Friday, 14 April 2017

The Afternoon Tea Club Reviews: Edgar House, Chester



Easter is upon us which means chocolate upon chocolate, easter egg hunts and cute baby chicks and bunnies. For those who like their weekends filled with cake and tea, that also means welcoming in those Easter themed Afternoon Tea menus. We spent the afternoon in Chester to try out Edgar House’s new Limited Edition Spring Afternoon tea.



Situated inside the City Walls overlooking the River Dee, this beautiful Georgian building is the ideal setting for a spot of Afternoon Tea and cake on a sunny spring afternoon.

Tea is served in the Twenty2 restaurant, a boutique lounge-style dining room kitted out with plump, studded seating, colourful artwork, a stunning fireplace and bookshelves which make you feel as though you’re sat in someone’s front room, albeit a luxurious one.



Food comes served on your standard three tier setting. The first layer includes a good selection of sandwiches on an interesting range of breads with fillings including, thick cut ham and tomato, cheese and onion, egg and mayo and pastrami. 




To follow, scones are served warm (though by the time we had spent our obligatory 20 minutes taking photos, they had started to cool!) with jam and cream. These could probably have benefited from a little more jam between two guests, but the scones themselves were really tasty and fresh.



Finally the sweet selection offers a vibrant mix of flavours which play on the seasonal theme with two easter chick chocolate truffles joined by rich chocolate tarts, lemon cake and mixed berry mousse. The mousse was delicious but as it’s Easter, we loved the chocolate trend running through the dessert palette and made sure we scoffed every last bit. 

To accompany we each went for a standard Earl Grey and coffee - does the job! 



Overall this is a lovely Afternoon Tea in a really beautiful setting. At £19.75pp it’s priced on parr with similar teas in the area and £2 of every Afternoon Tea goes to Clatterbridge cancer charity - cake with a conscious, that’s what we like to see!



If you’re in Chester this Summer, we would highly recommend stopping by for Afternoon Tea or even just to sample the al fresco dining on the terrace and watch the world go by from the Walls. 

For more info and to book, visit: http://edgarhouse.co.uk/


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Monday, 20 March 2017

Ladurée Paris Macaron Moments



Ladurée, the famed Parisian macaron company and luxury sweet choice of bloggers everywhere, has made a frequent appearance on my Instagram feed for as long as I can remember. The perfect afternoon tea accompaniment, their appeal has stretched across the globe, with the brand extending its presence from Paris to a total of 28 different countries worldwide - including four Ladurée houses in London.

With them being such a major player in the patisserie world, it may come as a surprise to learn that until last Saturday, I'd never been lucky enough to try out one of their macaron's for myself. So after a conversation with my friends about how 'amazing' they are, I decided to make a bee-line to the nearest Ladurée cafe with the full intention sampling some of their delicious treats in house.




Unfortunately, time was against me and the cafe proved to be so popular that finding a table was nigh on impossible. Not one to be defeated, I decided to head over to the shop instead to pick up a selection to enjoy at home.

A little overwhelmed by the sheer amount of choice available, I asked the lady working there for recommendations. She responded with a resounding 'caramel for sure' before hesitantly adding 'there's just so many great ones to choose from though'. After a brief think she pulled out a selection of favourites which included; Vanilla, Pistachio, Chocolate and Cognac for an extra kick.




Having never tried Ladurée before, I didn't really know what to expect. I mean how different could they be?

In all honesty, I wouldn't say that there's a lot to differentiate these macarons from the others that I've tried before, but with the resounding opinion being that Ladurée are the best on the market, it's good to know that afternoon tea venues across the UK are striving to match their high standards. The textures were exactly how good macarons should be: crisp on the outside, giving way to a soft centre, filled with butter cream, whilst the overall flavours were intense, with the perfect amount of sweetness.

At around £13.00 for six pieces, Ladurée are definitely at the luxury end of the spectrum, but I can say without a shadow of a doubt that this won't stop me from returning again soon to try out the cafe for myself.

- Caroline

Have you tried Ladurée Macarons yet? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

For more information and cafe locations, visit:
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Wednesday, 15 March 2017

The Afternoon Tea Club Reviews: 60 Hope Street, Liverpool



Last weekend, I visited Liverpool with my friend Caroline to check out the city's new British Music Experience and take in a spot of afternoon tea at the ever-popular 60 Hope Street.

Located on the award winning 'Street of the year 2012', this beautiful Georgian Townhouse has an abundance of kerb appeal, with sweeping staircases, the occasional flower garland (we literally missed the latest display by a matter of days!) and a quirky luggage installation entitled "A Case History" just a stone's throw away.




Inside, the Georgian features have been largely stripped back to reveal an altogether more modern interior, with neat wooden tables and subtle grey shades across the walls, offering an ideal contrast to the restaurant's original open fire places.

The afternoon's crockery - a mish-mash of Cath Kidston, Royal Albert and Charity Shop chic - made for a wonderfully kitsch experience, complementing the renovated surrounds perfectly. I was particularly drawn to the lovely blue teapots with golden embellishments, that immediately stood out as a focal point on the table setting... before the cake came along to distract my attention!




Presented traditionally on a three tiered stand, the afternoon tea itself offers a good range of food for the reasonable price of £16.95 (without fizz) and includes favourites such as: Cucumber, Egg, Ham and Coronation Chicken sandwiches, Salmon Roulade wraps, Strawberry Scones and a cake selection.

Particular stand outs on the day had to be the seasoned Coronation Chicken sandwiches, which were freshly made to order on soft white bread, and the decadent chocolate and raspberry torte which provided a fitting finale to the afternoon.

The strawberry scones were another highlight which came ready prepared, to save time working out that Jam to Cream ratio or debating which goes first - 60 Hope Street are firmly in the cream then jam camp, by the way!




I have to say that I was really impressed by what 60 Hope Street have to offer and would definitely recommend them to anyone visiting Liverpool for the day. Their food selection is very reasonable and although it only comes with the generic options of tea or coffee, this takes nothing away from the overall experience.

It's a bit of a walk away from the main Liverpool One shopping areas, but this allows the perfect opportunity to really earn your cake - and believe me, the walk makes it taste all the sweeter!



For prices and more information about 60 Hope Street, please visit their website:

What's your favourite afternoon tea venue in Liverpool? Let us know in the comments below!
- Caroline

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Wednesday, 8 March 2017

The Afternoon Tea Club Reviews: Menagerie, Manchester



An acrobatic aerial hoop, a catwalk down the centre of the restaurant and neon lights just screaming to be Instagrammed, Menagerie, Manchester is the epitome of cool dining.

A trendy hotspot for Manchester’s bustling nightlife, the real magic at Menagerie happens in the day when the home of ‘experiential dining’ puts its own quirky spin on the tradition of afternoon tea. We went along one rainy Sunday to see what the fuss is about.




The environment is stunning and in addition to the quirks mentioned already, the plush teal seating, low hanging lighting and flecks of gold show that the restaurant hasn’t let a single detail go untouched.

There are two types of afternoon tea on offer, traditional and Menagerie, the latter served with alternative 'social sharers’ rather than the usual finger sandwiches. For £10 extra you can opt to have a glass of Moet with either, so of course we obliged - Sundays are for champagne, right?




Afternoon tea is served in one of the most adventurous displays we’ve seen to date, with sandwiches and scones on separate dishes and an assortment of sweets served on a gold ferris wheel style-stand - so pretty!

Sandwiches are smaller than your average finger sandwiches, instead cut into squares with a nice range of quality fillings including ham and mustard, egg, thick cut beef and horseradish, cucumber and cream cheese, and salmon with lemon butter.

Next, the fruit scones are a good size, generously dusted with sugar and served with clotted cream and strawberry jam. As it's pretty much pure strawberry in a bowl, the jam was a little hard to handle due to its runny consistency but once dolloped on top, the flavour was tart and very tasty.




Finally the dessert selection was right up our street, each served in a colourful cupcake case, the cake-carousel included a marshmallow-filled donut, lemon meringue pie, triple layer Victoria sponge and chocolate cake. The Victoria sponge was one of the fluffiest cakes we have ever tasted and the marshmallow donut was an interesting but delicious addition to what was a well-balanced collection of desserts and yes, we did manage to finish them all!

For drinks, guests can choose from either English breakfast tea, mint tea or a range of coffees - it’s not a particularly extensive tea menu but for us it did the trick as we went for our go-to breakfast tea and latte.




Menagerie is a dreamy venue for a cool afternoon tea and at just a short five minute walk from Manchester’s Spinningfields complex, it’s definitely worth checking out, even just to admire the scenery. At £23pp (without champagne) it’s slightly more expensive than other tea venues in the city but the food is good and the presentation certainly gives it an edge. If you’re looking for afternoon tea with a playful twist, you’ll find it here.

For more information and to book visit: www.menagerierestaurant.co.uk


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Sunday, 5 March 2017

Trying our hand at Matcha Tea



We get a lot of green tea sent our way at ATC and sometimes, after several cups, they can start to blend into one. So we were rather intrigued to try something different in the form of Kanuka Matcha Tea based on the traditional Japanese tea ceremony known as ‘The Way of Tea’, said to invoke peace and harmony.




Complete with everything you need to create the ‘Chanoyu’ (ceremony) at home, the Kanuka Matcha Starter Kit includes a 40g pouch of Matcha tea powder, traditional bowl and whisk, and bamboo measuring scoop.

Making the experience as authentic as possible, the tea is sourced from an eco farm in Shizuoka, Japan and claims to be the best ‘ceremony grade’ tea around. So we put it to the test!



To serve one, you will need your whisk, bowl, measuring stick and tea powder.
  • First, pop half a level teaspoon into the bowl. 
  • Then, add around 40ml of cold water and mix into a paste until frothy.
  • Heat around 150ml of water (not boiling, around 70°C) and stir into the paste.
  • Then drink!

Alternatively you can make the tea into a latte by substituting the water with milk and adding honey to sweeten.



The ceremony itself is simple to perform and it’s a good way of taking a few moments out of your day to chill out. Straight out the bag the tea smells gorgeous and to taste, it has a slightly sweet but earthy flavour. It’s recommended that you take two servings a day, one in the morning and one in the afternoon to provide you with a burst of energy as an alternative to coffee. I couldn’t tell if it was the act of preparation or the tea itself but I did feel rather peaceful after my little dish of zen.



Plus if you're on a health kick, in addition to its calming benefits, matcha tea, high in antioxidants, is apparently good for maintaining a healthy metabolism and combating high cholesterol - so it’s worthwhile dedicating 10 minutes out of your morning routine to give it a go.

If you’re a fan of green tea and looking for something new, whether it’s for the mind of the body, I would recommend giving matcha and 'the way of tea' a try - Laura

For more info visit: https://www.kanukatea.com/
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Sunday, 19 February 2017

The Afternoon Tea Club Reviews: Malmaison, Leeds



When I was twelve and light up Sketchers were all the rage, I went to Leeds with my parents for a pre-birthday shopping spree. It was great - we spent the day having lunch and wandering around the city’s iconic arcades, before heading home with arms full of shopping bags, feeling like Carrie Bradshaw.

After thirteen years, I thought it about high time for a repeat trip, so last month we took the train over to Yorkshire for a day of retail therapy and afternoon tea at the Leeds Malmaison.




Served in the Chez Mal Brasserie, the hotel's Cocktail Afternoon Tea is the perfect sweet treat for anyone on a day out in the city. Presented on a neat slate stand and accompanied by the hotel’s custom made crockery (look out for the cute cow 'malk' jug!) the tea features a selection of delicious treats which include; fruit scones, hot smoked salmon wraps and lemon polenta cake. However, before we get onto the food in full, let’s talk about the cocktails.



As well as a champagne option, the Leeds Mal also offers a cocktail tea for £25, with the choice of four delicious drinks to accompany your cake. On the day we decided to sample a couple of different options on the menu and went for the Orange Brulee and Patron Espresso Martini.

Now I wouldn't say we're connoisseurs when it comes to cocktails - typically opting for champagne - however there's something about this tea that really invites you to indulge in something a bit different and a bit more metropolitan - and let me tell you, they're delicious.

So what's on the menu? To start off, we were treated to a selection of delicious wraps and sliders, which included hot smoked salmon & creme fraiche, chipotle chicken & avocado and a mini burger. As usual, the salmon was a firm favourite with both of us, however this was closely tied with the avocado wrap, which was an absolute treat. I always love the inclusion of different textures and flavours which stray away from the norm, and whilst this isn't necessarily something that you'd expect from an uber traditional venue, it's something that works really well at contemporary places like the Leeds Mal.




To crown the afternoon off, we finally moved over to the scone and dessert selection, which was perhaps my favourite part of the whole experience, with delicious strawberry & vanilla pavlova, lemon polenta cake, salted chocolate brownies, peach & amaretto cream and a frozen berry summer smoothie served in a a tiny milk bottle. If I had to pick a star from this selection it would have to be the Polenta cake, for its rich, dense deliciousness. Having never tried polenta in a dessert before I can definitely say that it's something that'd I'd be keen to sample again!



All in all we were very impressed with the Leeds Mal's afternoon tea offering and even though it's part of a chain offering a uniform menu, I wouldn't say that this takes anything away from the overall appeal. Definitely one to look out for if you're looking for a spot of afternoon tea to accompany your next shopping trip!

PS: They also offer gluten free and vegetarian options for everyone to enjoy!

Have you ever been for tea at a Malmaison? Let us know what you thought in the comments below.

For more information about the Malmaison Afternoon Tea, please visit their website:

We were kindly provided with a complementary afternoon tea for review purposes, however as usual, all thoughts and opinions are our own!


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Wednesday, 1 February 2017

January Tea-tox with Blendology




It’s generally accepted that nobody looks forward to January. Maybe if it’s your birthday or you’re one of those lucky Instagram folk who spends the post-Christmas season somewhere hot and sunny, you can probably tolerate the glum month that stole Christmas. But for the rest of us mere mortals who wish we could simply hibernate in our onesies until February, it’s simply a case of full on gloom and a few extra pounds to drag out of bed on cold winter mornings.



But there are things we can do to make ourselves feel better. No we’re not talking a hellish juice diet or 5am wake ups for the gym but rather small things you can do to cleanse and refresh the mind and body - lucky for us, one of those things is tea.

We were sent some Blendology ‘functional teas’ to test throughout January, each with its own unique purpose whether it’s to help you sleep or give you an energy burst. Each pouch contains 15 fuso bags of handcrafted, 100% organic (Soil Association certified) tea and is priced at £3.95.

I started with the teas on a particularly challenging week, majorly jet-lagged on my first full week back in the office after the Christmas break, a business trip and no sleep, so it had some pretty sizeable living up to do.

Unable to sleep, first I tried the Sleep tea, made with chamomile, passion flower, linden flower, valerian root and California poppy, each with its own insomnia battling effects. Straight out of the bag, the first thing I noticed was that it’s quite potent for a soothing tea, however the chamomile is the key ingredient here, always a winner in helping you to wind down, and it's naturally caffeine free.



The next day, feeling a slightly more human after a better nights sleep, I went for a cup of Recover tea, designed to help you recoup from a hectic lifestyle - GIVE IT! The first thing you can smell and taste is the peppermint leaf, there to detoxify the body, joined by nettle leaf, burdock root, dandelion root and artichoke leaf. Their functionally is all about cleansing the liver and kidneys, and bonus, reduce those nasty hangover symptoms. I did feel better for it afterwards, less bloated and more refreshed.

The third tea, Energy, is the ideal cup for an power boost in the 3pm work slump. The flavour doesn’t pack as much of a punch as the last but the blend of green tea, yerba mate, ginseng, gotu kola and ginkgo biloba works well to keep you alert without intaking as much caffeine as you would in a cup of coffee.

After a week of trying the teas I did feel more refreshed and I think out of the three, my favourite had to be the Recover tea. It boasts a full bodied peppermint flavour and for me, worked a treat in reducing that feeling of fullness.

Detox is all about finding something that works for you but if like me you're starting your new year detox a little late this year, Blendology is worth a shout for a quick change you can easily make to your daily routine. - Laura

For more info visit www.blendologytea.com


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Sunday, 29 January 2017

Join The Afternoon Tea Club!


Do you like to blog? Are you an unabashed #instafoodie? Do you love afternoon tea as much as us? Join the club!

We started The Afternoon Tea Club back in 2012 as an excuse to justify consuming copious amounts of tea and cake during our time at university - never did we imagine we would get to experience the many delicious teas we’ve had the pleasure of sampling over the years.

As the popularity of our favourite past time has continued to grow, so too has our humble blog but there simply aren’t enough hours in a day to cover the many fabulous menus on our bucket list (trust us, we’ve tried double afternoon tea on numerous occasions, it’s not a smart idea!), so we’re on the lookout for likeminded people from across the UK to join our team.

If you’re an afternoon tea lover and want to write about it then we want to hear from you! In return we can offer you fantastic review opportunities and the chance to be a part of an ever-growing social media community of tea lovers.

To apply please send a short bio (including your location) and a sample review of a recent afternoon tea or coffee shop experience (a la our mini “Coffee Break” reviews) along with two accompanying photos to theafternoonteaclub@hotmail.co.uk.

Good luck and we will look forward to welcoming you into the club!

Laura & Caroline x
Founders of The Afternoon Tea Club
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Saturday, 14 January 2017

Bettys Hot Chocolate



Do you ever go through phases of really craving certain foods or flavours? Before Christmas I went through one of those for Bettys Hot Chocolate and just couldn't get it off my mind. So whilst it's winter and still acceptable to enjoy full fat milky drinks all day and night, I placed an order for a couple of bags to see me through 'til Spring arrives.

Made up of a Vanilla and Swiss Dark Chocolate infusion, with 65% Cocoa solids from Venezuelan cocoa beans, Bettys Hot Chocolate is pure joy in a mug - and exactly what the doctor ordered if you're ever feeling a little under the weather.




Here's how to make the Perfect Bettys Hot Chocolate:

Ingredients
200ml Milk
5 heaped teaspoons of Bettys Hot Chocolate Flakes

Method
1. Pour a cup of milk into a saucepan and bring to the boil over a medium heat
2. Measure out five heaped teaspoons of Bettys Hot Chocolate flakes
3. Pour the heated milk over the Chocolate flakes and whisk together until fully combined
4. Return the mixture to the pan and heat through again until simmering
5. Remove from the heat and whisk once more until frothy and pour into your favourite mug
6. Add whipped cream or additional frothy milk to taste and finish with another sprinkling of the chocolate flakes.




And there you have it, how to make the perfect cup of Bettys Hot Chocolate in no time at all - enjoy!

Bettys Hot Chocolate can be bought online here:
https://www.bettys.co.uk/ 

PS: The mug's from Oliver Bonas and currently in the sale
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