Tuesday 9 August 2016

5 Alternative Afternoon Teas

Looking for an alternative to traditional tea fare this Afternoon Tea Week? Here are five teas that have ditched the classic scones and finger sandwiches in favour of some unique combinations that are inspired by regional cuisine or simply just a bit quirky. 

Marco Pierre White’s New York, Italian Restaurant in Sheffield serves two types of Afternoon Tea but it’s the Italian choice that’s got our vote. Presented in a vintage wine box, the bruschetta and pastrami savouries are a welcome change to the traditional tea menu. Be warned, this Italian fare does away with traditional scones but there are so many sweet treats from cronuts to biscotti with dipping chocolate, you'll wonder why you ever thought you needed scones in the first place!
Price: £16.00pp or £19.95 with a glass of champagne. 

The Baltic Social in Liverpool’s hip Baltic Triangle offers an Afternoon Tea that’s about as far removed from traditional finger sandwiches and scones as you could imagine. Think meaty sliders, hot dogs, salted pretzels and pic ’n’ mix all served on cake stands made from vinyl plus a ‘boozy teapot’ and you’ve got just about the most punky Afternoon Tea ever. 
Price: £19.95pp www.thebalticsocial.com

For sushi fans out there, Australasia in Manchester has got you covered. Served in two waves on minimalist pyramid stands, you’ll find no cucumber sandwiches in sight. Instead guests can sample a medley of Asian bites including tuna, salmon and mushroom sushi, noodles and vegetable spring rolls before a selection of unique sweets including sweet spring rolls and chocolate and coconut roll. Plus you can team it with a cocktail - we recommend the flaming (literally) Bush Fire. 

Price: £25pp www.australasia.uk.com

Dim Sum
Another Asian-style tea but specialised in dim sum and regional Cantonese cuisine, this alternative tea is served at Le Chinois, a restaurant inside the Millennium Hotel, Knightsbridge London. Here you’ll find crispy shredded duck, wasabi prawns and red bean and panda mochi cake served with a selection of Chinese teas. 

Prefer your sandwiches a little chunkier or is a pie your pastry of choice? Then the gentleman’s Afternoon Tea at The Milestone, London is for you. Oozing old school glamour, this tea comes loaded with savoury bites including a mini toad in the hole, chicken lollipop and a trio of whiskeys to finish. 

Price: £36.50pp. www.milestonehotel.com

Have you tried an alternative Afternoon Tea? Let us know on Twitter @TeacupReview.

Monday 8 August 2016

Coffee Break: Crosstown Doughnut & Coffee Bar

On our visit to London last week for our Hello Kitty Afternoon Tea, we made sure we stopped off at a few spots for some extra sweet treats and one we just couldn't walk past was Crosstown Doughnut & Coffee Bar in Soho.

Even your classic glazed or chocolate rings have been taken up a notch here to make these doughnuts extra special. We picked up some raspberry jam doughnuts that were oozing with Crosstown's homemade seeded raspberry jam - amazing, we wish we'd picked up some more for the train home!

Crosstown's doughnuts are freshly made every day at the London bakery and they've got some really unusual flavours like Chilli Chocolate and Watermelon and Lime. You can even order for delivery within Central London - so if you want to score some points at the office today, look no further. 

Have you ever tried Crosstown Doughnuts?

Visit the website for details and locations:

Thursday 4 August 2016

Hello Kitty at Cutter & Squidge

Mimmy's Pink Lemonade
If there are four words that are going to have us jump on the next train to London, they are ‘Hello Kitty Afternoon Tea’. Throw in a Secret Garden and you’ve got two very excited bloggers.

Cutter & Squidge, a Soho-based cafe has been offering its Kitty-themed Afternoon Tea since June but it has proved so popular that even ATC couldn’t bag a booking before last weekend!

For this special tea, guests are guided by a trail of pink Hello Kitty bows to the downstairs Secret Garden which is suitably kitted out with artificial leafy green vines, flowers and a plush Hello Kitty tree. The tearoom itself is rather small so it’s not the quiet tea experience that some traditionalists may be familiar with, but the lively atmosphere complements the playful theme here well.

Kitty's Chocolate Mud Pie

To start guests are given an old school glass bottle of Mimmy’s Pink Lemonade and a choice of Loose Leaf tea including a special Hello Kitty blend. We went for our usual English Breakfast and Earl Grey.

The main event comes presented in a unique bamboo steamer style stand with a total of five layers to get through. The novel presentation did prove a little tricky on such a small table but nothing a little plate shuffling couldn’t fix. 

First we tucked into the sandwich selection which included cucumber and cream cheese, salmon and chives, cheese and red onion and the deliciously different, hummus and pepper. We just had to ask for more.

For the all-important scones, Cutter & Squidge have gone for a savoury twist offering cheese scones with red pepper relish and cream cheese. An interesting but fitting choice for such a sweets-heavy menu and there were also some delicious mini coronation crackers to go with it.

Savoury cheese scones

On to the sweets and there are whole three layers to work through but that’s never been a bad thing in our books. Particular highlights included the cake truffle, Kitty’s Chocolate Mud Pie and Mimmy’s Pink Lemonade Marshmallow which amazingly does have a real lemonade fizz to it. Many of the desserts come with a Kitty theme whether shaped like her, dyed pink or decorated with her signature bow. As pretty as some of the creations were we felt that the tea lacked the wow-factor that we had hoped for in a Kitty-themed palette and would have liked to have seen a bit more colour and fun thrown in to really make the most of the theme. That said some of the sweets tasted absolutely amazing and we would recommend even just popping into the shop for a slice of cake.

Tea with Kitty

The overall experience was pleasant and it was nice to try a tea with a fun twist. As you would expect from a Hello Kitty event, it’s very family friendly which, in such an intimate space might be a little off-putting to those used to the classic relaxed afternoon tea experience. On the other hand, it’s a good place to pass an afternoon during the school summer holidays that’s a treat for both parents and kids alike. 

Kitty cakes

At £40pp, the tea is on parr with neighbouring venues in the City and value-wise, everything is unlimited within your one hour and 20 minute time slot. Children (8 and under) can choose the Tiny Tea for £20pp. The Hello Kitty Afternoon Tea is available at Cutter & Squidge until 14th September. For more information and to book visit: http://cutterandsquidge.com/


Wednesday 3 August 2016

Coffee Break: Caramello, Didsbury

Last weekend I visited Caramello in Didsbury with my friend Catherine. Now I'm always excited to try out new coffee shops and this was no exception, having read about its launch a few days earlier.

As you can see from the picture above, we both opted for the GBBO challenge fave - the opera cake, with a side of gelato and cream. Having never had Opera cake before, I was excited to see what it was like and can now officially say that I'm a fan.

Carmello looks set to be a popular venue, so be sure to check it out if you ever get the chance!

They don't appear to have a website yet, but look them up on Facebook for lots of cakey goodness!

- Caroline

Tuesday 2 August 2016

Paul Young Chocolatiers, London

Just wanted to quickly share a couple of photos from our trip to London yesterday. Now this isn't strictly afternoon tea (that's to follow) but if you've been following us for a while you'll remember that we visited Harvey Nichols Manchester last year to try out chocolatier Paul A Young's afternoon tea. Well since then, we've had his chocolate on thd brain and couldn't resist stopping by his shop on Broadwick Street yesterday to pick up a box of treats to take home - delicious!

Have you ever tried Paul Young's treats?

Check out his website for more information and locations:
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