Thursday 27 February 2014


Afternoon tea at Bea's of Bloomsbury

Walking into Bea's of Bloomsbury we were greeted by a display case filled with gorgeously enticing cupcakes in array of flavours and colours, which certainly whetted our appetites and we promised ourselves we'd be coming back after the afternoon tea to stock up with some lovely goodies for the weekend.

We spent our visit on the second floor of the restaurant, which was a narrow but very cosy area. We sat in a beautiful plush purple booth and there were teapot lights hanging from the ceiling - the perfect setting for an indulging afternoon of tea and cakes.

When we sat down at our table our plate with food was already waiting for us. Consisted of a variety of small savoury and sweet treats the presentation unfortunately lacked finesse as it seemed cluttered and swiftly put together, making us worry about the various flavours blending into each other.

Sat over two tiers, rather than three as seemed the norm on the tables around us, the food looked a little crammed together and several options were being smothered by others. It also meant that it was just sitting there while we were still deciding on our tea flavours and the traditional scones were already cold, rather than oven warm, by the time we tucked in.

When our drinks had been served we first tried the mini baguettes, which were an original variant on the more traditional cucumber and salmon sandwiches. This afternoon tea normally comes with three different flavours but we only received two, and so we can only comment on those. One of them had a generous spread of salami, but as a big fan of the combination mozzarella, tomato and pesto I loved that option the most and it was definitely my favourite of the two.

The scone was next, of course, which was big and surprisingly crispy and was lovely with the clotted cream and jam provided. I always enjoy taking small sips of tea while eating a scone and this one in particular melted in the mouth while doing so.

The other sweets on offer were a mix of average (a squishy passion fruit marshmallow), decent (a white chocolate cake and a raspberry meringue), delicious (a chocolate and raspberry cupcake and a chocolate and Bailey's cupcake) and absolutely divine (two types of chocolate brownies). There was a lot of chocolate going on which doesn't sound too imaginative but for a lover of all things cocoa such as myself it was a treat.

The tea itself was delightful; there were a variety of black and green loose leaf options to cater to everyone's taste and both my guest and myself really enjoyed the flavour we each chose. The pot was also large enough to be satisfying for a relaxing hour and a half of chat and nibbles.

Overall the afternoon tea was adequate, but not amazing. The presentation can use some sprucing up, cutlery would've been handy to eat some of the cakes and the food wasn't quite as dainty as we'd expected. However, the interior is lovely and enchanting making this an inviting establishment for its atmosphere foremost.

Add to that the beautiful setting with views over the St Paul's area (we particularly recommend that time of day when the sun starts to set over the city - covering it in magical orange glow) and you've got a great place to meet up with girlfriends for a lovely chat while enjoying some tea and cakes.

Bea's of Bloomsbury, St. Paul's, 83 Watling Street, London EC4M 9BX.

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