Sunday, 25 July 2021

Valerie Patisserie - not luxurious but still nice and good value

 Yesterday I took my mum to Valerie patisserie in Leicester Square London for a afternoon tea. 

I brought the voucher last year from buyagift at a price of £25 for two

You do not need to book in advance which was good as it did not matter what time we arrived there. 

It was only a 3 min walk from Leicester Square station which was handy. It was rather small inside with not that many tables, luckily there was space for us and we got a large table in the window . The tables were very basic and just bare with nothing on. 




I informed the waitress we wanted the afternoon tea and handed the voucher to her. She informed us that there was no menu for the afternoon tea and was just as it came so i let her know that we did not eat fish. She said there was no fish anyway and then took our order for hot drink. We both ordered a cappuccino which arrived soon after and was in a nice large cup. 

About 10 minutes later the tea stand arrived, it looked nice but not many cakes on the top tier.

The sandwiches were nice and fresh and consisted of egg mayonnaise mini brioche roll, roast chicken sandwich, cream cheese and cucumber sandwich , ham and mustard sandwich and a roasted vegetable sandwich. There was plentiful sandwiches compared to some afternoon teras i have been too. 

We got 2 scones each one plain and one raisin, they were generous in size too. There was a pot of strawberry jam each and a pot of clotted cream to share. Lucky for me my mum does not  like fresh cream  !!!!!!!!!!!!! I enjoyed the scones very much and ordered another coffee to go with them. 



Lastly we tucked into the 5 mini cakes .....



We had to cut three of them in half so we could both try them. They were very small in size but tasted nice. I think i liked the raspberry éclair best as the cream tasted of fresh raspberries. The chocolate one had caramel cream and there was also a carrot cake square and a custard mini tart topped with a raspberry. 

By the time we had finished all the food i felt very full and decided that although it had not been in a luxury posh venue the food and service was good and defiantly worth the money. We did not even get charged for the second hot drink which i think is good service 


Nearest Station : Leicester Square underground station - about 3 minute walk
Best bits : Fresh sandwiches and scones
Worst bits : The venue inside was dull and plain
Value for money : Yes it was at only £25 for both of us



Monday, 19 July 2021

Peter Pan themed afternoon tea at The Shard food OK but service disappointing

 Yesterday I went to the The Aqua Shard with my friend for the Peter Pan themed afternoon tea. 

The food was nice but the service let it down . It was not cheap at £52 each so when I booked I expected to receive excellent service ......sadly this was not the case





When we arrived we got  the fast lift up to the 31st floor and the Aqua restaurant. It was very busy with lots of full tables. We had a tiny table for 2 next to the window overlooking the Thames which was a very  nice view




We must of been seated for at least 15 minutes before a waiter came over and offered us a glass of water and handed us the menu. 

We both ordered a cappuccino each which came with a nice design on top 



The menu sounded nice especially the savory food which consisted of  a sausage roll , chicken sandwich , egg mayo sandwich , mushroom shaped brioche bread and a fish one shaped as a hook .



We waited another 15 minutes for the tea stand to arrive which was in the shape of a pirate ship was was very different, Next to our table was a special stand that the boat sat on. Which as a good job as it would not of fitted on our tiny table. 




They savory food  tasted very nice and bread was very fresh . We both liked the sausage roll one best. 
We was not asked if we wanted any more sandwiches which i thought was bad service for the price it cost. Not sure if they would of given us more if we had asked. 
The waiter did not even come over to us to top up our water glass so we had to ask him and also for more coffee. 




Next we tucked into the 3 cakes and little pot of jelly. They all tasted OK but nothing special. I think they looked nicer than what they tasted.  




My friend was going to take the Tinkerbell shaped biscuit home so left it on the table but then the waiter tried to take it away when he cleared the plates.....We managed to retrieve it back from him !!!!!

He should of asked first and then should of offered a box to take it home in. In the end my friend just ate it. 

We sat there chatting whilst they took the boat stand away and we waited for the scones to arrive.  

We waited and waited and waited and after at least 30 minutes my fiend asked if we was going to get the scones as i am sure they had forgotten . The waiter said yes they would bring them soon. 

15 minutes later they arrived on a plate instead of the treasure chest shaped box that other tables had got. We asked why they were not a box and the waiter said that they did not have any boxes !!!!!

My friend informed him that other people had theirs in the treasure box as this was all part of the whole themed experience. So they took them away on the plate and 5 minutes later brought them back in the box with some cream and jam in pots, 




The scones were very small and the raisin ones only had one raisin in each of them ....bit disappointing 

However they did taste quite nice and very buttery with a light crumbly texture which was nice. 

We had the last afternoon tea seating and as we had to wait so long for our scones we were the last table left. All around us the waiters were cleaning the tables and setting them up ready for the evening. They were also mopping the floor around us which I thought was not very polite. 

Though out the whole afternoon tea I think our waiter only asked us once if everything was OK. 

I noticed that they were quick to bring us the bill at the end 


 


Nearest Station : London Bridge station - about 5 minute walk
Best bits : View from the window and savory food
Worst bits : Service which was terrible 
Value for money : No have had much better for less money
would I go back? :  No I do not think so 









 

Saturday, 26 June 2021

National cream tea day - Pink lemonade scones

 Friday was national cream tea day .............so I just had to bake some scones and serve with clotted cream and Jam, not that I need an excuse !!!!!!  



To celebrate cream tea day I decided to make some pretty pink lemonade scones. They are easy to make and taste delicious. Served with strawberry jam  and then a thick layer of clotted cream 



INGREDIENTS125mls rose lemonade ( I used Tesco sugar free)

300g Self Raising Flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
50g caster sugar
125mls double cream crème
2 tablespoons milk

DIRECTIONS


 Pre-heat oven to 190C. 
Put the flour, salt and sugar into a mixing bowl, and then add the  cream and the lemonade. Mix well until it is combined into a soft dough, adding a little more cream if it is too dry.
 Turn the dough onto a floured board and knead lightly before pressing the dough out to a thickness of about 2cm.
 Cut the scones out with a round cutter, and place them onto a greased and/or lined baking tray. Glaze the tops with the milk. At this stage you can freeze some if you do not want to bake them all at once.
Bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until well risen and golden brown. Serve warm with jam and cream, as well as a glass of rose lemonade!














Sunday, 20 June 2021

Bottomless prosecco afternoon tea at Cavendish hotel Mayfair London

 Who can resist a afternoon tea with 90 minutes of free flowing Prosecco...... certainly not me especially when it's such a great deal at £65 for two. The two being myself and my husband who loves them too.....however he will not admit it in front of his rugby mates. 



The Cavendish hotel is situated behind the famous Fortnum and Mason store in London. 
Its a contemporary and stylish 4 star hotel located in the very heart of Mayfair & Piccadilly, on the corner of Duke Street and Jermyn Street, The Cavendish London has been a hotel on its present site since 1966

The afternoon tea is served in a large open room on the first floor. It has windows overlooking the street below and lots of tables and chairs. When we arrived we were the first people to be seated but within 30 minutes after it started to get full and busy serving afternoon teas.



There was a paper menu already on the table and we were offered straight away a glass of Prosecco and I asked for a glass of tap water too. Through out the afternoon tea our glass was constantly being topped up for the duration of 90 minutes . It was nice Prosecco too ...not too dry .  We ordered tea and coffee whilst waiting for the food. About 15 minutes later the tea stand arrived. The waitress that served us was very nice and looked after us during the tea, checking if all was ok and keeping our drinks topped up. 



I was surprised to see the sandwiches were all open topped which meant less bread but I did not mind as they looked and tasted very nice. I liked the egg mayonnaise one best with the tiny egg on top and the cucumber one was very nice too. We did not get offered more sandwiches which I did not expect considering the price !!!!!!!!






The scones had gone cold by the time we had them but they were very fresh and tasty. We got a plain one and raisin one each . There was just enough cream and jam for both of us. 

My husband is not a lover of scones but he always manages to eat them !!






Lastly we tucked into the four cakes we had each . They did not look or taste anything special. The lemon tart pastry case had gone soft instead of being crispy which was a shame. I think it may of been frozen previously or kept in the fridge. Overall the cakes were ok but did not have much flavour . 





We both had a nice afternoon drinking the Prosecco and afterwards we went to Fortnum and Mason store to buy some of there biscuits in the tall tins. Our favourite is Tollolossus....they are amazing 

Nearest Station : Green Park - about 10 minute walk
Best bits : Nice sandwiches and Free flowing Prosecco plus the price 
Worst bits : Cakes as not much flavour and lemon tart pastry soft 
Value for money : Yes defiantly for the Prosecco and service  
would I go back? : Not sure ..I would not rush to go back but never say never 












Sunday, 13 June 2021

Fabulous themed afternoon tea at 5 star Taj51 hotel

 Today I took my mum to s wonderful afternoon tea in the 5 star hotel Taj in London near Buckingham palace. They currently offer two types of afternoon tea , Alice Queen of hearts theme and Indian inspired one. I choose the Alice Queen of Hearts themed one to take my mum too. The Indian one looked nice and very different, I think I will try this one with my hubby another time. The Afternoon tea is priced at £45 each. I got it cheaper by buying a Buyagift voucher when they were offering a discount saving me just over £20 



The hotel looked amazing and was set around a lovely court yard with a fountain in the middle. As well as a hotel there were residential suites which overlooked the court yard. It reminded me of the hotels in Dubai as similar style.

When we arrived we went to the wrong entrance but was shown the way by a very helpful doorman. As we was led through the hotel and court yard the staff all greeted us as we walked past them. I knew it was going to be a very good afternoon tea. 




Our table was nicely laid with Alice in Wonderland china from the Victoria and Albert museum collection and dotted around the room were fabric decorated top hats on stands to go with the theme. 



The menu sounded very nice indeed. We both ordered a 

cappuccino and was given a glass of tap water whilst waiting 

for the food to arrive


The waitress approached our table with two cupcakes and placed them on the small china stand and told us that these were red velvet cupcakes to start the afternoon tea off. Wow they looked amazing and also tasted amazing ........ I think it was the best cupcake I have ever had ......either that or I was just so hungry as skipped breakfast !!!!! We were both impressed and looking forward to what was coming next




 

Whilst we were tucking into these the waitress brought out the rest of the food which was served on plates for the sandwiches, gold stand for scones and a glass chess board for the cakes 






My mum got her own plate of 4 sandwiches as she does not like mayonnaise or mustard. She enjoyed them all which is not always the case as she is fussy and not very adventurous with savoury food. 

My favourite one I had was coronation chicken  so when the waitress asked if we wanted anymore I asked for another one of these.  Afterwards I wish I had not as by end of the tea I was very full up. 



Scones were next to eat and these were still slightly warm so very fresh and tasty. We had a golden raisin one each and a plain one. Served with homemade strawberry jam which was really nice and clotted cream. They were light and not dry so I enjoyed them very much 


Whilst tucking into these we ordered another coffee each and our water glass was constantly being topped up throughout the tea. 

The cakes were very red in colour which was in with the Queen of hearts theme. They were decorated so well and it was a shame to eat them . There must of been a lot of work gone into them by the pastry chefs. 



There was plenty of cakes, 5 each not including the cupcake we had at the start. Very generous as most teas you only get about 4 cakes each. 

Below I have listed the cake names and description of them. They all tasted very nice indeed and did not disappoint

Running Late - a strawberry pocket watch macaron, intrinsically decorated with milk chocolate piping

 Checkmate – a redcurrant and chocolate Battenberg cake in the style of a classic checker board

 Tea Party at 6 – a dark chocolate hat, fitting for a mad-hatters tea party 



 Royal Flush - a mouth-watering orange semolina cake, adorned with fresh strawberries and blackberries in a chess-like formation.

Off With Their Heads - a delicious banana moelleux with a raspberry crémeux dress


It was such a lovely afternoon tea and the service was 5 star. 

It is defiantly in the same league as the  afternoon teas I have had at the Savoy and the Renaissance Hotel.




Nearest Station : Victoria station - about 10 minute walk
Best bits : Excellent service and amazing cakes . Also the amount of food we got for the price.
Worst bits : None
Value for money : Yes defiantly
would I go back? : Yes I will be going back soon with my husband to try the Indian themed one.

 



Friday, 4 June 2021

Carrot and pistachio bundt cake

 Today I made this delicious cake using my Bundt tin that my mum gave me . She no longer bakes and leaves it to me now to try out all the recipes. I do not mind as I enjoy making them nearly as much as I enjoy eating them !!!




It's simple to make and recipe is below

Ingredients

180g shelled pistachio

300g plain flour

1tsp baking powder

1/2tsp bicarbonate of soda

2tsp mixed spice

2tsp ground cinnamon

1/2tsp salt

Zest of 1 orange

300ml sunflower oil

280g light muscovado sugar

4 eggs lightly beaten

3 medium-sized carrots grated

Topping

120g cream cheese

240g to 300g icing sugar to make thick spreading consistency

Orange zest

Pistachio nuts

1 tsp maple syrup

Method

Preheat oven to 180/160 fan Celsius

Grease a large Bundt  tin with butter making sure you completely cover inside

Coarsely chop 150g pistachios and add to a large bowl with the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, spices, salt and orange zest saving some for top of the cake

In another bowl whisk together the oil, sugar, and eggs then add in the grated carrot. 

Add this liquid mixture to the bowl of dry ingredients and mix together until fully combined. 

Pour this into the prepared tin and put in the preheated oven for approx 45 minutes. To check if cooked insert skewer in middle of cake and if it comes out clean it is cooked

Whilst cake cooking put the remaining pistachio nuts on a baking tray and spoon over a tsp  of maple syrup.  Put in oven for about 5 to 10 minutes to they just lightly browned. 

Remove and leave to cool before chopping up. 

Remove the cake from the oven and leave to cool in tin for 30 minutes. Then carefully remove from tin 

Leave cake to cool completely before putting on the topping. 

To make topping mix together the cream cheese and icing sugar until it forms  a thick spreading consistency. 

Spread this over the top of the cooked cake and slightly down the side.  Top with the chopped maple syrup pistachio nuts and remaining grated orange zest. 

Keep the cake in the fridge ......ENJOY























Thursday, 3 June 2021

Galvin at Athenaeum hotel Mayfair London

 Lovely afternoon tea with my hubby at a great London hotel. We had been here for dinner before but never an afternoon tea. When I saw the voucher on buyagift over a year ago I decided to give it a go as reasonably priced at £49 for both of us .



The hotel was just a short stroll from Green park underground station which was easy for us to get too. It's a medium-sized hotel with a modern luxurious feel . 

It was a very sunny day so we wanted to sit outside on the small private pavement terrace but there was no shade so ended up sitting inside. If we had stayed outside the cakes would of melted in next to no time !!!

Inside we sat at a low style table with large modern comfy chairs in a secluded corner of the restaurant. It was very quite and had a relaxing feel. The table was layed out nicely with crisp white napkins. 




We were handed the menu and given a glass of Prosecco each which went down a treat . You know me love a glass of bubbles,,🥂

The menu sounded nice especially the cakes. 

https://www.athenaeumhotel.com/restaurant-bar/afternoon-tea/


We only had to wait about 15 minutes for the tea stand to arrive and was offered tea or coffee whilst waiting. My husband had the English breakfast tea and I just ordered a cappuccino.



We had 4 fingers sandwiches each with nice variety of fillings. I liked the chicken one best with the tarragon mustard. 

We got a plain scone and a raisin scone each with a pot of Tiptree Strawberry jam and a pot of raspberry jam. Alongside this was a pot of clotted cream which was more than ample to go with the scones. They were not warm by the time we had them but still very nice and fresh. 

The top tier of cakes looked very nicely decorated and we had five each which was plenty. They consisted of a cheesecake one, lemon and almond cake , strawberry and cream sponge roll , raspberry and pistachio mousse and instead of a macaroon we got a chocolate lollipop filled with sorbet . 

They all tasted very nice but I think my favourite was the lemon one 






Whislt enjoying the cakes we had more hot drinks to finish off with. By the end i was very full and happy with the food and service , both of which were great. 


Nearest Station  : Green Park underground -  about 8 minute walk    
Best bits : Lovely decorated cakes 
worsts bits  : None to mention 
Value for money : Yes if you can get a voucher defiantly. Full price £39 each    
would I go back?  :  Yes i would