I’ve been promising my mum afternoon tea for weeks, and finally settled on Patisserie Valerie for a number of reasons. Firstly, and most importantly, the menu for their afternoon tea sounded scrummy. Next, I knew from past experience that they do a damn good cake. Finally, £25 for two people sounded like a pretty good deal to me. So, I booked a table and off we went to enjoy an afternoon out.
Neither of us being coffee drinkers, we both elected to have tea. We were brought a small pot of tea each – we got about two cups from each pot – and told that there were free refills, something we were both very glad to hear. As I had phoned ahead, we didn’t have to wait long for our three tiered cake stand to arrive – a very good thing given how hungry I was! The bottom tier consisted of ten finger sandwiches in five varieties, plus two mini quiches. Not the biggest fan of eggs, I started with the egg mayonnaise and cress sandwich. It needed salt, but I didn’t hate the three bites of sandwich on my plate. The rest of the sandwiches were filled with ham and mustard, salmon and cream cheese, cucumber, and chicken, sun blushed tomatoes and pesto. All the sandwiches were nice, especially the ham and the chicken, but the salmon one could have used a little more cream cheese as it was slightly dry. The tomato and pepper quiche was also very nice. Not normally a fan of cold quiche, I didn’t expect to like the bite sized tart, but the filling was predominantly cheese and it had a nice crisp pastry.
Before we moved on to the second tier, we required a tea refill – not a problem for the staff when we finally managed to catch someone’s attention. The next tier consisted of mini scones – two plain and two fruit – a pot of clotted cream, and a pot each of strawberry, raspberry and blackberry jam. Personally, I go for cream then jam, whilst mum likes to go with jam then cream – I’ll let you decide whose side you’re on for that one! The scones had a nice flavour, but didn’t have the freshness we would have liked – we figured they were probably a day old. However, the cream and jam saved them from being dry and we enjoyed them just the same.
Finally we reached the top tier, filled with six mini cakes. However, before we made a start we required – yep, you guessed it – another tea refill. Again this was no issue, and the waiter promptly returned with our teapots. This meant we could turn our attention to the cakes – two mini chocolate éclairs, a mini carrot and walnut cake, a mini victoria sponge, a mini mixed berry mousse slice and a mini double chocolate mousse slice. We had one éclair each and halved each of the others so we could both have a little taste of everything. Every single one was lovely, and all beautifully light. The mixed berry mousse slice was tart and sweet, the carrot cake light and fluffy and the double chocolate mousse slice was rich and decadent.
The only issue of the day came when I asked for the bill – I was brought a bill for not just the two afternoon teas but two extra teas as well. I explained to the waiter that I had been told the refills were free, and he took the bill back to another member of staff who rectified the problem – I don’t think the waiter himself had much of a clue. Unfortunately, they never explained whether it had happened because we were only allowed one free refill, or if it was a purely coincidental error, however they fixed it promptly and without debate so that a minor issue did not spoil an otherwise very enjoyable afternoon.
On leaving, we both commented on how we felt neither hungry nor overly full – a sign that this afternoon tea provided just the right amount of food. Overall, we had a very enjoyable experience and would definitely return.