The Colonnade – Little Venice

Reviewed on January 24th, 2015 by Dina

It was ideal to go for Afternoon Tea with my friend who had first introduced me to the special indulgent world of this British ritual many years ago. Since that day, Afternoon Tea has been one of my favourite things to do!

The Afternoon Tea was served in the restaurant of the Colonnade Hotel. Despite it being on the lower level, it had plenty of light flooding in from the glass roof. There was a floral feature wall and orange gerbera decorated the tables.

The Darjeeling tea was served by the pot and it was teabags not loose tea. The flavour of the tea was still good though.

The floral theme continued when the Afternoon Tea was served on cute pink rose plates. As soon as the three tiered selection was brought out, the cakes had a wonderful freshly baked aroma.

The Colonnade Afternoon TeaThe Colonnade Finger SandwichesThe Colonnade CakesThe Colonnade SconesThe Colonnade TeaThe Colonnade Interior

The traditional savoury finger sandwiches were had first. These were egg mayonnaise on white bread; cucumber and cream cheese on white bread; ham, cheese and mustard on brown bread. All of them tasted lovely and the bread and fillings were fresh.

The plain scones had a subtle vanilla taste to them. They were served with a good proportion of Cornish clotted cream and homemade strawberry jam.

The sweet treats were a great selection of mini eclairs, carrot cake, lemon macarons, chocolate brownies and berry fruit tarts. It’s hard to pick any favourites but the mini eclair filled with fresh cream, the berry tart and the carrot cake did make a memorable mark!

The chocolate brownie was rich and would not disappoint fans of chocolate. The macaron had the right balance of the sweet meringue biscuit and sharp lemon filling.

The staff were welcoming and friendly. They kept asking throughout our time at The Colonnade if we wanted our teapot refilled. The staff did not rush us at all and hence we felt that we could relax and take our time.

The Afternoon Tea at The Colonnade was a real delight! The food was all tasty and fresh and what’s not to love about Afternoon Tea when it is done well!

The Colonnade, 2 Warrington Crescent, Little Venice, London, W9 1ER

Rating: ★★★★☆

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The Hayloft Restaurant, Boycott Farm – Stowe

Reviewed on October 12th, 2014 by Dina

A year has passed by fast and with another bambino in our group, it was that time of year for an annual outing with friends. After a wonderful morning at the National Trust Stowe Landscape Gardens, an Afternoon Tea was our indulgence.

A short drive from the gardens, Boycott Farm was the where the Hayloft Restaurant was located. The Hayloft Restaurant is on the upper level of the converted barn. Wooden beams, fairy lights and hay pictured tablecloths make this a magical dining area.

Vintage style rose patterned teapots, teacups and saucers started off the Afternoon Tea. The Traditional Tea was plentiful and there was enough for a few cups of tea for the whole afternoon. Three tiers of triangle sandwiches, scones and cakes made up the food selection.

Hayloft RestaurantHayloft Restaurant InteriorHayloft Restaurant EntranceHayloft Restaurant TeaHayloft Restaurant Tea and SconesHayloft Restaurant Afternoon TeaHayloft Restaurant SconesHayloft Restaurant CakeHayloft Restaurant Farm ShopStowe Landscape GardensStowe Landscape Gardens 2Stowe Landscape Gardens 3

Cheese and cucumber was on white bread and the ham and mustard was on brown granary bread. The ham was Boycott home cured and went well with the mustard mayonnaise. Thick cheese slices and slices of cucumber was the other classic sandwich.

The scones were fresh, big and had a good amount of fruit in them. These came with deep dishes of homemade strawberry jam and clotted cream. The perfect combination of scones, cream and jam; a mouth watering treat!

To complete the Afternoon Tea, the top tier had slices of Victoria sponge cake and rich fruit cake. The cakes were moist and had a lovely flavour. As the Hayloft is part of the farm, the produce and food is of top quality.

One thing to note is that the Hayloft Restaurant does accommodate for gluten free diners. The Afternoon Tea is available with gluten free sandwiches, scones and cakes with no compromise on the taste.

The staff were really friendly and gave us great service with a smile. They allowed us plenty of time to enjoy our Afternoon Tea and the whole afternoon was very relaxed.

It is hard to resist all the fresh produce, savoury and sweet pastries, vegetables and cakes in the farm shop on the way out from the restaurant.

A special day out was had with all of us. Precious friendships are strong no matter how many years go by. This quote says it all  “Friends are like stars. You don’t have to see them to know they are there”. The Hayloft Restaurant made for the perfect place for the gathering and a delicious Afternoon Tea.

The Hayloft Restaurant, Boycott Farm, Welsh Lane, Stowe, Buckinghamshire, MK18 5DJ

Rating: ★★★★★

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Andronicas World of Coffee – Covent Garden

Reviewed on August 20th, 2014 by Dina

If you are looking for this coffee shop, then do not expect to see a sign saying Andronicas outside of it. Instead look for a neon lit Espresso Bar sign in the window.

After a lot of time walking up and down Floral Street several times and getting blank responses from neighbouring shops when asked if they knew where Andronicas was, we began to believe that Andronicas did not exist. So, we gave up and picked the closest coffee shop which had several signs outside of it displaying Espresso Bar.

It is not until we entered the cafe that there was a picture of a map and in the corner, the magical words of Andronicas World of Coffee appeared. The name Andronicas was everywhere inside the cafe: by the counter, on the coffee cups, on the menu but just nowhere on the outside. Not displaying the name of the coffee shop on the outside is a big mistake in our eyes.

Andronicas CounterAndronicasAndronicas Seating AreaAndronicas SandwichesAndronicas TeaAndronicas SconeAndronicas Map SignAndronicas Hot ChocolateAndronicas Counter DisplayAndronicas DisplayAndronicas DecorAndronicas Menu

To calm ourselves down from the frustration and feeling like we deserved a treat, we chose to have the Afternoon Tea. Luckily once we were in the cafe, things did improve. The staff gave us good efficient service. They were friendly apart from one member of staff. For the whole time that we were in Andronicas, this staff member made us feel like we should quickly have our food and drink and then leave.

The Afternoon Tea did not come with the traditional finger sandwiches. Instead, two little white rolls were served with the warm fillings. A sesame topped white roll had gammon ham, melted cheese and cucumber. Mozzarella, tomato and pesto made up the poppy seeded roll. Both of the sandwiches tasted delicious with the fresh fillings.

A big warm fruit scone came with an individual jar of strawberry jam, butter and a small bowl of clotted cream. It was served after we had finished our sandwiches.

The Earl Grey came in a small white teapot with a milk jug on the side. The hot chocolate was perfect. It was not too heavy. When we told the staff that the hot chocolate was slightly cold, they quickly replaced it was a hot one without any fuss.

Andronicas only has a couple of tables and a breakfast bar like area running through the middle of the cafe. Fresh flowers brightened the place. There were pastries on display at the counter. Shelves around the shop displayed various coffee makers and equipment.

The main reason we chose to come to Andronicas was that we thought that it would be quieter due to its location down the side street, even though it was in Covent Garden. The cafe was not too busy on this weekday but it is likely to be a lot more popular on the weekends.

In the end, Afternoon Tea at Andronicas was lovely; it was just a shame about our struggling quest to hunt its location out!

Andronicas World of Coffee, 28A Floral Street, Covent Garden, London, WC2E 9DP

Rating: ★★★☆☆

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