Welcome to our blog....here we will share all our afternoon tea adventures with you...the good, the bad and the wonderful!

Sunday, 5 August 2018

Time for Cupcakes.....Hummingbird Bakery, Guildford

Hello there,

Welcome back to Tea With Me and Friends - this week I've been on a staycation, enjoying the glorious summer in the UK and eating the odd cake or two!

When Hummingbird Bakery opened a shop in Guildford earlier this year it was welcomed with queues along the street of hungry cupcake lovers! The photos of the queues on social media were quite amazing! For anyone not familiar with Hummingbird Bakery - they arrived in London in 2004 and are famous for their American style cakes and cupcakes. Fast forward a couple of months and its a random Tuesday lunchtime when I pop by, no queues great me....but I do find a wonderful selection of cakes and cupcakes to drool over!

Hummingbird Bakery Guildford - what to pick?

Hummingbird Bakery Guildford - lots of cupcakes!

The bakery itself is light and airy and very pretty, decorated in pinks and greys. 

There were two friendly servers working at the time, both were welcoming and very knowledgeable about the cakes on offer. Hummingbird Bakery prides themselves on serving delicious, fresh cakes, something they achieve by each branch having its own kitchen, with dedicated bakers and cake decorators.

Cupcakes include salted caramel, red velvet, carrot cake, chocolate and vanilla to name just a few. They also sell slices of large cakes, traybakes and whoopie pies. After asking the servers which were their favourites (something I always like to find out) I opted for a salted caramel cupcake and a cup of coffee.


Hummingbird Bakery Guildford - salted caramel cupcake

Please ignore Niffler in my photos - I'd just bought him and was having a bit of a geeky moment! 

The cupcake was light and moist and had a wonderful chocolate flavour. The frosting was super sweet and encased a dollop of dulce de leche, but sprinkled on the top was just the right amount of sea salt and this combination was wonderful as it balanced everything out. The cake tasted fresh and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

I think part of the joy of eating at Hummingbird Bakery is definitely the surroundings, I loved the colours used and the general atmosphere which was relaxed and friendly.



I'll definitely be popping back to try the other cupcakes....it might take me a while to work through the menu though! For more information about Hummingbird Bakery please visit their website.

Do you have a favourite Hummingbird Bakery flavour - we'd love to hear about it!

Thank you for popping by today,
Rachel

Sunday, 8 July 2018

Afternoon Tea News - CUTcakes & Tea at CUT at 45 Park Lane

Hello there,

Welcome back to Tea With Me and Friends - we have some exciting news for you today. A brand new American style afternoon tea is coming to London from Wolfgang Puck's debut restaurant in Europe - CUT!

CUT is an American steak restaurant which is situated on Park Lane and this is an afternoon tea which differs from the norm as there is not a traditional finger sandwich in sight! Instead executive chef, David McIntyre, invites guests to enjoy delights such as Wagyu beef sliders and black truffle grilled cheese toasties. Just take a look at the savoury and sweet bites you can enjoy....

CUTcakes and Tea afternoon tea - CUT at 45 Park Lane

The savoury bites include...

Black Truffle Grilled Cheese
Fried Chicken & Buttermilk Bisquet, Honey-JalapeƱo Jam
Tuna Tartare ‘Sandwich’, Avocado, Ginger
Lobster Po’Boy, Homemade Brioche, Herb Remoulade
Wagyu Beef Slider, Garlic Aioli, Sweet Pickle

Lobster Po Boy and mini Wagyu beef sliders at CUT

While those with a sweet tooth can enjoy....

Strawberry Milkshake
Graham Cracker S’mores
Peanut Butter & Jelly Twinkie
Cola Cake & Caramel Corn
‘Cheeseburger’ Macaron
Scones, Clotted Cream, Strawberry & Huckleberry Compote
Pink Lemonade Cake Pop
Cookies & Cream Cake Pop
New York Cheesecake Pop 

Look at those cake pops and milkshake! CUT at 45 Park Lane

I think it looks and sounds so scrummy! I'm not even sure where I would start with either the savoury bites or the sweet bites! I think this is definitely one I am adding to my wish list!

You can find out more about this afternoon tea on the CUT at 45 Park Lane website. If you enjoy this afternoon tea we'd love to hear all about it!

Thank you for popping by today,
Rachel & Lorna

Friday, 6 July 2018

Time for something really different....all aboard The Murder Express!

Hello there,

Welcome back to Tea With Me and Friends - we hope you're having a tea-riffic week!

Recently Becca and I attended an immersive lunchtime experience in London that I wanted to share with you. There is not a drop of tea in sight nor a single cake nor scone (although there was some clotted cream with pudding!) .....but we enjoyed it so much that I had to share the experience with you.

All aboard The Murder Express!

Pedley Street Station - get ready to board the train!

This immersive experience takes you straight back to the glamorous train travel of the 1920s. Guests are invited to dress in 1920s fashions or come in modern clothes, as it was the middle of the day we opted to stay modern, but I imagine it would be great fun to dress up!

You arrive at "Pedley Street Station" at your allotted time and are immediately whisked into the story as you order a drink at "Seven Sins" bar and wait to board the train. The story starts to unfold before you board as you meet some of the characters in the bar area - remember this is an immersive experience!


 

Once on board you are seated in the elegant dining car, which is made up of plush booth seating with all the period fittings.  During our lunchtime visit the dining car wasn't full and so we enjoyed a booth to ourselves, but dining with other guests would be just as much fun as the story of the Murder Express unfolds around you. The theme is brilliant - the train looks authentic and is very comfortable. We loved the booth seating!

Along the journey you meet characters such as Frank, an East End Costermonger, Tilley, a music hall star, Vera, a widow in search of adventure and Cliff, a local antique dealer as you all journey to the town of Murder. There was plenty of interaction with the cast as the story is told, you really feel part of the events

The story is well paced with the three course meal being served throughout the experience. The menu is designed by BBC One’s MasterChef 2016 finalists, Billy and Jack, and cooked by the Funicular kitchen.

The meal begins which a rich Mulligatawny soup which is flavoured with Indian spices and served with an Indian spiced open cucumber sandwich. The soup was really tasty and I enjoyed the light and delicate open sandwich, which complimented the soup well.

The main dish was steak and buttery scalloped potatoes. We were really impressed with the portion size and enjoyed the steak a lot. Finally we enjoyed an apple tart with a dollop of clotted cream - which was divine!

Starters - rich, flavoursome soup


So much steak!

Throughout your meal you can order more drinks from the bar. 
As we were celebrating a Birthday we treated ourselves to a bottle of bubbles.....just look at the ice bucket that we were given.... (I got to carry the suitcase as luggage as we boarded the train!)

Bubbles on the Murder Express - that ice bucket!!

Towards the end of the experience the story comes to an end, I'm not going to ruin the ending for you, but we thoroughly enjoyed the whole story. During the two hour slot we laughed, we were shocked, we sang and we ate really good food!

If you are looking for something different to experience with a group of friends I would really recommend a trip on the Murder Express. The cast are friendly and entertaining, the theme and styling is great and we really enjoyed our meal.

To find out more pop by the Funicular Productions website. I hear there are going to be more experiences later in the year and I'll definitely be watching out for them!

Thank you for popping by today,
Rachel

Wednesday, 20 June 2018

Time for.....some afternoon tea chocolates!

Hello there!

Welcome back to Tea With me and Friends - we hope you're well today.

Recently I spotted a box of chocolates in Marks and Spencers that caught my attention.....


Yes, it's a box of chocolates inspired by classic British desserts and afternoon tea! As you can imagine I decided quite quickly that I needed to sample a box.....purely for research purposes!
 
The selection includes eight different chocolates, covering white, milk and dark chocolate. With inspiration for the fillings coming from both traditional puddings such as jam roly poly pudding and banoffee pie, and afternoon tea treats like bakewell tart and strawberries and cream.

Take a look at the menu....


When I first opened the box the smell of chocolate was so strong it made my mouth water - always a good sign! But would it be all style and no substance for these chocolates?

As I have a really sweet tooth and usually like most chocolates I thought I would recruit someone else (with a slightly less sweet tooth) to help give a more balanced view. My partner in crime for this review is my boyfriend Joe - he loves a cup of tea and his favourite cake is plain vanilla.....he puts jam on his scones before cream, but I suppose I'll let that slide for now. 

Joe declared that the chocolates looked posh when he first saw them (he's not usually a fan of fancy chocolates), but when he looked at the menu he seemed a bit more excited. 

He decided to try the banoffee pie chocolate first....


As you can see the chocolate has a thick milk chocolate shell, with a soft caramel and banana filling. Joe enjoyed the chocolate and described it as liquid banoffee pie. Not so good was the sticky toffee pudding, which featured a toffee mousse in a milk chocolate case. Although there was a toffee flavour, it wasn't particularly reminiscent of a real sticky toffee pud which was a bit disappointing. The mousse was also more like a heavy ganache.

However, overall Joe thought that if you like chocolates and you like puddings, you're probably going to like these chocolates!

I was tempted by the strawberries and cream chocolate and the bakewell tart....


I'm not normally a white chocolate fan, but in this chocolate it complemented the strawberry and cream ganache filling. Again, there is a good shell of chocolate encasing the filling. It was quite a rich chocolate....but I could imagine myself enjoying a couple of these with a glass of prosecco!


The bakewell tart chocolate had a weird texture which I couldn't quite put my finger on. However the flavour of almonds and cherries was very delicate and well balanced with the milk chocolate.

Overall this was a good box of chocolates, with a variety of different fillings. They would probably make a nice end to a meal at home with friends if you didn't fancy making pudding.....or you could keep them to yourself and just gobble them down with a cup of tea (I won't tell anyone I promise!).


Have you tried any afternoon tea inspired chocolate that we should try? 
We'd love to hear your recommendations!

Thank you for popping by today,
Rachel & Joe

Saturday, 16 June 2018

Time for.....A Delicious History Tour

Hello there,

Welcome back to Tea With Me and Friends - we hope you're feeling tea-riffic today.

In this post we wanted to share a slightly different experience with you, as recently Lorna and I enjoyed a "Delicious History" tour around Fortnum and Mason in London. The tour takes you on a journey throughout the 311 year history of the store, including meeting some of the present day store employees and enjoying some delicious samples.

I'm a big fan of the food hall at Fortnums and the general shopping experience (even if a lot of the items are out of my price range) and I also love social history, so I've wanted to do this tour for a while.

 Tours take place about once a month and involve a small group being taken around the store over a period of approximately two hours. The tour is led by Fortnum's in-house historian and archivist, Dr. Andrea Tanner, who is extremely knowledgeable about the store and it's history. 

Fortnum's started as a small grocery shop in St James's Market in 1707 by William Fortnum and Hugh Mason, they built their reputation on supplying quality food, and saw rapid growth throughout the Victorian era. During its history Fortnum's has been an inventor (the Scotch egg), have been a provider to Royalty and soldiers alike, introduced Heinz baked beans to Britain and supported many British producers. Today the store sells products across various departments and prides itself on providing customers with an individual shopping experience.




The tour begins at the top of the building in the Diamond Jubliee Tee Salon and then moves down the store, spending time on each of the floors. Dr Tanner delivers the tour with humour and makes the time fly by as she tells tales from history and introduces the group to current store employees. The group also get to enjoy some delicious food and drink samples during the tour. 



Dr Tanner was happy to answer any questions that we had and we felt like to learnt a lot during the couple of hours we spent on the tour. There was also a special treat at the end of the tour, but I won't ruin the surprise!

We thoroughly enjoyed our experience and would recommend it to anyone interested in the history of this beautiful store. For more information pop by the Fortnum and Mason website.

Have you enjoyed an unusual foodie tour anywhere? We'd love to hear all about it!

Thank you for popping by today,
Rachel & Lorna