Sunday 21 September 2014

Charlotte in the City: The York & Albany, Camden

The other week our Lady in London, Charlotte Vowden, visited Gordon Ramsay's York & Albany for an afternoon of Gin and Cake - lush!

Without guidance you’d probably overlook The York & Albany in Camden for high tea. The trendy townhouse restaurant is part of Gordon Ramsay’s portfolio and is known for its comforting starters and meaty mains. This summer though, a £24 Gin T menu drew a friend and I through its doors.
We had planned a week-night quickie but after the first sip of Earl Grey & Grapefruit Sour cocktail, served in a large glass tea pot, we decided clock-watching was off the cards and a mid-week hangover most likely.
Top Tier
Championed by Tanqueray Gin, mother’s ruin didn’t only feature in the drinks. The alcohol content in the gin & juniper cured salmon, which we demolished at lightening speed, did little to soak up the units so we made short work of the coriander flatbread and mouthwatering angelica root rubbed pork belly with apple slaw too.

Working systematically from bottom to top of the stand we moved onto the scones which had the perfect dark-gold outer crust and light-gold inner crumb, Splendid naked but even better with the addition of sweet jam and a slightly sour dollop of clotted cream.

A little squiggly around the edges by pudding and with appetites already satisfied, we agreed to sod the diet and attack the sweets. First, the elderflower panna cotta with a hot pink Tanqueray No.TEN jelly, smooth and delicious. Second, liquourice macaroons swollen with lime ganache, halloween-esque in appearance with a good crunch and chewy on the inside. Third and finally, the Tanqueray No.TEN & tonic chocolates. It was a best saved until last bit of luck - the tiny, cocoa dusted mouthfuls of squidgy chocolate wonderfulness made us ooh, ahh and contemplate asking for seconds.

It was only the espresso martinis which arrived at the table before we’d registered ordering them that stopped us in our gluttonous tracks.

Afternoon tea at The York and Albany is £24 per person, or £14 for a tea pot to share. More information and bookings HERE.

Charlotte Vowden is a travel & lifestyle journalist who is as happy in the mountains as she is sipping champagne and indulging on cake. Writing for The Sunday Times and other national publications keeps her busy but she’s always looking for her next adventure or afternoon tea destination.

Twitter: @charlottevowden

Thursday 11 September 2014

Drink Me: Alice in Wonderland at Whittard

Fall in love (and down the rabbit hole) with the beautiful new Alice in Wonderland range at Whittard - I certainly did!

Decorated with beautiful images, inspired by the novel's original artwork, this characterful collection is perfect for any White Rabbit lover and is a must for planning your own Mad Hatter's tea party. I have to admit that I was quite surprised by the newness of this range, as it seems a natural connection to make, however I'm thrilled that it's now in existence and available for purchase. 

As a little preview, Whittard were kind enough to send over a selection of items to test out, including a rather lovely Alice Mug (with pretty key handle detail) Drink Me tea selection and English Rose Tea Pouch & Infuser. As is typical with Whittards, the quality of these things is all top notch and I have to say that the English Rose tea has since become a firm fave of mine and one which I will definitely be buying again - check them out today!

Head in store or online today to view the full range!


Monday 1 September 2014

The Afternoon Tea Club Reviews: Bill's, Manchester

Just when we thought we had seen the best of Manchester’s Afternoon Tea range, an invitation arrived in our inbox for an afternoon at Bill's, a cool and welcoming restaurant with a history that originates from a small grocery store in East Sussex. 

Arriving during the parade festivities of Manchester Pride, Bill's is in a prime city centre spot and was perfect for views of the festival. Somehow the restaurant manages to be homely, rustic and yet hip, all at the same time. There are natural tones running throughout with lots of stripped back wooden details and exposed brick but also edgy interiors with industrial style lighting and glass panes.

There’s a warm welcome to compliment this with staff that cannot do enough for you and seem to have a genuine passion for the place. This was particularly evident when our Afternoon Tea arrived with a smile and a confident, “Don’t you think this is the best tea stand in Manchester?”

The presentation was absolutely gorgeous and different to anything we have seen before. The stand tiers expand so that each layer can be seen in all of its yummy glory.

We began with a selection of sandwiches including egg mayo, cucumber, ham and tomato and smoked salmon on a range of breads. No guesses as to which was our favourite!

Then came the fruit scones which remained lovely and warm even after we had spent about 10 minutes taking photos – blogging, it’s a hard life. They were nicely golden and came served with good dollops of strawberry jam and Devonshire clotted cream.

To finish we had a choice of cakes including chocolate cake, lemon cream pie, fresh strawberry tart and a lovely oaty fruity slice. A good balance of flavours and textures and just the right portions, meant we didn’t feel too overfull at the end – always a good thing.

We washed it all down with a nice big pot of tea. Upon looking at the menu and seeing the range of tea choices, we would have liked to have been given a choice of tea but a regular cuppa was lovely nonetheless.

You will be surprised to learn that all of that will set you back just £9.95 per person, making Bills one of the best value Afternoon Teas we have experienced. If you’re looking for a cool location, yummy cakes and a friendly atmosphere with a tiny price tag, Bill's is the place to go.

Bill's is located on John Dalton Street in Manchester. Afternoon tea costs £9.95 per person or £12.95 with a glass of hedgerow fizz. For more info and to book, visit their website

Afternoon Tea was kindly provided courtesy of Bill's Restaurant. However, as usual, all thoughts and opinions remain our own!

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