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.

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Afternoon tea review: The Orangery

Kensington Gardens, afternoon teaOn Saturday I visited the Orangery in Kensington Gardens for afternoon tea with my friend. It was a beautiful sunny day so we didn’t mind waiting too much for a table. Unfortunately you can’t book in advance. We opted to sit inside so we could enjoy the atmosphere of this grand building. Each table has a little mini orange tree on it which is a nice addition. We chose the signature afternoon tea and an enchanted palace afternoon tea. The afternoon tea was on the whole very good although I have a couple of small gripes. The sandwiches could have been a little fresher – when eating finger sandwiches it is immediately apparent if they’ve been sitting about for a while. The scone although tasty was a little undercooked and heavy. On the plus side, the passionfruit mini tart was to die for. We couldn’t believe the people at the next table left theirs! They missed a treat. We loved the little cakes from the enchanted palace afternoon tea – a mini chocolate ganache gateau and a heart shaped shortbread with raspberries. We polished off everything! I am trying to avoid caffeine at the moment and there was no problem to swap the included tea or coffee for another soft drink. The homemade lemonade was refreshing and simple. Overall we really enjoyed the afternoon tea and would recommend it. However, be aware that at the weekends service is slow and staff seem content to keep the pace that way, even when there is a queue of people and the odd table is empty. Perhaps visit in the week if you’re on holiday or go with the mindset that you will be taking a very leisurely afternoon tea.

Wallace Collection – afternoon tea at the Wallace restaurant – take 2

Afternoon tea at the Wallace Restaurant in the Wallace Collection A couple of weeks ago, my friend and I re-visited the Wallace Restaurant in the Wallace Collection for a second afternoon tea. (You can read about the first review here). This time we tried the Parisian afternoon tea priced at £24.50. Unfortunately the first time we visited we hadn’t experienced timely service and so the restaurant manager invited us back for complimentary champagne and afternoon tea. We were greeted with two very attentive waiters, one for each of us to push our chairs in! My friend is a vegeterian so I would recommend asking for the English afternoon tea rather than the Parisian one if you are too. The waiter was happy to adapt the afternoon tea though and brought my friend a small selection of cheeses with some grapes.  In the meantime, I tucked into foie gras, goose pate and salmon gravalax with melba toasts.  All were quite tasty but the goose rilette was rather heavy as you would expect. Parisian afternoon tea at the Wallace Restaurant in the Wallace CollectionOn to the cakes, the best bit clearly! There were six in total. I must admit I wasn’t blown away by the majority of them – there was a chocolate raspberry fancy on a lollipop, a treacle tart slice with a hint of orange, a lemon tart slice which I enjoyed the most and a couple of other cakey treats.  From a cake perspective, whilst you couldn’t criticise quantity, having now sampled the English and the Parisian afternoon tea, I would actually choose the English one.  The atmosphere is very serene in the Wallace Restaurant, especially on a sunny afternoon and the perfect compliment for me would be a large scone with lashings of raspberry jam. I actually think I would get just as much enjoyment from having a scone there than splashing out more cash on the full afternoon tea works. If you’ve had an afternoon tea at the Wallace Restaurant, I’d be interested to hear your verdict on it.

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