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

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