five!

Bold

Overall Thoughts

Caroline: As I said before I NEED to go back this place as soon as possible, if not just for the waffles, for the lovely surroundings as well. Someone take me to Liverpool again please?

Laura: If this waffle addiction is anything to go by, I've probably already been back to Moose before this review is even published. Cool, sophistocated surroundings and yummy waffles. What more could you want?!

Cupcake Rating:


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Thursday, 10 May 2012

The Afternoon Tea Club Reviews: Central Perk, Liverpool



Environment


Laura: Could we BEEE anymore excited to be visiting Central Perk?! Smelly Cat mugs, chalk boards with New York themed beverages, neon signs and of course, the famous orange sofa - Central Perk has most definitely landed in Liverpool. Replicas of various props and furnishings housed amongst the brickwork interior, create this miniature snapshot of our favourite fictional coffee shop. It is very small and there aren't many seats which, given how busy it was for a Thursday afternoon, could become a bit of a problem. But it's what most of us have dreamed of for the majority of our teenage years, so it's hard to complain!


Caroline: It's Central Perk Baby - the home of New York Cheesecake, filter coffee and FRIENDS. An almost perfect replica of the iconic television set, Central Perk Liverpool is perhaps one of the most exciting places in the UK at the moment, and is an absolute 'must' if you're in the Liverpool area. Equipped with facsimile furniture and it's very own Gunther, this tea shop has a host of Friends memorabilia, including a signed script and stylised wall prints, encapsulating teenage dreams and bringing them to life. Size-wise, as Laura said, it's very small and perhaps a little cramped, which although a compliment their instant success, make the place feel slightly hectic, but this aside, it really is an excellent environment to spend an afternoon in.


Food

Laura:
The menu boasts coffee shop favourites that have appeared in the show and also a huge range of imported American snacks and beverages. I chose a slice of caramel cheesecake, which I was overjoyed to realise came topped with my current favourite chocolates - Caramel Nibbles! I also took advantage of their range of speciality American drinks and chose Pepsi Cherry - Yum! The cake was just gorgeous, really creamy and plenty of hidden chocolates in the middle. I cannot wait to go get another.

I felt the prices at Central Perk were very reasonable. A large slice of cake and a drink cost under £4, which is less than my usual Starbucks order. I was very impressed!


Caroline:
When I walked in and saw their selection of treats, I got quite excited. Their menu includes everything from Cupcakes to Cheesecake, also offering a good selection of All-American sweet treats, such as fluff and Hershey's bars, which looked particularly yummy. Similarly their selection of drinks is also of American influence with selections including minute maid. Entering into the full spirit of the Cafe's American-ness, I decided to try a slice of their Victoria Sandwich(!) which although not strictly American (well not American at all) was really very nice. The sponge was moist and the cream was fresh - exactly the way it should be! To drink I had a can of Minute Maid Lemonade and a Latte, both of which were very nice, especially the latte! (they really know how to make coffee at Central Perk, which is very commendable considering its newness)

Price-wise it's very much like any other coffee shop in the area with my total bill coming in at £6.25, which I thought very reasonable, especially when considering the lovely surroundings!


Service

Laura:
The service was great with very friendly staff who were more than happy to make suggestions and explain cake options. Particular applause should go to the gentleman serving our table who was extra pleasant and seemed keen to jump in on our photographs! I can't compliment the staff enough for their hard work as the shop was super busy and showed no signs of getting any quieter - Looks like everyone wants a piece of Central Perk!


Caroline
: I always commend the service at the cafe's we visit, unless particularly unhappy, because I know how hard people work and what a stressful job it can be, but I really must say that the service at Central Perk was excellent. On the whole we were served promptly, with slight problems we had being rectified quickly. Particular kudos must go to the manager (or the man who I presumed to be the manager) who had excellent manner about him, being particularly hospitable and chatty, and really entering into the spirit of the place, which I found to be quite refreshing!


Overall Thoughts:

Laura: I had prepared myself for disappointment on this occassion. Being a Friends fan throughout most of my life I could have only dreamt of spending an afternoon in Central Perk - but Liverpool's mini version, made those dreams a reality! Lovely food, a great atmosphere and an amazing similarity to the real deal. The only real negative point about our experience was the initial finding of the shop. At the moment, there is a lot of building work going on around it, meaning that the lack of exacting directions on the website made it all that more difficult to spot. But, stick a postcode on the site and the problem would be solved! I highly recommend visiting!


Caroline: I really loved this place and if I lived in Liverpool, I could easily see it becoming one of my regular haunts. However, there is a slight grumble (only a little one) and it's this... Location. Due to its slightly off-centre positioning, Central Perk Liverpool is fairly hidden away, because of which I feel it would benefit greatly from having an address on the website - it took us over an hour to find, after walking down alomst every street in the area.
It's only a small thing and can be easily changed, but I feel that if we hadn't been intent upon visiting then we'd have probably given up long before this time, which I fear may happen with other visitors!
Otherwise - Very, very good - Do Visit!


Cupcake Rating:


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Friday, 4 May 2012

The Afternoon Tea Club Reviews: The Footage, Oxford Road, Manchester


Environment

Caroline:
Footage isn't strictly a tea room or coffee shop, it's more of a pub/bar, but being one of our regular haunts, we couldn't resist giving it a sneaky little review. For sentimental reasons I'll always love Footage and for cheap pub grub you can't really go wrong. Environment-wise, Footage possesses a nice atmosphere, with comfy seats and a pool table making it the perfect place to hang if you're a student on a budget, or just a general lover of nice pubs. It's quite dark inside, but this only adds to it's ambiance, although be warned you'll probably be blinded when you step out of the door!

Laura: Oh Footage, the place we frequent when we pretend we're off to the library! It's not your typical cutesy tea room set-up but rather a pub that just happens to serve very nice cake. The converted picture house interior is used to its full potential with balcony seating and a large screen above the bar. Although it is rather dark inside, the blue fairy lights help to create a relaxing pub atmosphere but be careful as you may forget what time it is during your visit and it will evening before you know it and time for cocktails - actually that's not such a bad thing!


Food

Caroline: The food at Footage is very reasonably priced, and you can generally get a whole meal for less that £10. On this visit I opted for a filter coffee (99p) and a piece of their Chocolate Cake and Ice Cream (which I'm sorry to say I can't remember the price of - but it was very cheap!) The Cake, for the price, was very nice and the portion size was exceptional. However, because of the large portions it did become rather sickley after a while - but the beauty of large portions is you don't need to eat it all!



Laura: Don't let the super cheap prices fool you as the desserts at Footage rival some of the much more up-market eateries in the city. I chose a belgian waffle with ice cream and chocolate sauce and dear me, they've become my latest obsession! Absolutely gorgeous and a generous size too. As if that wasn't enough, the desserts are all 2 for the price of 1, meaning coffee and cake for you and a friend will only cost around £5 overall - Bonus!


Service

Caroline: The staff are friendly and service is prompt - exactly what I'd expect - well done!

Laura: The service is always great at Footage. The wait time is always extremely good and the staff are really pleasant.


Overall Thoughts

Caroline:
I love Footage. It's studenty, but super affordable and lacking in pretentions - It does what it says on the can. If you're in the Oxford Road area, pay them a visit!

Laura: Footage has always been a firm favourite of ours and although it may not fall into the sugar coated coffee shop category, its casual and welcoming atmosphere makes it a great place with good food. Plus, as it's so cheap, there's no reason why you shouldn't use the 2 for 1 offer on your own!

Cupcake Rating

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