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

Saturday, 20 February 2016

Time for Tea.....Scoff and Banter, Oxford Street

Hello there,

Welcome back to Tea With Me and Friends - we hope you are well today. Last weekend Becca and I enjoyed a rather unique afternoon tea at a fairly new tearoom just off Oxford Street. Scoff and Banter was been open for about eight months now, and offers guests the chance to personalise their afternoon tea experience - picking items from a menu.

When we heard about this afternoon tea experience we knew we needed to give it a try, and our timing was perfect as Scoff and Banter were running an offer that gives guests enjoying an afternoon tea a bottle of Prosecco to enjoy too!

The tearoom itself is located just off Oxford Street, on the second floor of a hotel (perfect for a mid-shopping break!). It's a light and modern tearoom, with a lovely feel to it....

Scoff and Banter, London

Lot's of wooden furniture, pretty china and white linen

Afternoon tea at Scoff and Banter, London

Once hot beverages have been selected you are left to peruse the menu, which is split into four different sections - hot dishes, scones, sandwiches and desserts. Each guest can pick two options from each section of the menu. The hot dishes include items such as Lobster brandy soup with a warm cheese scone or Oysters Rockefeller and the scones include a savoury cheese scone and chocolate version. In the sandwiches you will find Rare venison, gin and tonic relish on rye bread or a traditional Cucumber on white bloomer. The desserts menu includes a fresh strawberry tart with whipped cream and a Chocolate whisky cake. You really are spoilt for choice with this menu!

Once you have ordered, the hot dishes are brought out first - served on plain white china. 

Hot dishes at Scoff and Banter, London

As you can see the portion sizes are rather generous! Becca and I both decided to try the warm caramelised onion tart (on the left in the photo above), which was scrummy. The pastry was buttery and rich, and the filling was creamy and full of onion. Becca had the Lamb cutlet (also pictured above) which she thoroughly enjoyed and I had a small bowl of Sticky Beijing fillet of beef which was rich and flavoursome - really scrummy!

Once we had finished the hot dishes, the afternoon tea stand was brought out. This contained the rest of our afternoon choices - the sandwiches, scones and sweets. And I think you'll agree...it's a pretty impressive stand.....

Afternoon tea stand
Scoff and Banter, Oxford Street

Let's start with the sandwich options....which frankly looked like mini masterpieces....no standard finger sandwiches here! Becca opted for the Chicken Caesar and rosemary focaccia, which was an open sandwich, and the Smoked salmon, crayfish and dill crème fraîche, toasted bagel. I enjoyed the Steak and balsamic onions on toasted multigrain and the Croque-madame.

Afternoon tea savouries - Scoff and Banter, Oxford Street

Everything was freshly made, was well balanced in flavours and a feast for the eyes too! I really enjoyed the little croque-madame, which was served warm with a runny yolk. We really liked the selection on offer, there is definitely something for everyone here.....although afternoon tea traditionalists might have frowned at the lack of finger sandwiches.

Next came the scones, and to be honest this is where the afternoon tea fell down slightly. The scones were of the mini variety and the flavours we could pick from included:

Pecan and apple (v)
Maple syrup and sultana (v)
Vanilla (v)
Seville orange (v)
Valrhona chocolate (v)
Cheddar cheese

They are served with pots of clotted cream and two homemade preserves.

Afternoon tea scones - Scoff and Banter

Becca had the pecan and apple and the cheddar cheese, while I picked the Seville orange and the Valrhona chocolate. Becca's cheese scone lacked cheesiness and she wasn't given anything other than the clotted cream and jam to eat with it! Both the Orange and the chocolate scones were bland too, and a tad bit claggy. Becca did however enjoy the pecan and apple.

Finally we moved onto the sweet selection, which included both cold and a hot selection. We could pick from the following:

Fresh strawberry tart, whipped cream 
Chocolate whisky cake, candied orange 
Lemon meringue, blackberry compote, lime syrup (v) 
Trifle, roasted balsamic strawberries 
Sticky toffee pudding, salted caramel ice cream, macadamia nut brittle (v) 
Poached rhubarb and custard, ginger bread biscuit (v) 
Dark chocolate crème Chantilly 
Raspberry and Prosecco jelly

What a fabulous selection....again there is something for everyone there!

This time Becca picked the lemon meringue and the sticky toffee pudding (which is served hot and brought to the table when you ask for it) and I went for the chocolate whiskey cake and the dark chocolate creme Chantilly.

All I can say is that I was very jealous of the sweets that Becca picked...just look at the meringue.....

Afternoon tea sweets - Scoff and Banter

Not only did it look scrummy, it tasted wonderful too! The flavours worked so well together, especially the lime syrup. 

The sticky toffee pudding was served in a little expresso cup and that was super scrummy too....

Sticky toffee pudding - Scoff and Banter

On top of the scrummy food and relaxed environment, all the staff we encountered were friendly, professional and very knowledgeable about the menu. They gave good suggestions on menu choices and we enjoyed the friendly service. 

The standard afternoon tea at Scoff and Banter is £34.00 per person, this rises to £39.00 if you want to include a glass of Prosecco. There is also the option to upgrade to a glass of champagne. 

All in all I think this is a great value afternoon tea (even with the slightly disappointing scones) - the food isn't limitless, but its great quality and very filling. I really liked the choice that we had, it made it a very personal experience.

For more information about this afternoon tea please visit the Scoff and Banter website.

Thank you for popping by today,

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Afternoon tea news....Valentines 2016 at Ampersand

Hello there,

Another day, and we have another Valentines day afternoon tea to drool over!

Today we're taking a peek at the afternoon tea on offer this Valentines at Ampersand in South Kensington. As well as the usual scrummy savouries, the tea also consists of heart shaped white chocolate scones.....

The pastries include a Red berries and Tahitian vanilla cream eclair, Heart-shaped macaroon with milk chocolated and strawberry, Caramel chocolate and rose mousse and White chocolate coated marshmallow and raspberry.....

Doesn't it all look super scrummy?

This afternoon tea is avaliable between 8th February - 14th February, for more information pop by the Ampersand website.

Thanks for popping by today,
Rachel & Lorna

Monday, 8 February 2016

Afternoon Tea News.....Valentines 2016 at Paul

Hello there,

Welcome back to Tea With Me and Friends - today we're taking another look at a Valentines afternoon tea on offer this month. Let's take a look at the afternoon tea Le Restaurant de Paul has created which features some of their scrummy sweet creations.

Paul's Valentine menu includes:
Artisan bread sandwiches (vegetarian option available)
1 Valentine’s Fraisier, 1 Valentine’s Craquant & 2 mini macarons
Brioches with jam and whipped cream

The Valentine's Fraisier is a light genoese sponge with creamy mousse, lined with strawberries. It's topped with pink marzipan and more strawberries....

and the Valentine's Craquant is for the chocoholics out there.....

Don't they look scrummy?

The afternoon tea stand can be enjoyed with a cup of tea (or other hot beverage) or a glass of bubbles! If you want to enjoy this tea you have to act quickly though - its only available between 12th - 14th February! For more information pop by the Paul website.

Thanks for popping by today,
Rachel & Lorna

Sunday, 7 February 2016

Afternoon Tea News - Valentines 2016 at Conrad St James

Hello there,

Welcome back to Tea With Me and Friends - today we are taking a look at another Valentines afternoon tea on offer this February - this time we are taking a peek at Conrad St James.

Created by Head Pastry Chef Zoe Wager the London Love Story Afternoon Tea is a very pretty afternoon tea....

Valentines 2016 - Afternoon Tea - Conrad St James

As well as traditional finger sandwiches and scones there is a selection of beautiful sweet treats on offer to guests, which includes

White Chocolate & Champagne Truffles
Red Berry Shortcake
Dark Chocolate Velvet Cake
Rose Macaroon
Strawberry Panna Cotta Macerated Berries & Strawberry Foam

Sweet afternoon tea treats
Valentines Afternoon Tea - Conrad St James

There is lots of pink and hearts in this afternoon tea and we think it looks wonderfully romantic! This afternoon tea costs £55 per person with free flowing Rose Champagne or £39 per person without Champagne.

This afternoon tea is only available from the 12th - 14th February. For more information pop by the Conrad St James website. 

Thank you for popping by today,
Rachel & Lorna

Saturday, 6 February 2016

Afternoon Tea News....Valentines 2016 at The Lancaster, London

Hello there,

Welcome back to Tea With Me and Friends - we hope you are well today.

With Valentines Day just around the corner we thought we would share with you some of the more romantic afternoon teas that we have discovered this February. We are staring today with a look at the Valentines Afternoon Tea on offer at Lancaster London.

Lancaster London
Guests can enjoy this romantic afternoon tea between Wednesday 10th February and Tuesday 16th February 2016, everyone will be greeted by Laurent-Perrier Rosé Champagne, a hand written menu and a beautifully laid table, scattered with rose petals.

Priced at £45 per head, the Valentine’s Afternoon Tea features romantic sweet treats including heart shaped macaroons, Champagne & chocolate opera cake, passion fruit & raspberry lollypops; and freshly baked scones with rose & strawberry jam.

Lancaster London - Valentines 2016 Afternoon Tea
The menu also includes savoury classics with a romantic twist such oyster beignet topped with caviar, asparagus and spiced tomato tarts; and a selection of fine finger sandwiches accompanied by specially blended, rose infused tea.

Valentines Oysters - Lancaster London

The Lancaster London are also holding a competition with this afternoon tea - all Valentine’s bookings will automatically be entered into this exclusive competition, for a chance to win a bottle of Laurent-Perrier Rosé Champagne with two official glass flutes.

In order to be entered the Afternoon Tea booking must be made between Wednesday 10 February and Tuesday 16 February 2016.

The Lancaster London Valentine’s Afternoon Tea will be served in the hotel’s elegant first floor Lounge Bar between 2pm - 5.30pm. For more information pop by the Lancaster London website.

Thank you for popping by today,
Rachel & Lorna

Friday, 5 February 2016

The Friday Review....Harrods First Blend Tea, 1901

Hello there,

Welcome back to the Tea With Me and Friends afternoon tea blog ..... it's the end of another week and that means it's time to share another cup of tea with you!

Last year when I was wandering about the Harrods food hall (as one does), I came across a rather beautiful tea caddy....

Harrods First Blend Tea

On closer inspection I discovered that this tea is from the Harrods archive collection, in fact this blend dates back to 1901. I couldn't resist giving this tea and try!

The Harrods tea counter has always been popular, the archive records show that shortly after the 1849 store opening the tea counter was already making £200 a week.

This first blend tea brings together ceylon, assam and china teas...

Harrods First Blend tea leaves

This blend appeared on the tea counter from 1901 until 1932 and once brewed you have an unusual, punchy tea with a beautiful amber colour...

Harrods First Blend Tea -
from the Archive Collection

The tea has a slightly nutty flavour, its a very robust cup of tea, but not too overpowering. Equally as good first thing in the morning with my breakfast or with a piece of cake in the afternoon...

Harrods First Blend Tea - perfect with a bit of cake!

I paid just under £20 for this tea, but that is for two foiled wrapped packs of tea - each 125g. Plus the caddy is rather cool! It would make a really nice present for a tea enthusiast!

For more information about this tea and the others in the Harrods range please pop by their website. Do you have a favourite tea from Harrods? We'd love to hear from you if you do - please leave us a message below!

Thank you for popping by today,

Thursday, 4 February 2016

Time for....some reading...Prohibition Bakery - Part 1

Hello there,

Welcome back to our afternoon tea blog...recently we've been combining two of our favourite things at Tea With Me and Friends towers....cakes and cocktails!

Recently we were sent the new book from the Prohibition Bakery - a New York bakery set up (by accident) by Leslie Feinberg and Brooke Siem which is devoted to boozy cakes. The book features 55 original recipes to try at home, as well as some basic information about baking and making infusions.

Prohibition Bakery - cupcakes and booze!

The book itself is stylish and full of great photography and the recipes will leave any cocktail lover drooling from your traditionals like Pina Coladaa or White Russians through to the more unusual Caramel Apples or Palomas....there is seriously something in there for everyone.

The recipes are broken down into their main spirit - including vodka, rum, whiskey, gin, wine, beer/cider, liqueur or cocktails!

Scrumy photography in the Prohibition Bakery book
I decided to start simple and try out the Boozy Blueberry Lemonade cupcakes to start with as this seemed like a pretty straight forward recipe to follow and it features lots of blueberries and a splash or two of vodka! 

This is what they should look like....

The recipe was easy to follow and the measurements are in both American cups and also grams, which I found very useful. The cake is made with yogurt and oil instead of the traditional butter, which I have never tried before but will definitely use again as it produced a very light cupcake.

The filling for these cakes is a blueberry puree, which was really easy to make and use.

The instructions are broken down into making the cake, making the filling, making the frosting and then the assembly.

I have to say I was rather pleased with the finished cakes....

Boozy Blueberry Lemonade cupcakes - Prohibition Bakery

Ok, I might have got a bit carried away with the icing....but just look at the colour!!

The cakes were light and fluffy, with a scrummy filling....perfect with a cup of tea! The flavour of the lemon really came through in the cake and it matched well with the boozy blueberry filling. Squidgy, but not too messy - this is a really satisfying bake!

Made by Tea With Me and Friends - Boozy Blueberry Lemonade cakes

If you'd like to try the recipes yourself pick up a copy of the book - you won't be disappointed by the choice! 

Prohibition Bakery (ISBN 9781454916963) has a RRP £14.99 and is available from The GMC Group. I'd like to thank The GMC Group for sending us a copy of the book to try - please remember that although we have received a complimentary copy of the book this has not effected our thoughts and all opinions expressed here are our own.

Prohibition Bakery baking
Keep your eyes posted for the next bake we try from this fab book!

Thank you for popping by today,