Afternoon Tea is a quintessentially British institution and one that is hard to dislike. Although it is very much one of our great traditions and synonymous with London’s top hotels, it is now offered in many of the world’s hotels, restaurants and even on cruise ships. I have had some memorable ones a few times for special occasions, such as a pre-Christmas treat at the Beaverbrook near Leatherhead, one following a garden tour of Highgrove House and a fabulous visit to The Ritz to celebrate a special birthday for my mum. While these were superb, they were also expensive – an Afternoon Tea at The Ritz is £70 per person.
So when I was asked to try out the Afternoon Tea at the new-look Café Bar at Squire’s in Badshot Lea, which costs just £17.95 per person, I was keen to give it a try, as was my mum who came along too. Following a complete refurbishment, they now have two distinct eating areas with a re-designed restaurant and a separate drop-in coffee shop.
The bright and airy restaurant offers Squire’s famed breakfast and lunches as well as afternoon tea, along with table waiting service and tables can be booked in advance. This is a huge space that can accommodate lots of people, and is both light and stylishly decorated with cosy booths as well as lots of tables.
Afternoon Tea needs to be booked in advanced and comes served as usual on a three-tiered cake stand, with savouries on the bottom, a scone in the middle and sweet treats at the top. These included a lovely, moist warm chocolate brownie, a mini éclair, two dainty macaroons, plus mini lemon and salted caramel tartlets, which had terrific pastry.
The scones can be plain, fruit or cheese. My one did not really look like a traditional scone and I would have preferred a bit more fruit but it was very pleasant and came with clotted cream and a small jar of raspberry jam, plus butter if required.
The sandwiches were traditional, as one expects. There is a choice from free range egg mayonnaise and cucumber, smoked salmon and cream cheese or maple glazed gammon ham. The bread was a little thicker than I would have liked; a thinner cut would make them look more dainty and make them a little easier to eat. The tomato & red onion bruschetta had a good crunch but mum would have like less red onion and more tomato. We both however sang the praises of the crispy bacon & mushroom mini quiche, which had a generous filling and once again a superb pastry. Very delicious!
Loose leaf tea choices are abundant, including tisanes and caffeine free rooibos plus coffee for non-tea drinkers. Small bottles of Prosecco and Champagne are also available should you want to celebrate! Gluten free options are also available.
Mum and I both enjoyed our Afternoon Tea at Squire’s in the new surroundings, still light and bright despite it being a rainy grey day in March. At £17.95, this is a well-priced option and is worth a visit… and you can also then spend some time planning and shopping to get your garden ready for the spring.
To win an afternoon tea for two, please click here.