Saturday, 24 October 2020

24% off Buyagift -ends midnight Tuesday 27th October

 Just seen that buyagift are offering 24% off vouchers..... Just enter code MAGIC at checkout. Grab yourself a afternoon tea voucher or buy one as a Christmas present for a friend or loved one. 

Friday, 16 October 2020

Superb science themed afternoon tea - Ampersand Hotel - South Kensington London

 Wednesday 14th October 

I went to the Science themed afternoon tea at the Ampersand Hotel as a post Birthday treat from my mum which was so lovely in every way. 



I booked it via afternoontea.co.uk as they were doing special half price offer Tuesday to Thursdays up to end of October. It was priced at £22.25 each and worth every penny of that !!!!! 






SCIENCE AFTERNOON TEA

Savouries
Smoked salmon & avocado buckwheat blinis
Brioche with roast beef, watercress, cornichons
Chicken with sundried tomato & lemon mayonnaise bun
Seasonal quiche 

Homemade white chocolate and cranberry & plain scones
Served with Cornish clotted cream and homemade strawberry preserve
Passion fruit curd in a squeeze tube
Toppings: freeze dried raspberry, freeze dried pineapple, crunchy caramel

Pastries
Pear, ginger & mixed berries jelly in a petri dish
Dark chocolate & caramel planet mousse
Chocolate spaceman 
Plum & lime macaron
Coconut & orange half-moon cake 
Mini dinosaur biscuit & milk chocolate fossil hidden within chocolate "soil" 

It was served in The Drawing room which was small and cosy with lovely velvet and patterned fabric armchairs and sofas. It was a bright and modern decorated room. The tables were nicely laid out with China plates from Villeroy and Boch. My mum always likes to look at the bottom of the plates  to see what brand they are. 





Once seated the waiter handed us the menu and checked for any allergies. They seemed very accommodating and offered us alternative sandwiches and also made my mums without mayonnaise. We both ordered a cappuccino and glass of tap water. I noticed that there was only one other table in use......so not busy at all. This is surprising as it is such a good deal at half price!! 




The waiter brought out a little kidney dish with glass jugs and syringes ... He gave as a little card with instructions on how to make our own lemonade. It was a bit confusing but we managed to make a little jug each with the fruit flavours..... It did not taste that nice but was fun to do. I think if you had children with you they would love making it




After about 15 minutes the afternoon tea stand arrived and we got a whole stand each. I think this was only because we had different sandwiches each as I noticed the other table only got one stand between the two of them. 



The waiter explained what was on the stands and then poured water onto a China dish on the top stand to create smoke from dry ice...... Great effect 



Once the smoke had stopped we tucked into the sandwiches. I had two chicken ones , a mini quiche and a little brioche beef roll which was lovely . My Mum enjoyed her sandwich choices too . We both thought the quiche was a bit bland however the pastry was nice. I think it would of been nicer if it was warm. We were surprised to be offered more sandwiches which we turned down as wanted to save room for the scones and cakes. 


The scones were still slightly warm and we got a white chocolate and cranberry one each plus a plain one. There was a small pot of jam , plenty of clotted cream and a tube of mango puree, This looked like a toothpaste tube and it even had the silver foil seal which you had to piece with the top of the lid. 
As if that does not sound nice enough we also got 3 glass test tubes which contained dried raspberry , dried pineapple and salted caramel balls . We sprinkled these on top of the cream and jam on our scones, it gave them a lovely crunch and extra flavour....Delicious and such a good idea !!!!!!!

The white chocolate and cranberry scone was so nice I asked the waiter if we could have another one. He said yes but we had to wait about 15 minutes as they had to bake them fresh for us. It was well worth waiting for and we got some  more cream and jam to go with them. 

We were now feeling rather full but this did not stop us tucking into the cakes....


    First we had the coconut orange moon cake which was nice and had a crumbly texture . The green spaceman was made out of white chocolate. Then we had the jelly in the Petra dish which was OK and went well with the science theme. The macaroon looked and tasted amazing. I loved the little pipette of lemon syrup which you squeezed onto it ...this changed the flavour and went well with the plum and lime flavour . Lastly we had the chocolate ball which looked like a planet with the chocolate ring around it. I thought it was just a hollow ball on a circle of cake but was i wrong......it was a soft creamy chocolate mouse which was really nice. 




Once the cakes were gone the waiter placed a small wooden box on our table and informed us that we needed to use the paintbrush to dig inside to find a surprise....
This was a lovely end to a great afternoon tea 



We were both very impressed with this afternoon tea . The food was excellent  as was the service 




Nearest Station  : South Kensington High Street-  about 4 minute walk    
Best bits : The venue , service and the food  - basically everything 
Worst bits : None it was excellent 
Value for money :Yes and even at full price it was good for the quality of food and service  
would I go back?  :  Yes defiantly  















Sunday, 11 October 2020

Amazing sweet treats at Cake and Bubbles - Cafe Royal , Regent Street London



Saturday 10th October 2020 - MY BIRTHDAY

I booked this months ago as a special treat for my birthday. I had seen the restaurant on Masterchef and knew i wanted to go there as the desserts looked amazing and so different. The dessert are the creation of Albert Adrià ,voted The World’s Best Pastry Chef by The World’s 50 Best Restaurants.

The restaurant is attached to the side of Cafe Royal and is small in size and clad with Siena marble and has large windows looking onto Regent Street. It has an elegant and sophisticated feel yet relaxed and ideal to watch the world on Regent Street go by. It was very busy when we got there and all the tables were full . Our reserved table was in the window perfect for people watching.








The menu was small in the choices but sounded amazing and very different . We decided to have a bottle of champagne with the afternoon tea as it was my birthday after all !!!!!! Having already spent over £70 in the wine bar at Fortnum and Mason prior I decided to go for the cheapest bottle on the menu which was still £65. It was called N.V. Sophie Baron, Grande Réserve and very nice too.

The first course on the menu was Cakes & Bubbles Chocolate Cork, Baklava pistachio pillows, Golden Egg Flan and “After Eight” strawberry and chocolate marshmallow








First we both had the pistachio pillow .....OMG it was amazing. Light crispy pastry filled with a sweet cream and chopped pistachios. We both were blown away at how delicious it tasted. 





Next we had the golden egg which contained a creamy mouse with caramel in the bottom. Unfortunately the egg shell was not edible










Third came the chocolate cork which contained a hazelnut praline covered in a thin layer of chocolate sponge. It had the cake and bubbles name stamped into it which was cute and made it look more like a cork



THe last thing of this first course was the chocolate and mint marshmallow which was a strange shape


It was soft , light and fluffy in the centre with a slight rose taste and then at the end the mild taste of mint hits you . Very clever play on flavours and most enjoyable.



The second course was a surprise as the waiter handed us a real red rose each which had shiny sphere on top in the middle resting on the rose petals. It looked like a rain drop. The idea was to eat the sphere off the rose.......it burst in my mouth releasing a liquid flavoured with lychee, raspberry & rosewater. Amazing and so clever. We get to keep the roses  and take them home.

Last course was the one I was most looking forward to trying



The cheesecake which is for the adventurous: A new concept of the cheesecake, with Baron Bigod cheese, hazelnut and white chocolate. We got one each with a tray of little round biscuits which I guess are supposed to be like the biscuit base on a traditional cheesecake. It was so clever how the white chocolate coating looked just like the wax coating on a cheese. I excitedly dug my spoon into the chocolate shell and out oozed a soft velvety cream. This was defiantly worth waiting for as it was so creamy and not too sweet with a tiny hint of cheese. We used the crunchy biscuits to mop up the creamy cheesecake filling ...delicious . I wish I could of had another one I liked it that much.

AMAZING EXPERIENCE AND SO DIFFERENT TO A NORMAL AFTERNOON TEA


Nearest Station : Piccadilly Circus - about 4 minute walk
Best bits : The cheesecake however all the desserts were amazing
Worst bits :None
Value for money : The afternoon tea was priced at £34 per person which I guess is OK considering how different and amazing the food tasted and looked. However it was only sweet stuff and no sandwiches .
would I go back? : It was very different and special but now I have been I probably would not go back unless the menu changed.



Local Afternoon tea disapointing No homemade cakes or variety - Helen's Cafe , Chingford E4

 Friday 9th October 

I am a great believer in supporting local shops so as a pre birthday treat booked an afternoon tea with my mum and friends at a local coffee shop. Unfortunately it was rather disappointing as we was expecting some homemade cakes or scones. Instead we got supermarket loaf cakes sliced up.

I hate to give a negative review but want to be truthful as that is the whole reason for doing my blog. True honest personal reviews and unedited  photos. Do not get me wrong the sandwiches were OK and there was plenty of food on the plates so not completely bad 

I booked the afternoon tea a week in advance and was informed it would cost £16 each and we could have our own  little room at the back of the cafe. This sounded perfect as there was 4 of us plus my friends two young grandchildren. I mentioned that none of us eat fish and we wanted coffee instead of tea. 




When we arrived our table in the back room  was already laid out with the cake and sandwich stands. They were piled high with sandwiches garnished with cucumber slices and rocket leaves. The cakes stand had fresh strawberries on which was nice and dusted with icing sugar. 

We got a large pot of coffee which just tasted like instant coffee plus a jug of milk so we could help ourselves. Unfortunately we did not get a choice of coffee as a cappuccino would of been nice instead We also got a jug of water and some homemade lemonade in a jug. I did not have this but my friend said it tasted nice. 

We had three different types of sandwiches consisting of egg mayonnaise plus she did a special plain egg one for my mum . There was also plain cheese and a smoked ham sandwiches. They were nice and fresh but just a bit boring ......some pickle or tomato inside them would of been nicer. 

For the cakes we had a plain shop brought scone each and individual dishes or cream and jam each. The scones was not that nice as just tasted like a cheap basic shop one. As you know scones are my favourite part and to not have a fruit one was disappointing. We also got a coconut macaroon each. The cakes were just slices of shop brought loaf cakes which were all pretty similar in taste !!!!!!!!!!!!  Madeira lemon , coffee, plain madeira and angel cake.......No variety. 




Ok i get if that some cafes may not have the resources to offer homemade cakes however I noticed when paying that they did have some lovely looking homemade type cakes on  the counter. It would of been nice with the afternoon tea to have had more variety of cakes such as a chocolate one like a brownie or millionaires slice and some pretty coloured macaroons would of been nice too. I know you can get these in most shops as I had all the above when I did my own afternoon tea at home for Mothers Day. 

There is no excuse as i gave a weeks notice  so there was plenty of time to prepare it. 


We could not eat all the food so i must of took about 10 slices of cake home as shame to waste it 

I think Helen's cafe have let itself down of the afternoon tea as i will not be coming back for one in the near future.  


    
Best bits : Having the back room to ourselves and the fresh strawberries  
Worst bits : Lack of variety and fact that it was all shop brought cakes and scones  
Value for money : No for a local cafe it was expensive and defiantly not worth £16 each for what we got 
would I go back?  :  No  I would not    sorry Helen 


Saturday, 3 October 2020

Dry sandwiches and scones - secret garden domes Kensington London

 Saturday 3rd October

As my titles suggests i will not be recommending this afternoon tea........ 

Booked this after buying vouchers from Buyagift. It was £30 each including glass of Champagne. I went with my daughter and friend Michelle plus her daughter. It had been a while since all four of us had got together so was looking forward to it. 

The secret garden was outside  the Crowne Plaza hotel Kensington London. Upon arriving at hotel reception we were shown out to the garden which had 6 domes sat on artificial grass. Each dome had a pop star name.... Ours was David Bowie. It was large inside and could fit up to ten people.... However due to Covid you can only have max of six. Inside each pod was a large round table plus a portable heat if it was cold. We did not need to turn heater on even though it was a miserable rainy day. 

The waiter brought out four glasses of champagne and asked if we had any allergies. I informed him that my daughter and I do not eat fish. 

About 15 minutes later our afternoon tea arrived on two tea stands. Bottom and middle plate contained 4 sandwiches each and top plate three cakes each. We ordered some tea and coffees and my daughter had a hot chocolate.


The sandwich fillings were cream cheese and cucumber, ham and tomato , egg mayonnaise and smoked salmon. Unfortunately the bread was very dry so none of us enjoyed them which was a shame as we were hungry. 



About 30 minutes after finishing the sandwiches the waiter brought over a large plate of eight scones (four plain and four fruit) plus pot of jam and clotted cream. The scones were warm and looked delicious however they were very dry and did not taste very fresh. I was so disappointed as scones are what i look forward to most !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We still ate them all and asked for more jam and cream which the waiter brought along with more hot drinks. When passing my coffee to me he spilt some on table and just left it there along with our empty plates , cups and glasses. The table looked messy !!!!! 






After the scones we tucked into the cakes , one which had a little extra in the form of a very tiny spider stuck on the side of it !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Lucky my friends daughter spotted it.  It is possible it dropped down from the inside of the dome ceiling. Thank goodness it was only small otherwise my daughter would of run out screaming. We informed the waiter who apologised and replaced it along with an extra cake.  





The cakes were OK but two of them were just a very soft mouse texture plus we got a tiny brownie square and strawberry each ....bit disappointing.

We had a two hour slot in the dome which was plenty of time . There were no extra charges on top of the £30 but we left a small tip as the waiter did a OK job at serving us and the quality of the food was not his fault. 

Add caption


Nearest Station  : Gloucester Park -  about 2 minute walk    
Best bits : Close to station , glass of champagne  
Worst bits : Dry sandwiches and scones. lack of variety of cakes 
Value for money : Not really as food quality not up to standard expected 
would I go back?  :  Unfortunately No 





Sunday, 27 September 2020

Afternoon teas booked for October

 Its my Birthday in October so what better way to celebrate then going to an Afternoon tea......well 3 afternoon teas in my case and possibly a forth !!!!!!

First one is booked for next weekend with my daughter and my friend plus her daughter. It is at the Secret Garden which is tucked away in the back streets of Kensington . You have your own private pop-up dome which is named after an iconic singer from recent times.

https://afternoontea.co.uk/uk/london/kensington-chelsea/london-secret-garden/




Second one is actually on my Birthday and going with my hubby who will not admit he likes afternoon tea but he so does !!!!!!!!!!!!!

We are going to Cake and Bubbles which is inside Hotel Cafe Royal London. This was featured on Master Chef TV program about 2 years ago and i said then that I wanted to go there. 

Check out the menu below .......

Cakes & Bubbles is a dessert and Champagne experience by Albert Adrià where diners are invited to enjoy a parade of exceptional desserts alongside a curated selection of champagnes and sparkling wines. 

Available 2pm to 6pm Sweet Afternoon Bubbles Menu £32pp with a glass of Sophie Baron Brut £42pp 

First Cakes & Bubbles Chocolate Cork,

 1 unit Baklava pistachio pillows, 

2 units Golden Egg Flan “After Eight” strawberry and chocolate marshmallow 

Second The Rose: lychee, raspberry & rosewater

 Third The Cheese Cake with Baron Bigod Cheese, Hazelnut and White Chocolate





Third Afternoon Tea is the Science Afternoon Tea at the Ampersand London. This one i am going with my Mum  who does not know yet as only just booked it yesterday. Its such a great deal as 50% off . Check out my special offers page or click on link below 

https://afternoontea.co.uk/uk/london/kensington-chelsea/the-ampersand-hotel/offers/50-off-science-afternoon-tea-at-the-ampersand-hotel/





I will of course be posting my review plus photos once i have been to them 

 



Thursday, 24 September 2020

Millies Lounge at the Ned , London

 Wednesday 23rd September  

Today i had a lovely afternoon tea with my friend in Millies Lounge at The Ned, London . It was a good deal at £28 each including glass of Champagne. Even better when we got the bill , £10 each off that price due to the Eat out to Save scheme that they had extended till end September. Cost us just £24 each including service charge !!!!

My daughter kept telling me i must go there as the venue is really nice , she was defiantly right about that. The Ned is the City's disused Midland Bank building and opened in 2017. It hosts Eight restaurants amidst The Ned’s historic 3,000 square metre former banking hall, serving food from around the world.. It is also a hotel with 250 bedrooms . It still has many of the banks original features and it reminded me of New York. It had a busy buzzing feel to it and there seemed too be lots of work meetings taking place over lunch and drinks. In the background some great music could be heard but it was not over powering. 

Once seated we were handed a menu card with just scan codes of for the different menus. The afternoon tea menu merely stated assorted finger sandwiches , scones with cream and jam and cakes but it did list the different teas available. 

I ordered an Americana coffee and my friend ordered the Earl Grey tea. We was also served a glass of champagne each which was lovely. The waiter checked if we had any allergies and then about 10 minutes later the tea stand arrived 








The sandwiches were very tasty, we had 4 different ones . Coronation chicken , ham, cheese and pickle and  salmon plus a egg mayonnaise one . My favorite was the ham, cheese and pickle followed by the coronation chicken.. We were both surprised when the waiter brought  out a second plate of sandwiches without us even asking for them!!!!! We could only manage two more sandwiches each as wanted to leave room for the scones and cakes. 

We had two scones each one plain and one fruit plus pot of jam and very thick clotted cream ....Yum. Unfortunately the scones were not warm but very fresh and delicious with the jam and cream .Whilst tucking into the scones we both ordered another hot drink each. 

The top plate contained eight little cakes two of each type which is much better than having to cut them in half. 





The cakes consisted of a raspberry coconut tart, chocolate Black forest slice, Mango profiterole and an orange cream triangle. All of them tasted very good and looked very nice ...not sure which was my favorite ? 



We both thoroughly enjoyed the afternoon tea and both said how much we liked the venue and atmosphere. 

Finally i need to mention the ladies bathroom which was huge and very luxurious complete with Cowshed hand wash and lotion. 

Just outside of the bathroom is an little area with the old vault room and safe door ......great for taking photos. 

Great afternoon had by both of us  







Nearest Station  : Bank central line -  about 2 minute walk    
Best bits : The venue and atmosphere plus the food was very good too . Liked the fact we got extra sandwiches without having to ask !!!! 
Worst bits : None 
Value for money : Yes defo and even without the special offer .
would I go back?  :  Yes , was tempted to book for next Wednesday as last day of September !!!!