Thursday 14 April 2016

Afternoon Tea at Petit Delight, Lincolnshire

I'd visited here once before for afternoon tea and remembering it was one of the best I'd had in the area. Fast forward almost 1 year and I was back, this time with my cousin in tow, treating her for her 30th birthday.

Although the setting isn't as grand and peaceful as most afternoon tea environments, the quality of food overrides this aspect and you learn to filter out the background noise in this fairly loud French inspired restaurant.

The staff were attentive and helpful, and gave us 2 options for afternoon tea; a traditional one that consisted of sandwiches and pastries, the other that was more antipasti based, including cold meats, garlic bread, olives etc. Neither of us are fans of olives, so we didn't hesitate in deciding on traditional.

Crockery at Petit Delight is very plain and basic. You will not see any mis-matched floral vintage here, which in my opinion was a little disappointing. The teapots and cups were standard white, and there were no fancy tea strainers or sugar cubes to ask '1 lump or 2?'

Food on the other hand was pretty much top notch. We were given a selection of 3 different sandwich fillings - Tuna & Mayonnaise, Prawn, or Chicken & Bacon. We both opted for the latter and glad we did because the filling was on point with both quantity and quality. Also on the savoury tier was a miniature cheese and ham toastie, which was gorgeous. Something so basic but tasted so good. I've never experienced a warm toastie with afternoon tea before so this made a refreshing change!

There was also a thin slither of quiche which is rare on afternoon tea's, but welcome nonetheless! I know this had leek in but any other ingredients are beyond me! Either way, it was tasty.
The sun dried tomato and brie croissant was nice, it was slightly warm and almost buttery, yum! 

Onto the top tier, the desserts! Unfortunately not knowing the names of the majority of these puddings, I can only describe! It consisted of a chocolate brownie, a bakewell tart style finger, a white chocolate and chocolate orange meringue dessert. Last but not least, a crème brulee (this one neither of us entertained). The desserts tier consisted of a good selection of cakes, tastes and textures, and nothing was too over-powering, instead complimenting one another very well.

Although the experience isn't on top form, the quality of food on the other hand is almost perfect.

Cost - £15pp

Monday 11 April 2016

Easter Themed Afternoon Tea at Cuthberts Bakehouse, Liverpool

Visiting another city only means one thing; another afternoon tea! And Liverpool was no exception.

I always do research in advance when knowing I'm due to have afternoon tea. I always think life is too short to waste time, money and opportunity on a poor eating experience! After scouring a few websites, I finally settled on Cuthberts Bakehouse, a family run business just a short walk from the city centre. As I devour more and more afternoon teas, I tend to find myself leaning more towards family run businesses or smaller independent tea rooms as opposed to grand 5* hotels as they are a lot more unique and more importantly, better tasting! The interior of this tea room caught my eye, with its cute shabby chic furniture and pastel bunting, it was right up my street.

Arriving on Good Friday afternoon, the place was bustling, which always suggests only good things.

We were seated in the corner, which, if it was just Mike and I, that would have been fine, however we had his parents in tow so things were a little squashed, to say the least. I felt this had an impact on our overall experience, which was a shame because it was his mum and dad's first time experiencing afternoon tea, so we wanted it to be perfect, however the space issue was a slight problem.

Issues aside, we ordered our drinks. Both Mike and I opted for our usual loose leaf Earl Grey, whilst Mike's parents chose an Americano each (I believe this was extra). These came in quirky teapots to match the mis-matched vintage floral teacups and saucers. Floral mis-matched crockery is always a tick in my book when it comes to afternoon tea.

Shortly after, out came the food. Wow, just wow. The amount of food and variety was unbelievable. I've had many afternoon teas in my time but I don't think I've ever received that much food in one sitting!

When previously booking, we had opted to have another filling in place of salmon because none of us are keen raw fish eaters. We were given free range egg mayonnaise and also roast turkey and cranberry sauce. Each filling was perfect in both quantity and quality. The bread was fresh and there were other savoury items that were sat alongside the sandwiches such as chicken Caesar salad and honey roast ham salad canapes on crunchy bruschetta style bread. There was even a handmade sausage roll thrown in there which was absolutely divine.

The selection of cakes were on point - there was the perfect mix of both fruit and chocolate desserts, and nothing was too overpowering and sickly. The chocolate fondant brownie I thought was going to be extremely sickly but it was the perfect amount of chocolate-ness! The 'vanilla infused tart' tasted identical to a custard tart, which wouldn't be my first pick of dessert, but the flavours balanced the other food out very well. The macchiato mousse cake was infused with coffee (obviously!), and although I'm not a huge coffee lover, it was subtle enough to still be enjoyable. The quirky extras that aren't often found in afternoon teas, such as the elderflower mint jelly made a lovely change from your standard choices, and complimented the palette well after all those other treats! The macaroon's seem to be a popular choice for most afternoon teas now, but I personally think this dessert is very pretentious and over-rated (but that's a story for a different day!).

Of course afternoon tea wouldn't be complete without traditional scones, jam and clotted cream, although by this point I was bursting at the seams so I could only manage a few mouthfuls, but these were just as good as everything else. If you look close enough, you will see the scones have the cross on, similar to hot cross buns. Unfortunately this was the only hint that reflected this 'Easter themed' afternoon tea which was a bit disappointing. Also, I'm not sure what ingredients are used to make the cross on hot cross buns, but I didn't feel that the texture of the cross on these scones complimented the scone itself. It almost felt like I wasn't meant to be putting it in my mouth.
The chocolate covered strawberries were well received, although by the time I had reached this tier, I unfortunately had to peel a lot of the white chocolate off as I think sugar overloaded had kicked in by then!

All in all, a good quality selection of treats, and definitely up there with some of my favourites. However unfortunately the cramped environment gets a thumbs down from me. Sometimes I feel that businesses attempt to cram as many people in a room as possible and forget about customer experience, but just see pound signs instead. I would visit again, but next time ensure I'm visiting when it's quiet for a less chaotic and cramped atmosphere.

Cost - £20pp

Tuesday 5 April 2016

24 Hours in Liverpool

A day before Easter bank holiday, Mike and I, along with his parents, jumped in the car and took the 2.5hr drive to Liverpool. I was lucky enough to win a competition a few months prior on twitter. It included lots of nice treats and was for 4 people. It was Mike's mums birthday coming up, so we tied it altogether and treat her to a quick weekend away.

We arrived at The Holiday Inn on Albert Dock (our first freebie!), checked in and had a quick freshen up before heading back out to a nearby coffee shop for drinks and cake (our second freebie!). After filling a hole in our bellies, we headed to another one of the prizes; a tour of The Beatles Story Museum. Both Mike and I had visited here 8 years ago, so I could still remember bits of it. I'm not a big Beatles fan, but both Mike and his dad are so it made sense to do it again. We spent a few hours in there, then took the short walk back to the hotel.

We showered then headed back out again for yet another freebie - a 730 table booking at PanAm restaurant, which was also very close to the hotel. We were led upstairs and given a window seat which had fantastic views over the Albert Dock all lit up at night. I'm a sucker for good table views so I really appreciated this! The food was gorgeous, top quality meat and presentation was on point.

We left the restaurant and headed back to our rooms. I was shattered (long car journeys aren't good for me!) so I resorted to my bed and had an early night (old before my time, me!)

The next day we headed to the breakfast buffet within our hotel, chaotic but nice, we filled our tummies up, but leaving room for the afternoon tea we had booked for later!
We checked out of our hotel, had a quick mooch around the shops on the docks then made our way to the Liverpool wheel (fifth and final freebie!) whilst Mike's dad was bag watcher (that's what you get when you have a phobia of heights!). We spent 20 minutes on the wheel, seeing the sights of Liverpool, obviously not as scenic as The London Eye views, but still nice nonetheless.

We took a slow stroll into the centre which was only a short walk away. I may or may not have stocked up on a few Lush goodies! We then made our way to our Easter themed afternoon tea booking, which was about a 10 minute walk out of the centre (a review on this is to come!).

After this, we popped into The Cavern, more for Mikes parents to say they'd 'done it', before heading back to our car before our journey home.

A whirlwind tour of Liverpool but a lovely way to start the bank holiday weekend.

Did you get up to anything exciting?


Friday 1 April 2016

March Round-Up - Amsterdam, Liverpool & Afternoon Tea!

March has been yet another jam-packed month full of exciting happenings!

I managed to travel to Amsterdam with my mum over her birthday and spend a whopping 5 hours in this canal-filled city (here's what I got up to). We took a canal tour, learnt about the history of Amsterdam, and spent time chatting over tea in a quirky café watching the world go by (or as I like to call it, people watching).

I also baked my very first cheesecake - filled with nutella and Ferrero rocher, baking it myself made me realise just how many calories go into cheesecakes, but I don't want to think about that right now! Either way, it was a success, Mike said it was 'the best cheesecake' he's ever had (and that's bloody good coming from him!)

At the end of the month, Mike and I, along with his parents, drove to Liverpool for a nights stay on Albert Dock. This trip was packed full of lots of things - a trip to The Beatles Story Museum, a meal in the PanAm restaurant, a ride on the Liverpool wheel alongside treats in a coffee shop. Best of all, it was all free! I won a twitter competition a few months back so finally took my prize. We also had afternoon tea which was gorgeous, but more on that in a different post!

We then finished the month off with a lovely long bank holiday weekend. I looked after my niece and did an easter egg treasure hunt for her, she loved it!

March has whizzed by in the blink of an eye. April will be a much quieter month in terms of plans, with nothing in the pipeline! I've been away every fortnight for the past 2-3 months, so it'll actually be nice to spend time at home and catch up on those errands that always gets put on the back burner...

Till next month!
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