Big Ben, the Tower, the Eye… there are many things to do and visit whilst in London, seeing all the tourist hot spots that everyone associates with the city. With living in London, I have seen these places over and over again; taking many a hometown friend to experience the attractions the big smoke has to offer, and then it dawned on me whilst walking the embankment… there is one main attraction that is synonymous to London, part of the integral fabric of London culture, that I appear to have missed…
Afternoon Tea! How could I have lived in London (just over 5 years!) and not have indulged in Afternoon Tea like a true city dweller?
To my rescue came Beas of Bloomsbury with an invite to enjoy Afternoon Tea for Two at their café in the shadows of St Paul’s Cathedral… what a perfect setting for London’s favourite tea time treat!
Started in 2009 and highly regarded by TimeOut London, and listed as one of The Independent’s top 50 tea rooms in the UK, Beas of Bloomsbury serves a casual, humble, no-frills take on Afternoon Tea but still distills the essence of what it should be. In a corner of the newly built One New Change, the café is petite but beautifully designed with huge modern glass windows and tea pots for lampshades, mixing the quaint supposed style of high tea with the modern day surroundings.
The food is a set menu so is speedily prepared for when you arrive, not great if you are extremely fussy with food but I consider myself to be quite particular and the range was extensive enough that there was lots to taste (even with a nut allergy). Mini brioche buns are beautifully displayed on wood boards with both meat and vegetarian fillings, the smoked cheddar was my personal favourite!
Then you have the cake stand… a two tiered dessert plate with an array of white and dark chocolate brownies, meringue topped marshmallows and assortment of cupcakes. My absolute favourite part of the sweet stand was the scone with Cornish clotted cream and jam. The texture and taste was just right and definitely a highlight of the afternoon tea.
To accompany the food you can choose from an extensive list of teas, from the usual Earl Grey to the more exotic sounding Gunpowder Green Tea! I went for the Vanilla black which was lovely and sweet which went with the sweet stand very well. I hear it’s a favourite with Beas customers and I can taste why!
By the end of the meal, my guest and I were both well filled, the portions are such that you certainly won’t leave hungry – or thirsty for that matter, because our pot of tea’s made at least 4 cups each while we were there.
Afternoon Tea at Beas is value for money, you get everything you would expect from a traditional tea and more (our waiter even topped our teapots up with hot water to get more out of the tea leaves). It’s beautiful quality food in a modern café with speedy, friendly service … all at a great price. With Afternoon Tea in London often setting you back around £50 a head, to get such lovely fresh, teatime treats for only £19 per person is fantastically good value and perfect for first timers wanting to try the afternoon tea experience or regulars coming back for more.
Visit Beas of Bloomsbury at St Paul’s, 83 Watling Street, London, EC4M 9BX, 0207 989 4099. Or in their other cafe’s in Farringdon and Bloomsbury.