Sunday, 25 February 2018

Afternoon Tea at The Vicarage, Holmes Chapel

Back in January we took a trip to Knutsford to sample the afternoon tea menu at The Courthouse pub and hotel, part of the Flat Cap Hotels group. It was the perfect kickstart our 2018 afternoon tea calendar, so last week when we were invited to try its sister venue, The Vicarage in Holmes Chapel, naturally we hopped on another train with high cake-expectations. Here’s what we thought … 

First things first, our only pop culture reference to this small Cheshire village is that it is the home of a certain former One Directioner, Harry Styles, so we may or may not have stopped off at his former place of work for a small slab of rocky road to take home. But famous musicians aside, this is a beautiful area and The Vicarage is in a prime spot, just moments away from the village centre and gazing out into the picturesque winter countryside.

The Vicarage is a 17th Century Grade II listed country pub which has been restored to deliver just the right balance of contemporary and country chic. Afternoon tea is served in the attached conservatory which is oozing in natural light - a food bloggers best friend, we can assure you. Similar to The Courthouse, the style is very relaxed but The Vicarage really embraces its rustic surroundings with wooden furnishings restored with a neutral white colour palette, homely bookshelves and mismatched crockery including a commemorative Royal cup and saucer, which we were huge fans of. 

We were greeted straight away and offered a choice of tea or coffee, of which we choose one of each. Hot beverages arrived at the table promptly but our afternoon tea did take a rather long time to follow. Perhaps this isn’t usually the case and whilst it would have been preferable to have been informed of the wait time beforehand, we were sat comfortably enjoying our surroundings so this wasn’t a massive issue.

When the food did arrive however, it was presented beautifully on a floral three-tier stand, garnished with fresh strawberries. To begin, the savoury selection included egg and mayonnaise and ham finger sandwiches along with two open variations featuring pepperade and salmon bruschetta. To find a good dash of colour amongst a savoury selection is a rare and welcome touch and the flavours were well balanced, particularly the pepperade which we thought was delicious and could have happily eaten an entire plate of each!

Next, the scones were huge, adding to that home-cooked feel where portion sizes are always a little more generous than a traditional tearoom. We were pleasantly surprised to find these were cherry scones, which is one of our all-time favourite flavours and accompanied with jam and clotted cream. Sadly, one of the scones was a little undercooked so we stuck to just the one between us - fortunately there was enough to go around, and it was tasty.

Finally, the patisserie selection was good, even just to look at, with lots of textures and accents going on to keep things interesting, if a little citrus-heavy but that's completely dependent on personal taste. We each had a miniature chocolate orange slice, frangipane and lemon tart. Our favourite was a toss up between the frangipane and the chocolate orange. One, because the first was different and two because, well ... chocolate. You can't really go wrong.

Overall our afternoon tea at The Vicarage was good. Service was great, the environment was beautiful and though there were a couple of things that could be improved upon for next time, this is a really lovely spot for an afternoon in the country side, and at £15pp it is a steal. 

Plus, the restaurant will be serving up a special savoury afternoon tea just in time for Mother’s Day -  March 11th, FYI. We’re big fans of a savoury tea option and would recommend giving it a try if mini pies and toad in the holes are more your thing than delicate finger fare.  

For more information and to book, visit: 

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