The blog has had a minor shake up - there's now a few categories on the right to make navigation easier on my more popular topics. There's a whole category devoted to afternoon tea so it only felt right that Sunday afternoon was spend eating scones and drinking tea in aid of my friend H's birthday.
Bea's of Bloomsbury has three locations in London now - we visited the St Paul's branch where a cosy vintage tea room has been recreated inside the One New Change shopping centre. The tea room is pretty tiny so definitely book in advance - there were 12 of us and our table took up half of the upstairs space.
The Bea's take on afternoon tea features mini baguettes rather than traditional finger sandwiches with veggie options available, scones with jam and cream, cupcakes, mini brownies, mini blondies, meringues and marshmallows. The marshmallows are not vegetarian so this was swapped for banana cake for the veggies in our group. I wasn't that keen on the sandwiches - the baguettes were not the most dainty things to eat and the fillings were not very generous in comparison with the bread - but the scone was lovely and the famous Bea's cupcake didn't disappoint; one of the best cupcakes I've had in a while with top marks for the frosting to cake ratio. The brownie and blondie bites were super sweet but a good way to try the range on offer at the counter downstairs without falling into a complete sugar coma. There's a good range of teas - I had the green tea which was a good counterbalance to all the sweetness!
The service started off a bit scatty, perhaps due to the size of our party and confusion over how many orders there were. The cakes arrived before the sandwiches, the tea didn't arrive until we'd already tucked in to the food and we had to ask for jam and cream for the scones but we were offered top ups of tea regularly and the option to take away the leftover cakes which was great. We were left to chat for hours and didn't feel under pressure to give the table back which is my pet hate when you feel like you have a time limit. At £19 this is a really good value afternoon tea and there is a lot of food for the price so I'll forgive the not quite on point service as the food was top quality and it was a lovely spot to spend a gloomy January afternoon.
Have you tried Bea's?