Sunday, 10 September 2017

Afternoon Tea at Home Sweet Home, Manchester



Over the years, we've found ourselves wondering on more than one occasion, why Home Sweet Home have never done an afternoon tea. Famed for selling the most extravagant cakes in town, their desserts have been the stuff of legend for as long as I can remember, so you can imagine my delight when I heard that they were now serving afternoon tea.

In order to investigate further, I pencilled in some time with my blogging buddy Sarah of Sequin This, to pay them a visit and sample ALL the cake. As an FYI, the lighting in Home Sweet Home is super low (or atmospheric depending on how you look at it) so the photos for this one aren't as bountiful as usual, but don't worry, you get to see the cake and we all know that's what you came for!




As you'd expect, the afternoon tea at Home Sweet Home is very rough, ready and ridiculously over the top, with about as much decadence as you can pile on to the plate. If you're in the market for a delicate afternoon tea then you won't find it here, but what you will get is a full on sugar rush to keep you buzzing for days.

Starting off the sweetness overload, you're presented with a trio of mini bagels (Maple syrup BLT (YUM!) smoked salmon, and smoked cheddar & vine tomatoes) and BBQ crisps, followed by churros with 'dream-cheese' and Nutella dips, which are a replacement for scones. At the time, Sarah asked me how I felt about the absence of scones and to be honest I wasn't sure. I think I'll always miss scones when they're not there, but I do LOVE churros, so can get on board with the swap in this instance - and the dips were delicious too, which made it even better.



Moving on upwards, I have to say that the cake tier wasn't the easiest thing to share and when you consider that prices are listed per person, I would have ideally liked two of everything, to avoid any uncomfortable cake disputes. However, that said, there is more than enough of the sweet stuff to go at, with three cake truffles, a lemon meringue pie, trio of chocolate cheesecake brownies, a chocolate espresso mousse and cupcake of the month to keep you going. Out of this selection my favourite had to be the red velvet cheesecake brownies which had a delicious creamy taste, with the chocolate cake truffles coming in a close second.

Overall I was pretty pleased with the Home Sweet Home afternoon tea. Knowing what their usual cake fridge is like, part of me was hoping for something even more OTT, but in hindsight I think something sweeter would've perhaps been a step too far. As it stands, this afternoon tea is on the perfect side of decadent with a good mix of tastes and textures to offer variety. Definitely one to try if you're a Home Sweet Home fan!

For more information and booking, visit their website:

At time of writing, Afternoon Tea is only available at their Great Northern restaurant, but be sure to check out the website for any further updates!

- Caroline

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Wednesday, 16 August 2017

The Afternoon Tea Club Reviews: The Principal Hotel, York



As someone who lives in Chester and regularly has to deal with the masses attending Chester Races, what could possibly be the worst imaginable day to join the crowds on the train and pay a visit to one of your favourite UK cities, York? A York Races day of course! Thankfully for Caroline and I, there was light at the end of the suits-and-dresses-filled tunnel, and that was cake at The Principal York, Hotel.

Ideally located right next to York Station, you can literally hop off the train and into the Garden Room where an elegant tea oasis awaits adorned with neutral tones, highlighted by huge windows with views across the lawn - all the more spectacular on a summers day.




We started with a glass of champagne each before digging into the first course. The tea is served in two parts, first a small plate filled with three savoury miniatures followed by the main event. Bites included; Sweet potato, chorizo and sherry vinegar velouté, smoked mackerel mousse, and Yorkshire rarebit, fruit chutney. It’s very unusual to find anything soupy on an afternoon tea menu but the sweet potato velouté worked really well and was definitely a favourite. A strong start!

Moving to the first tier of the main stand, there aren’t as many sandwiches as you would normally expect but you won’t need them after the first trio. Here you will find an egg mayonnaise and watercress sandwich alongside a Yorkshire ham and pickle sandwich. Both really tasty, generous fillings and served on two types of bread, always a plus.




Moving on to the scones, which also come as a trio and offered up something a little different to your usual afternoon tea fare. You have your plain and fruit scones and then an additional cherry and almond served with raspberry jam and clotted cream. Cherry scones have always been a favourite of mine so I was excited to see these on the menu and they tasted delicious with lashings of cream. And just in case you’re wondering how you’ll manage three scones AND a plate of pastries, the scones are only small so you shouldn’t have to worry about saving room!




On to the last tier which features a pretty mix of colours and flavours - but there is only one of each kind so be sure to share/pick your favourites quickly! Sweets include a Yorkshire curd tart, salted caramel chocolate pot, passion fruit macaron, rhubarb gin cheesecake, Parkin loaf, and raspberry and white chocolate éclair. This was one of the best dessert selections we’ve come across thanks to its imaginative choice of flavours used in popular afternoon tea sweets - the rhubarb gin cheesecake and macaroon were our top picks both for their pastel palettes and great taste.

To accompany the food, The Principal serves Rare Tea Company loose-leaf tea, hand picked by ‘Tea-Lady’ consultant Henrietta Lovell. We opted for the Single Estate English Breakfast and Earl Grey, both sourced from the Satemwa Estate, Malawi.




We really enjoyed our afternoon at The Principal, York. It’s a beautiful hotel and in a prime location for anyone travelling from out of town. The tea menu is great, fusing the old with the new and features plenty of unique touches to make it stand out. If you’re planning a trip to York this Summer and looking for a quiet hideout from the crowds, be sure to put The Principal York on your list. 

Afternoon Tea is served daily between 11.30am-6pm at £22.95pp or £29.50pp with champagne. For more info and to book visit: https://www.phcompany.com/principal/york-hotel/
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Monday, 14 August 2017

Afternoon Tea at Liverpool One - #TrulyScrumptious

Bills

Liverpool has always been a second home to The Afternoon Tea Club, so when we heard about the new #TrulyScrumptious campaign from Liverpool ONE, we decided to get involved and write a round up of the top three teas to look out for the next time you're in Merseyside - and with today marking the start of National Afternoon Tea Week, you have the perfect excuse to venture out and eat cake!

Browns - Afternoon Tea

First up is Afternoon Tea at Browns Brasserie. Browns was actually the first ever 'proper' afternoon tea that we visited as a club and will always have a special place in our hearts. If you look back far enough, you'll probably be able to find the review (with our terrible iPhone 4 pictures) but where the photos failed us, the food didn't and we can definitely recommend it as one to look out for when visiting Liverpool ONE bars and restaurants this summer.

Bills - Cream Tea

Next on the list is Bills, a homely but hip restaurant, which probably isn't the first place you would look to in search of cream tea but look you should, as Bills offers a great value selection of sweet treats with its 'Teatime' menu. Choose from scones with Bills jam and clotted cream (served warm, and absolutely delicious) to toasted teacakes or sticky toffee pudding and beyond to get your mid-shopping afternoon boost.

The Exchange at Hilton - Afternoon Tea

Towering over L1 and just a few short minutes away from the Albert Dock, stands the Hilton, Liverpool City Centre and inside, The Exchange restaurant which offers a modern afternoon tea in a minimalist setting that's popular with guests and daytrippers alike. We first visited years back (in the much missed days where every Monday for us, was an afternoon tea day!) but this tea remains popular due to its central location and traditional yet sophisticated afternoon fare served daily between 1-4pm.

Have you paid a visit to L1 for afternoon tea? Be sure to give us your thoughts and recommendations in the comments or over on Twitter @teacupreview using the hashtag #TrulyScrumptious.


#AD - This post is in collaboration with Liverpool ONE, but as usual all thoughts and opinions are our own!

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Sunday, 13 August 2017

#BeeProud Afternoon Tea at The Radisson Blu Edwardian Hotel, Manchester



This week we revisited one of our favourite Northern afternoon tea spots for a new Manchester-inspired menu in aid of the We Love Manchester Emergency Fund in partnership with the British Red Cross and the Manchester Pride Charity.

Served in the Radisson Blu Edwardian Hotel's contemporary Opus One bar which looks out onto Peter Street from the city's Free Trade Hall, the high ceilings adorned with bespoke crimson fixtures and ebony furnishing mean you will feel just at home sipping a cocktail as you will sampling its latest tea.



The theme is #BeeProud. Think Manchester, the symbolic bee, local favourites and you might have a good idea of what this tea consists of. But think again. The Radisson Blu has truly gone all out with this one, swapping out its traditional offering for a selection of thoughtful, artisan bites that will leave you needing around 30 minutes just to take enough Instagram-worthy photos - or maybe that’s just us.

To start, the sandwich selection is very good; honey roast ham with mustard on brioche, smoked salmon with lemon butter on rye, roast beef with horseradish on sourdough, and cheese and red onion on soda. A mix of breads always wins points with us and extra thumbs up for the delicious salmon filling (the cheese and red onion was a close second!).



Then to the scones, a plain and fruit scone each, served warm with strawberry jam and cream. As always, they were delicious and when we opted to leave a scone each to ensure we had enough room for cake, we were given an extra pot of jam to take home with our leftovers - a very nice touch.

Finally, the dessert selection is where the Manchester theme shines through. This included a classic Manchester tart, Eccles cake, honeycomb shortbread with cream (black and white of course), and cheesecake with caramel spiral art and pop corn on top. An impressive arrangement of sweets and a really sophisticated way of incorporating the #BeeProud theme without going over the top. Our favourites were the Manchester tart and the cheesecake which was as tasty as it was pretty.




To accompany, we each opted for pots of tea, earl grey and English breakfast, which were generously refreshed throughout, and also a glass of champagne - we are celebrating Afternoon Tea Week after all! 

Special mention must go to the great staff at the Opus One who made sure we had everything we needed for a lovely afternoon and kindly boxed up the few cakes we couldn’t manage, to go (it’s very unlike us to be defeated by cake!).



Overall this is a fabulous tea and the fact that proceeds are going to a great local charity makes it all the more worthwhile. If you’re looking for somewhere to indulge in tea and cake this Afternoon Tea Week or perhaps during the Manchester Pride big weekend, we can't recommend this tea enough.

The #BeeProud Manchester afternoon tea at the Radisson Blu Edwardian, Manchester is available from now until 31st August priced at £22.50pp or £29.50pp with Prosecco. 

For more info and to book visit https://www.radissonblu-edwardian.com/

We were kindly provided with a complimentary tea for review, but as usual, all thoughts and opinions are very much our own!
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Saturday, 5 August 2017

The Afternoon Tea Club Reviews: Pret-a-Portea at the Berkeley, London



The Berkeley's Pret-A-Portea has been on my afternoon tea hit list for as long as I can remember. Based on the key catwalk trends for the season ahead, the hotel's expert patisserie team have crafted a menu fitting for LFW itself, with a whole host of treats to satisfy everyone's inner fashionista. Located near Harrods in the well to do area of Knightsbridge, the hotel itself is highly regarded as one London's top five star establishments and is the perfect setting for sweetness and style.

The lounge where tea is served, is decorated throughout in airy grey shades, with comfy armchairs throughout and impressive statement lighting fixtures hanging from the ceiling. From what I could tell, the tea room is split across two distinct areas - a lounge and an adjoining conservatory (which looked incredibly light and an ideal scenario for photo taking, if you're of the blogger variety!)




Upon arrival, you are presented with a beautiful lilac menu displaying the SS17 selections alongside a really comprehensive overview of the tea's influences and inspirations. Menu highlights for the Spring/Summer collection include:

Gucci’s pink candyfloss summer berry sable Breton jumper in a rhubarb mousse, accentuated with a golden sugar bow.

Ralph & Russo pain de Gênes dress cake with velvet lavender cremeux and beriolette jelly, romantically topped with a showstopper sugar frill.

Stella McCartney’s brilliantly British chocolate and vanilla Battenberg cake inspired by her chequerboard summer pumps.

Emilio Pucci’s playful colour-blocked jumpsuit reimagined as a caramelised pineapple compote with coconut jelly and strawberry bavarois, crowned with a psychedelic chocolate wave.



Charlotte Olympia’s high-kicking ‘Chiquita’ banana pump biscuits to channel your inner Carmen Miranda.

Dolce & Gabbana’s hazelnut daquoise pasta-print midi dress with praline croquant and Gianduja chocolate mousse, finished with a fun farfalle.

Mulberry’s ‘it’ Pembroke bag in a Valrhona ivoire chocolate-glazed cake, inspired by British collegiate stripes.

Balenciaga’s new perspective on street style, recreated as a raspberry bavarois and blueberry compote, topped with a kinky, slinky pointed stiletto biscuit.

Miu Miu’s retro bikini lime biscuit – the must-have swimwear making a splash on the seaside this summer season.




In addition to the sweet treats, we also had a savoury selection to die for, which consisted of delicate finger sandwiches, alongside a trio of small plates which included a tomato macaron, gazpacho with cheese croutons and grilled mackerel.

At this point, it's probably worth mentioning that whilst dietary requirements are willingly catered for, you should definitely call ahead to have these arranged in advance. My friend who's a non-mayo eating vegetarian, proved to be something of a challenge to staff on the day and whilst we eventually managed to get some veggie/non mayo sandwiches sorted for her, it proved to be a little more problematic than we had at first imagined. There also seemed to be some confusion over the difference in dietary requirements for vegetarians, pescatarians and vegans, which I have to say was a little surprising at an establishment of this calibre.




However, this aside, the food itself was excellent and I can wholeheartedly recommend the standard savouries to each an every one of you. The finger sandwiches were clearly prepared to order, whilst the small plates and macaron were presented to perfection.

Perhaps the only surprise was that the Pret-a- Portea afternoon tea doesn't include any scones. You don't exactly miss them, because there are so many other cakes and savouries, however I feel like they're needed as part of the traditional afternoon tea make up - even if it's just one each. I'll leave you to decide your thoughts on that one!



When it comes to the cakes, you can see the beauty for yourself. Out of the selection available, I think my favourite was the Dolce & Gabbana hazelnut cake, which I can only describe as a Ferrero Rocher cake and dreamy as anything you'll ever have. Coming in a close second was the chocolate Mulberry handbag because who doesn't love chocolate?

All in all I was pretty pleased with the Berkeley's offering and would be keen to visit again in the autumn to sample their AW menu. It's towards the higher end of the London tea price bracket, but the theme really makes the experience and if you're looking for somewhere to visit for a special occasion or are a die hard fashion lover then I would recommend this to you in a heartbeat.


For more information and booking, please visit:

Have you ever visited the Berkeley? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

- Caroline


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Sunday, 30 July 2017

Bettys Giveaway!



It’s competition time! 

COMPETITION CLOSED

Who doesn’t love Bettys Tea Rooms? We recently took a trip to York and couldn’t resist popping in to peruse some of Bettys’ famous cakes and tea. 

Being the generous sort that we are here at ATC, we are sharing the Bettys love by offering you the chance to bag yourself this fab Bettys tea and biscuits gift set.

One lucky winner will get their hands on a box of Bettys Tea Room blend tea, Yorkshire shortbread box and a copy of “Who was Betty”, a collection of stories, poems and thoughts on the elusive figure at the heart of the Bettys story.

To enter, all you have to do is follow us over on Twitter at @TeacupReview and retweet the competition to be in with a chance of winning.

The competition will close on 6th August so get your entries in quick! (T&Cs below).

Good luck!

Laura & Caroline x 


Open to UK residents only. Only one entry per person. Competition will close at midnight (BST) on 06/08/2017. The winner will be chosen and announced on 07/08/2017. The Afternoon Tea Club's decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into. The Afternoon Tea Club is not responsible for inaccurate prize details supplied by third party connected to this competition. There will be no cash alternative. Winner will be notified via Twitter. By entering the competition the winner agrees to participate in such promotional activity on our website and Twitter. No responsibility can be taken for any entries which are not received for any reason.
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Sunday, 23 July 2017

Coffee Break: Miss Poppy Cakes, Camden



If you're an avid ATC reader, then you'll know that a few weeks ago Laura and I visited 'Townhouse at the Kensington', to try out their Beauty and the Beast themed afternoon tea - which you can read all about here

As we don't visit London as often as we'd like, we usually try to sneak in an extra pit stop or two en route, to make sure that we leave no stone unturned in the pursuit of afternoon tea perfection. Yes it means that we eat a lot of cake, and yes it means that we'll probably never reach our ideal dress sizes, but like any great creators we're willing to suffer for our art - and believe us, there are much worse ways of suffering!




On this particular excursion, we decided to head towards Camden for a peruse of the markets, before breaking to have some pre-tea treats at Miss Poppy Cakes. Owned by Sarah and Greg, this cute little coffee shop opened in 2014 and has been supplying the people of London with whole host freshly baked goods ever since - and we can confirm from first hand experience that they're great.

As it was the hottest day of the year so far and we were about to go and stuff ourselves with cake anyway, we decided to opt for a 'lighter' option, choosing a "simple" chocolate and salted caramel brownie, a pink lemonade for Laura and a tea for me. With the heat situation being as it was, we were incredibly grateful for the breezy outdoor seating that they have set up for days of this kind. On a fine day, this is the perfect situation for a spot of people (and pooch) watching in the sun.



Overall, I have to say that we were really impressed with Miss Poppy cakes. The dining space is only small, so we can imagine that it must get busy on weekends and bank holidays, but if you're lucky enough to grab a seat, then we can definitely recommend them for a tea and cake break.


Find out more about Miss Poppy Cakes at the link below:

What's your favourite coffee shop in London? Let us know in the comments below!

- Caroline


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The London Carriage Works, Liverpool



As avid afternoon tea goers and notebook hoarders, we’ve compiled a pretty long wish list of teas we plan to visit. Of that list, there are a growing number of local offerings around the North West that we keep adding to in the event of those random, free Sunday afternoons where you just want to do nothing but eat cake and be happy. We did just that and ticked one of those places off the list recently when we visited The London Carriage Works in Liverpool.



Situated on Hope Street, The London Carriage Works is a little off the beaten track from the city centre buzz but with neighbours such as the Liverpool Philharmonic and Everyman Playhouse, it’s in good company in the city’s beautiful Georgian Quarter.

Huge windows joined together by masts of exposed brick mean the restaurant is flooded with natural light (a bonus right there for bloggers like us wanting to take lots of photos!). The environment is laid back with dark wood and red tones throughout, broken up by gorgeous glass fixtures cascading head to toe.



Its afternoon tea offering leans heavily on the classics with all of the traditional fillings and flavours you would imagine but that worked really well here and benefited from some notable updates. Starting with a glass of champagne, we opted to wash our tea down with pots of earl grey and coffee. 



Heading straight to the finger sandwiches, fillings included egg and watercress, cheese and onion, salmon and cucumber, and lightly curried chicken. A good balance of flavours, opting to do away with the standard cucumber, by instead incorporating with fresh salmon - an ATC fave, making this one a clear winner.

Then the scones arrived warm served with clotted cream, fresh strawberries and jam. These were delicious and a good size too with plenty of cream to go around - there is nothing worse than having to be frugal with a cream tea!



Finally the patisserie selection presented a colourful collection of old favourites including Battenberg, lemon cake, chocolate and coconut macaroon, and a chocolate and orange layer cake. A perfectly balanced selection (if that can ever be true of cake) which left us feeling full but not so full that we had to roll ourselves down Mount Pleasant on the way back to the train station!



We really enjoyed this tea. Great setting, tasty food and special mention must go to the great service too, as the staff were really friendly and kept our teapots topped. At £17pp (£26 with champagne) it’s also reasonably priced for a quick stop tea and definitely worth adding to your own tea wish-list for the next time you’re in the city. 

For more information and to book visit: http://www.thelondoncarriageworks.co.uk/ 

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Friday, 14 July 2017

The Afternoon Tea Club Reviews: Tale as old as time at Town House, The Kensington



“Be our guest, be our guest, put our service to the test!” – that we did, when we visited London last month for the Town House at The Kensington Hotel, “Tale as Old as Time” Beauty and the Beast themed afternoon tea. Have you ever come across a more magical collection of words in your entire life?



Served in the Town House lounge style dining area, you will be joined at your table by both Lumiere and Cogsworth who bring the Disney charm to a sophisticated and neutral luxury setting kitted out with real silver and egg shell blue tableware.

A selection of savouries are served first including mini Venison Pie, Cheese Souffle, and Beef Ragu & Saffron Arancini. A great starter, full of flavour and choice so you’re bound to love at least one - for us that was the tasty venison pie.



Appetites sufficiently whet, the savoury bites were followed by the part we had been excited to see after months of waiting (we booked this back in February so our anticipation levels were at an all time high) - the main event, a beautiful three-tier stand topped with the most adorable selection of themed sweets you could imagine.



Starting with a selection of fresh finger sandwiches, fillings included cucumber and cream cheese, chicken and cranberry, egg mayo and salmon. The sandwiches were good but there was a paste consistency throughout - perhaps a slice of smoked salmon may have been a better choice to add a little more variety in texture.



Then, the sconnoisseurs of you out there will be surprised to hear that the traditional scone with jam and cream has been replaced by mini brioche baguettes with apricot jam and chocolate spread. We loved that this played on the French theme and can confirm they were absolutely delicious.


Finally on to the sweet selection where not a single detail or opportunity was missed to touch on the Disney style including a Cogsworth chocolate tart, coconut and chocolate macaroon, jelly with rose petal accent (a la the bell jar) complete with cream poured from your very own Mrs Potts, and finally a sweet Chip cup filled with a creamy white chocolate mousse. The jelly was definitely our favourite, subtle in flavour and theme, exactly what we like from a novelty tea, and a great way to finish the meal without leaving too full.

Drinks-wise, we opted for champagne (Anything Disney is enough of a special occasion to require champagne) and two pots of earl grey which came in beautiful, silver teapots. 



Just as a side note, if you’re unfamiliar with London and planning on Google-mapping your way to the hotel – PLAN AHEAD. We discovered that the venue is very un-Googleable when we found ourselves a 30 minute walk away, £12 down in Uber costs and very sweaty and dishevelled on the hottest day of the year so far, a shocking 45 minutes late. Definitely looked more Beast than Beauty on this occasion! If you are planning on using Maps ensure you use the first line of the address including door number rather than venue name, otherwise you might end up at a completely different hotel. You live, you learn and we must say this menu more than made up for the travel mishap.



We really enjoyed this tea, the theme was well executed, not too OTT as we’ve come across in other venues or so subtle to the point where the theme is barely recognisable - just the right amount of Instagram cute! Plus the magic continues with a marzipan cookie in the shape of Belle’s gold dress to take home, which we thought this was a really nice touch.

If you’re a Disney fan, this afternoon tea is a must-do, and good news, due to popular demand the hotel has just extended its run until June 2018, including a festive edition! But hurry, bookings fill up fast.



The ‘Tale as Old as Time’ afternoon tea is priced at £35pp (£45pp with a glass of champagne.) 


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