Afternoon tea review: Beas of Bloomsbury


On Saturday I went for afternoon tea with my friend at Beas of Bloomsbury in St Pauls. We originally went a month ago for coffee and cake but hadn’t found the service very good. Having been in touch with Bea herself, we were invited back for afternoon tea to recreate first impressions. We were greeted with a table upstairs where all the afternoon teas take place and the table was set out with fresh baguette portions and a cake stand adorned with cupcakes, scones and mini cakes. I liked the lights which were teapot shaped – thought it was a fun touch to the atmosphere.

Baguettes by Beas of Bloomsbury by Naomi LongworthWe were offered a selection of teas and coffees and iced water which came quickly. The food was very fresh and it was good to have baguettes rather than sandwiches to be a bit more substantial. Flavours included brie and ham, salami, and my friend had a soft cheese and veg one. It turned out my friend was cutting out sugar for Lent so she only tried a few bits of the afternoon tea. I, on the other hand tasted everything! I most enjoyed the millionaire shortbread square, nut and choc brownie and the pistachio macaron was to die for. The food was good quality and tasty. The only cake that let them down was the mini meringue which was a bit tough to bite in to. I wasn’t a massive fan of the homemade mango marshmellow because of the texture but thought it was something a bit different. There were so many other mini morsels to try that it didn’t matter too much if there was one you didn’t like. The scones were also fresh and broke in two easily and they went down a treat with strawberry jam and clotted cream. We had a lovely afternoon and really enjoyed it.

Close up of cupcake at Beas of Bloomsbury

Couple of things to note: there are only four tables for coffee and cake downstairs in winter, double that capacity on sunny days. If you want to go for afternoon tea then you need to book by email in advance. Everything is made to order based on the number of afternoon teas that day – this is to reduce food wastage and keep the price of the afternoon tea more affordable – £17 for full afternoon tea which I do think is good value. However, because of this sandwiches aren’t on the menu at weekends for those not having afternoon tea, nor are scones. Beas of Bloomsbury are looking into what they offer customers who aren’t coming for afternoon tea so you never know this might change.

Passionfruit frosted cupcakes and flat white and latte by Hannah CarmichaelI would recommend the afternoon tea – it was a lovely atmosphere and great fresh food plus good service. Hopefully the service is mirrored downstairs from now on and if you’re only wanting cake and drinks anyway then it’s not a problem that sandwiches aren’t provided.

Intro

Hi everyone,

This is my first blog post so I thought I’d tell you a little bit about myself, why I’ve started this baking blog, what I hope to achieve and hopefully this will be a fun journey (although a bit experimental on my part) for all those that decide to follow!A little bit about me – I’m Naomi Longworth, an energetic and enthusiastic PR professional. Lover of all things cake and discovering the gems/hidey holes of London. I love seeking out new (independent) cafes and trying out different cakes and drinking coffee.  Since moving to London (over three and a half years ago), I’ve had more time to experiment with baking and improve my skills.  My flatmates, friends and colleagues have been expert tasters ‘n’ testers over the years and given me the confidence to try new recipes.  What with all this tasting of cakes, to ensure I don’t turn into the size of a giant cupcake, I keep fit by playing hockey, jogging and am even trying a street dance class at the moment.

Enough of me – on to why I wanted to start the Cake takes the biscuit blog. Well, there’s been an explosion of interest in cupcakes over the last couple of years (in part due to places like Magnolia Bakery featured in Sex and the City) and a revival of people starting cake baking in the recession (see this Daily Telegraph article on research which suggests a third of people under 25 are regular cake bakers and see it as a ‘sexy activity’). Having started a collection of recipe books, it struck me that there are tons of cake and cupcakes recipes out there, but not all of them give the desired results and they certainly don’t turn out looking like cake beauties.

 So I decided it might be handy to chart my journey as experimenting cake cooker and reviewer of recipes – which ones are good and achieve those perfect cakes every time, which ones are yummy but need a little bit of tweaking and which ones should be avoided at all costs. Thrown in for a bit of variation will be reviews of dessert recipes, cafes and recipes books (once I’ve tested enough of the recipes in them!). Here’s a preview of one of the cupcakes I made last week. Coming soon will be a review of the Hummingbird Bakery’s vanilla cupcakes and further down the line will be a chocolate brownie bake off with my mate.

I’d encourage you to make comments, give your constructive differences of opinions or agreements and suggestions on links/articles/recipes/posts you think I might be interested in.

Like I say, this blog writing malarkey is a bit of an experiment and no doubt the content will evolve as I discover and learn new things – both about cake baking and blogging. Do bear with me but hopefully I can bring a little bit of humour and clarity to the cake baking/consuming world!

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