Sunday, 28 April 2013

The Afternoon Tea Club Reviews: Fancie, Ecclesall Road, Sheffield

Last week we were invited by the fabulous folk at Fancie Sheffield to sample their latest Afternoon Tea - being the tea lovers that we are, we were only too happy to oblige!

Time for Tea!

Environment 

Laura:
Arriving up the Ecclesall Road strip, there is an eclectic mix of eateries, unique boutique shops and student hangouts. Subtly positioned along this vibrant mix, Fancie’s Canteen and Bakery sits modestly with a white exterior and understated logo but with a fabulous display of cakes that are sure to lure you in.
Once inside, any false impressions of an overload of pink and fluffy are lost and replaced by bare brickwork (one of my favourite things –just ever!), natural wood, mismatched vintage china and gorgeous centre pieces.This is afternoon tea meets Sex And The City power lunch. 

Cakey Treats

Our table was already set with floral teacups and seal-top jars holding flower arrangements and all important sugar cubes. I loved the red lantern house table decorations as the pillar-box shade worked to bring the rest of the table to life.
The seating arrangement was also really nice. A mix of painted garden furniture, wooden chairs and recently fitted bench seating in the bay ofthe window. There are a great range of table sizes too which makes Fancie the ideal place for a quick coffee catch up or a full on afternoon tea treat with the family.

Cute Accessories

Caroline:
With four outlets across Sheffield and a selection of cupcakes to die for, Fancie‘s distinctive yet versatile interiors mark its unique appeal, offering a selection of eclectic designs to suit all tastes. 


A contrast to its original Cath Kidston-esque sister, their new flagship bakery on Ecclesall Road offers a relaxed warehouse-style environment, ideal for an informal afternoon tea. The exposed brickwork walls and rough wooden floors, create a rural feel which is quite different to anywhere we’ve been before, whilst the quirky crates and old-school-style blackboards accent this theme perfectly - I particularly liked the luggage tagged glass bottle which marked our table and the fairy light lined windows, which I thought added a very pretty contrast to the wooden interior.


Food
Laura:
The one thing I am always looking for with every afternoon tea we try is that one unique feature that sets it aside from the rest. Fancie has just that. If not for its gorgeous vintage china coupled with contemporary tea stands and hotchpotch furniture, the menu alone makes it worth the trip.
To start, we had a fantastic range of sandwiches, with more than enough to set us off in style. Fillings included classic cucumber, cheese and chutney, ham and whole grain mustard – gorgeously thick slices by the way,and smoked salmon. The salmon was my favourite although I did love the hot mustard filling with the ham – yum!


Next up – and might I add, what was Fancie’s trump card for me – amazing home-made puff pastry sausage rolls. I had never come across this before with afternoon tea and I just thought it was a fabulous idea. It made a typical party nibble feel grown up and posh – I’m not ashamed to say my share may have included some of Caroline’s too!
Then came the scones – an afternoon tea staple, yet even this key layer came presented with a twist. With a touch of cinnamon these werepre-cut into bitesize pieces which had a real homemade rustic texture. They were simply gorgeous and a great alternative to the traditional treat. There was plenty of Catherine’s Choice Jam and Clotted Cream to go around too!


And finally, it has to be said, one of my favourite afternoon tea desserts is a gold old cupcake and since these are a staple at Fancie, we were treated to four of their signature flavours – Victoria Mini, Chocolate Mini, Hazelnut Mini and Butterscotch Mini. I tried the Hazelnut and Butterscotch, they were both lovely and fluffy with perfectly smooth buttercream – I could have happily eaten them all. To accompany, we were treated to a few more bitesize favourites including a chocolate tiffin, chocolate brownie, Rocky Road and strawberries. I am a huge fan of Rocky Road so I was super excited to see that on the menu – chock full of marshmallows, just the way I like it!
We were also given a choice of Twining’s loose leaf infusion teas. As a recent Peppermint Tea convert I choose this option which came with plenty of refills.
This is one afternoon tea were flawless presentation definitely lives up to the taste.

Yum!

Caroline:
Traditional but with a distinctly Yorkshire twist, the Fancie Afternoon Tea is certainly something to behold. Presented on simple, modern stands which contrast wonderfully with their glass tea pots and beautiful vintage tea services, this tea has all the classics and then some - also offering a few unexpected twists along the way.

The menu itself is vast and includes lots of flavourful goodies such as: Finger Sandwiches - Cucumber, Smoked Salmon & Cream Cheese, Cheese & Chutney and Ham & Wholegrain Mustard (Four of each); Mini Fancie Sausage Rolls(Yum); Fancie Scones (with Catherine’s choice of jam and clotted cream); and Fancie Cakes (too delicious to mention without getting hunger pangs, but here goes: mini Victoria Cupcake, Nutty-Rocky Road, Chocolate Brownie/Tiffin and Chocolate Cupcake!

Scone Slices

Out of this selection, my favourite had to be the Scones which were served in bite-size slices with lots of jam and cream - an absolute god-send for a messy scone eater like myself, and everso dainty. Other favourites included the Cheese and Chutney sandwiches, which I enjoyed so much that I had to steal some of Laura’s to satisfy my craving for more (they are seriously good, made with brilliantly soft bread). Off the top tier I LOVED the tiffin, which as a longstanding favourite of mine was a more than welcome addition to the cake selection - especially alongside the nutty bite-size rocky road and strawberry bites which were little pieces of Heaven.

Tea

For my tea, I went for the old faithful Earl Gray, which as usual, didn't disappoint. (I particularly liked the eclectic mix of vintage china and modern glass tea pots, which offered a quirky and off-beat dynamic to the tea taking ceremony.)

Teacup

Service

Laura:
The service at Fancie was spot on. Our order was taken rightaway and we were approached at just the right intervals. The staff were very friendly and happy to chat with us when taking our order – a really lovely team.

Caroline: 
In alignment with its setting, the service at Fancie was warm and welcoming, making our afternoon very enjoyable. The service style was friendly, with staff displaying a good product knowledge and enthusiasm for the brand.

 
Overall Thoughts

Laura:
Fancie has found the perfect balance between vintage and contemporary by combining the best of tradition with the practicality of modern dining. By thinking outside of the box, Fancie’s talented chefs have created an afternoon tea that stands out for its creativity and attention to detail. Two hours on a train is a long way for cake … but so worth it.

Caroline:
I really loved our day out at Fancie and would recommend to anyone. For excellent food in a relaxed and informal environment, you really can’t go wrong - a great place for students, families and business men alike - pay them a visit soon!

Cupcake Rating:


Fancie is located on Ecclesall Road, Sheffield. Afternoon Tea is served between 2-5pm, and priced at £12.95 pp. For more information, menus and how to book a table please visit their website HERE

LOOK OUT FOR OUR REVIEW OF THE ORIGINAL FANCIE CUPCAKERY LATER THIS WEEK!

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.  
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Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Afternoon Tea News: Sketch London Spring/Summer Afternoon Tea



We're loving the new Sketch Summer Afternoon Tea. Served in the Glade room of the super trendy Mayfair restaurant, this enchanting new menu is a tea lover's dream.

Summer's here!

Bringing the outdoors inside, the fairytale-like venue compliments the new menu perfectly. With a complete découpaged forest lining the walls and 50s rattan furniture, this contemporary treat oozes summer charm.

Here's what's on offer:

Including a selection of finger sandwiches such as Cucumber, ricotta and asparagus, Mozzarella and pesto croque monsieur, Egg mayonnaise with quail egg and caviar and the classic Smoked salmon and Jacob’s cream, the new spring summerafternoon tea at sketch has put an exciting new twist on the traditional British favourite. Sandwiches are followed by sultana scones with clotted cream and bitter orange and strawberry jams, before finishing with an assortment of sketch pastries, featuring the Old fashioned pistachio macaroon, Almond and red berry tartlet, a Coffee éclair, Strawberry cheesecake in a glass, Meringatarta, Raspberry meringue, Malabar marshmallows and the renowned sketch opera.

Unique creations.

Diner's have a choice of teas and if you're up for treating yourself, why not add a glass of Champagne or a refreshing Gin and Tonic?
Tempted? We're loving the sound of the Old fashioned pistachio macaroon!

If you're planning a visit - let us know how you get on!


Coffee éclair - yum!

Sketch is situated on Conduit Street, Mayfair, London. Created by French master chef Pierre Gagnaire and restaurateur Mazouz in 2002, it is renowned for its unique and imaginative menus. Spring/Summer Afternoon Tea is available throughout the week from 1-6pm. Prices start at £34 per person (£46with Pommery Apanage/ £54 with Pommery Apanage Rose/ £40 with Gin &Tonic). Bookings for up to 6 people can be made online at www.sketch.uk.com and for larger parties by calling 0207 659 4500.

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Afternoon Tea News: Very British Afternoon Tea, Royal Horseguards Hotel, London

For one week only the Royal Horseguards Hotel is re-launching its iconic Very British Afternoon Tea. Read below to find out more!


A Very British afternoon tea…

Presented in the hotel’s elegant lounge or intimate outdoor terrace with views of the iconic London Eye, resident head pastry chef Joanne Todd has designed the exclusive very British afternoon tea.

The very British afternoon tea includes:

A selection of finger sandwiches, including Her Majesty’s favourite – roast beef
A delicious selection of very British biscuits shaped as iconic red buses, Union Jack flags, crowns and the Big Ben tower
A decadent crown jewel cupcake – too good to be locked up in the Tower of London – and a Yorkshire rhubarb Queen of Pudding
Dark chocolate and English peppermint creams are an homage to Queen Elizabeth’s favourite childhood sweets – peppermint creams
A Lemon and Martini meringue pie is inspired by her tipple of choice – a Martini finished with a twist of lemon rind
Drop Scotch scones with English Bramley apple compote are created just as Queen Elizabeth herself made for
President Eisenhower when he visited Balmoral Castle in 1959
And to top it off, finish with Traditional Freshly Baked Scones served with homemade English strawberry preserve and Cornish clotted cream
Will you be trying a very British Tea? Let us know your thoughts!

The very British afternoon tea is available from 22nd to 28th April 2013 and priced at £35.00 per person. For more information, visit the  website HERE

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Sunday, 21 April 2013

Company #StyleBloggerAwards2013: We've been shortlisted!


#VOTEATC
 
The votes have been counted and we're thrilled to reveal we have been shortlisted in Company Magazine's Style Blogger Awards 2013! Thank you so much to everyone who nominated us, we really appreciate all of your support.
 
Voting has now opened for each of the 10 categories. If you would like to see us named as Best Blogging Duo, simply visit the Company wesbite and vote for theafternoonteaclub.com!
 
We're really excited to be involved and would absolutely love to win - and celebrate with lots of cake!
 
Thanks again to all of our fabulous readers - #VOTEATC!
 
Laura & Caroline

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Friday, 19 April 2013

The Afternoon Tea Club Reviews: Fanny's Cream Tea by Post


As you know, we at The Afternoon Tea Club are partial to a couple of scones and a pot of tea so we were super excited when we received this yummy little package!


Afternoon Tea often conjures up images of grand hotels, perfect china and crisp white linen table cloths – which we highly approve of, of course! But sometimes there simply aren’t enough hours in the day to indulge in your favourite pastime, and after a busy day you might just want to curl up on your own sofa with a brew from your favourite teacup. Well, Fanny’s Farm makes that possible by bringing the best of Afternoon Tea to the comfort of your own home with their ingenious Cream Tea’s by Post!


Packaged to perfection in old fashioned brown paper and nestled rather creatively in a bed of popcorn, Fanny’s Cream Tea by Post has got your afternoon covered.
Tea for Two includes four fruit scones, a large jar Devon Clotted Cream of and two pots of homemade seeded raspberry jam along with two teabags, sweetly stamped with Fanny’s signature logo. There’s even a napkin each to complete the look – we loved the coordination.


There are handy instructions for tea too. The scones only take five minutes to warm in the oven whilst tea will take 3 minutes to brew for a cup that’s just right. The aroma from the oven was absolutely mouth-watering.


The jam and cream spread onto the scones very easily and there was a more than generous amount of both to go around. We loved that we each got our own jam jars and the labelling was extra cute with ingredient’s including ‘1% Fanny Magic’ – adorable.


The scones themselves were really lovely. We were anxious as to how the products would keep whilst in transit but they were extremely fresh and tasted great still warm from the oven. 


Cream Tea by Post would make a wonderful gift for any afternoon tea lover. You can treat yourself in your own time and have it exactly how you want it. It’s clear that a lot of love and care goes into each of these packages and that’s shown in the fantastic quality and faultless presentation. This really was a completely unique and very lovely experience – now who’s birthday is it next?...


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Friday, 12 April 2013

Afternoon Tea at The Four Seasons, London

Established in 1960, The Four Seasons Park Lane is one of London's Premier Hotels and top Afternoon Tea destinations. Offering a wide choice of loose leaf blends and Afternoon Tea menus, this is definitely one to consider if you're ever out and about in the capital

Afternoon Tea

Located on the prestigious Park Lane in Central London, The Four Seasons Hotel offers elegant yet homely surroundings, perfect for those wanting to escape the inner-city blues for a couple of hours. Decorated throughout in striking black themes and accented with red and cream hues, The Amaranto Lounge, where tea is served, consists of a series of three living rooms - all stylishly decorated with comfortable furnishings and an abundance of natural light. Feature pieces include their beautiful grand piano, hand crafted wall mouldings and art deco-esque chandelier, which create nice focal points to the lounge, contrasting wonderfully with their sleek black marble floors.

Amaranto Lounge

The choice of Afternoon Tea at The Four Seasons is considerable and offers something for everyone, including the Italian themed La Dolce Vita menu, Vegetarian Afternoon Tea and Simple Cream Tea. Their tea selection is similarly impressive, with a choice of over seventeen loose leaf varieties and two unique vintage blends (one of which is infused with gold!)

More Tea

However, their traditional English Afternoon Tea is perhaps the most popular menu and features all of the staple classics, including:

A Sandwich Selection:
Organic Free Range Egg and Watercress in a Brioche Roll; Tea Smoked Salmon with Lemon and Black Pepper Mayonnaise on Caraway Seed Bread; Cucumber and Truffle Cream Cheese on Cranberry Bread; Salt Beef, Pickle and English Mustard Mayonnaise on Rye Bread; Roast Chicken with Sage Mayonnaise on Rosemary Bread

Traditional, Golden Raisin and Cranberry Scones served warm with Homemade Strawberry Jam, Preserves and Thick Clotted Cream.

Dessert selection
Lemon Meringue Pie, Seasonal Fruit Tartlets, Caramelised Blueberry Cheese Cake, White Chocolate and Rhubarb Compote Pannacotta and Gianduia Cream Éclair

Elegant Amaranto Lounge

If you're feeling particularly adventurous, then there are also plenty of bubbly options available for that special occasion or even just as a treat (because let's face it, we all deserve one now and again!)


Have you ever been for Afternoon Tea at The Four Seasons? What did you think? Comment below with your thoughts!

Afternoon tea, £32 per person, is served on a daily basis between the hours of 3:00 pm and 6:00 pm in the sumptuous surroundings of the Amaranto restaurant, bar or lounge. In the winter there is comfortable seating by the fireside in the lounge and in the bar, and in the warmer summer months tea can be taken on the landscaped terrace under the maple trees. For more information and booking, please visit the Four Seasons' website HERE
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Thursday, 11 April 2013

Afternoon Tea News: The Goring Hotel Wins Coveted 'Top London Afternoon Tea 2013' in Tea Guild Awards

Top Afternoon Tea 2013
(IMAGE: Goring Website - http://www.thegoring.com/)

Congratulations to the Goring Hotel who recently won the coveted Tea Guild Award for the 'Top London Afternoon Tea 2013' (If you don't know anything about the Tea Guild Awards, they're sort of like the Oscars of the Tea world - prestigious and very sought after)

Very well done to the Goring Tea Team - we'll see you soon!

If you'd like to sample a piece of the excellence for yourself, then click HERE and HERE to find out what's on offer and how to book.

Read the Goring's Press Release about the Award HERE
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Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Afternoon Tea News: The Flowering Afternoon Tea at The Park Lane Hotel, London

Complete with its own chocolate hanging basket and edible garden gnome, The Park Lane Hotel's Chelsea Flower Show inspired tea looks set to become one of this summer's Afternoon Tea highlights

Bloomin' Marvellous

Here's a little of what you can expect:
In celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Chelsea Flower Show, The Park Lane Hotel in London has created a very special Flowering Afternoon Tea.  Available from Tuesday 14th May to Sunday 9th June 2013, the Flowering Afternoon Tea will include a delightful array of horticulturally-inspired teatime treats [...]

[...] To begin the Flowering Afternoon Tea experience, guests will be greeted with a Wild Blossom Champagne Cocktail – Champagne topped off with an edible hibiscus flower soaked in syrup.  A selection of five sandwiches and savouries are then served, including Poached Scottish salmon, cucumber and fennel crème fraiche served on a mini muffin with cucumber flowers; Orange blossom honey, wholegrain mustard roast ham, candied tomatoes and watercress on white bread; and Goats cheese, asparagus and lemon verbena tartlet with a soft boiled quails egg.

Warm, homemade plain and apple and raisin scones will follow, served with lemon verbena curd, clotted cream and seasonal preserves.  Finally, guests will be presented with a selection of floral pastries, including a Chocolate hanging basket with spiced Chai tea mousse and chocolate soil; a Honey orange blossom pain de gene with mango compote and edible honey bees; a Rosewater and raspberry mousse with crystallised rose petals on a rose macaroon and Pistachio and hazelnut chocolate financier “garden patch” with chocolate ladybird.  The pastries will be presented on a marzipan gardening patch edged with a chocolate rockery and will be complete with the edible garden gnome centrepiece perched on a white chocolate toadstool...

So what do you think? We're loving the sound of those summer cocktails and goats cheese tarts - YUM!

Are you booking yourself in for a summer treat? Let us know!

The Park Lane Hotel was amongst a select handful of London hotels to be recognised recently with a prestigious Award of Excellence 2013 by The Tea Guild. The Flowering Afternoon Tea at The Park Lane Hotel will be served from 14th May to 9th June 2013 (3pm-6pm on weekdays and 2pm-6pm at weekends) in The Palm Court and costs £45 per person.  Bookings must be made in advance. To book, call The Palm Court on 02072907328 or visit www.palmcourtlondon.co.uk
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Sunday, 7 April 2013

Nominate the Afternoon Tea Club for a Company #StyleBlogger2013 Award


Nominate Us!

Whether you've just found  The Afternoon Tea Club or have been following for a while now, we’d be thrilled if you could nominate us as 'Best Blogging Duo' for the Company Style Awards 2013. Being new to the whole competative blogging scene, we're not exactly sure what to expect, but if the site's lucky enough to be short listed then we'll be sure to report back with what happens next.

If you'd like to support us, simply visit the Company website HERE and fill in a short form, including our URL when prompted. (www.theafternoonteaclub.com)

Thank you so much for all of your support - we can't wait to welcome you back to the site soon!

Love

Laura and Caroline

x
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Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Afternoon Tea News: W London Rock Tea by Gizzi Erskine


Last week our favourite retro chef, Gizzi Erskine, launched her brand new take on W Hotel's 'Rock Tea', with a cool mix of edgy-yet-girlie treats, served on a dazzling gold record stand. We couldn't be more excited...

Rock Tea Re-Mixed

Adapted from last year's incredibly popular 'Rock Tea', this new off-beat menu offers an exciting selection of retro delights, which are certain to make for the perfect scone and 'jam-ming' session! 

Alongside the old classics are a selection of new choices, which include: Wild Things - a salted caramel and popcorn eclair (with kooky leopard print design), Rockabilly Rebel - a devil’s food cake with peanut butter mousse and peanut brittle, and Flipsville - a cherry cola and yuzu tart.

- Oh dear... a cherry cola and yuzu tart? We can hear it calling our names already.

Unfortunately, this lovely tea is only running for a limited period of three months, so be sure to book yourself in now to avoid missing out on this masterpiece of culinary innovation!

Have you tried the Tea? Are you booked in for a visit? Let us know your thoughts - We love to share the Afternoon Tea love - and boy do we LOVE this Afternoon tea.

The W Rock Tea by Gizzi Erskine is served in the W Lounge at W London Leicester Square, from 2pm daily (for a limited three-month period) and costs £25 pp. For more information or to book, visit http://www.wlondon.co.uk/
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