It’s been a while since we’ve chatted about afternoon tea, but I already have my fourth one of the year in it’s planning stages!
I had a new afternoon tea discovery last month, I don’t know how the place had passed me by until now. But you know, it’s the places that are near you that slip your attention.
An ‘afternoon tea experience’ at Barnham Broom Country Club was being advertised on Facebook. See, those people stealing your data, reading your mind and knowing your personal interests aren’t all that bad!
Not that I’m lacking experience really, but if any afternoon tea is spoken of then it is my duty to taste it.
I say I’ve never been to Barnham Broom Country Club before, but I can’t be certain. I have this childhood memory, more of a broken flashback really, where I’m almost certain I was there attending a Muscular Dystrophy group catch up, conference thing. When I was younger my family would get together with others experiencing a relatable life-spanner-in-the-works. We would meet those with similar conditions and life challenges, share experiences, tips and tricks, knowledge and basically catch up. These things still happen, and that’s great, but I’m not too involved now. I don’t know why.
As we drove up the drive towards the carpark, these flashbacks returned. I believe we attended a function here back in the day, although nobody else remembers. Maybe it was in another life. Surely you can’t have a déjà vu before actually arriving?!
Anyway, going through the main entrance I was hit by the fragrances of a spa. Essential oils, floral and herbal smells. I could have had a facial and scalp massage right there. However this was not the aim of the day. Maybe next time I should make a day of it and check in to the spa too.
Wheeling down a corridor to the right the smell transformed into that of a roast dinner, meaty, comforting and warm. It’s amazing what a smell can do to the mind.
We were shown to a large room, through a room, with another room just beyond. Like a room of rooms.
The three of us were seated at a large round table by the window. You’ll know by now that round tables are my table of choice, not only are they more sociable, I can also drive upto and under them easily without table legs and wheelchair parts getting in the way.
The room was nice and peaceful without being quiet in an uncomfortable way. I could imaging chilling out after a facial while waiting for my manicure appointment.
Menus were brought over and tea was discussed. For the ‘afternoon tea experience’ we could order two drinks each from a list of teas, coffee, or a cold drink. I started with a loose leaf earl grey and later moved on to a breakfast decaf. Because it isn’t just for breakfast.
When the afternoon tea stand arrived we drooled with delight. It was a mini tea, but still there was plenty. Especially as this was a lunchtime treat and I’m not a big eater.
A bit of everything was arranged elegantly on the tiers, your usual afternoon tea suspects. Working from bottom to top (because that’s the only way you should work an afternoon tea!) we began with the sandwiches.
Dainty fingers, slightly smaller than your usual finger, we had four each. It’s hard to choose a favourite as they were all delicious. I love that we were given cream cheese and cucumber, this is a tradition I believe should be followed with all teas. I enjoy the delicacy and freshness. There was also a smoked salmon, dill and creme fraiche. The salmon was finely chopped and served on brown bread, the smokiness just right. I’m not always a fan of beef, finding some meats a bit like hard work on the jaw. This tender slice with rocket and horseradish however was perfect. Finally, my fourth favourite in no particular order was the chicken baconnaise salad. The word baconnaise being one of my recent favourites. Two great things combined! I had bacon jam recently too, I think bacon condiments could be the new big thing. Baconutchup, baconustard, baconickle. Name me a condiment that wouldn’t be improved with bacon?!
I could easily discuss bacon all day but we must move on to the middle tier, the tier of scones.
Keeping to the mini ‘experience’ theme our scones were small but oh so adorable! Why is it small things are so cute? Oh have you watched those tiny kitchen cooking vlog thingys on the internet? They pop up on my Facebook sometimes and distract me for hours. If not, then go google it AFTER reading the rest of this, because I’m pretty sure you’ll get sucked in to the never ending www and forget to return.
Back to the scones, the first being savoury. When I read that this cheese scone contained walnuts, I have to confess I was a little apprehensive. Could one of my favourite parts of an afternoon tea have been ruined? But no. Another genius food combination discovered. Both scones were served slightly warm, warmer if I ate faster and talked less. But then what fun is that.
On to the sweet scone, apricot and sultana. Again a slight twist to the norm but just as tasty. Served with lashings of clotted cream and jam, and being with a crazy human that doesn’t like cream, I made the most of it and asked for mine to be piled high.
The top and final tier was reached.
I’ve never quite decided what I think of macarons. I’m probably meant to like them, (I actually like the coconut kind more, macaroons are they? Words can be too similar, there are so many letter variations to use, why use the same ones?!). it’s something I’d assume myself to like, they’re small, quirky. I’ve never disliked them. They’re just not generally something I get excited about. Maybe it’s because there’s not much to excite. A fluffy, crispy air. But this pistachio and lime macaron was tasty. Delicious even.
Macarons can be extremely sweet. Now I love cake, we all know that. But I don’t have a particularly sweet tooth. Not the sugary sweet kind. I choose crisps over sweets. This macaron was zesty and refreshing, I could happily eat these again.
Next up was the choux bun filled with mocha cream. For this mini afternoon tea these were halved, one piece each. I tend to enjoy the combination of chocolate and coffee, two great flavours. Yet this fell a little short for me. The pastry was light and crisp, just right, however the filling wasn’t strong in flavour. I’m not sure I would have known it was coffee had I not read the menu.
Posset. Funny word. Makes me think of a little furry animal, a cute one. I know, it’s probably me linking it to the word possum. Anyway this led me to looking up the word and it’s origin. Posset that is. To discover it started as…
‘A drink made of hot milk curdled with ale, wine, or other alcohol and typically flavoured with spices’
Now a creamy dessert, we were served rhubarb posset with a gingerbread crumb. In the cutest tiny jar you ever did see! Rhubarb, the often overlooked vegetable (yes it’s actually a vegetable, who knew), is one of my favourites. Combined with ginger it was almost like they created it for me. This deliciously sweet yet tart dessert served in a clip top jar was only slightly smaller than the ones served with the regular sized teas, those being in shot glasses.
Last but certainly not least was the little blood orange curd tartlet topped with raspberry ripple meringue. Yes, it was as good as it sounds. A tart in more than one way, which is great with me. That orange curd should come in a jar and be stocked in my fridge!
I thoroughly enjoyed my second? visit to Barnham Broom. This afternoon tea was up there in my list of favourites. And at just £10 per person it was brilliant value for money.
Although this deal was a Monday-Friday thing running through till the end of March, I have since seen that it has been extended during April.
For a small eater like myself, somebody wanting a lighter lunch, or those wishing to trial something for their first afternoon tea, this is an excellent idea and option. I do hope this becomes a regular choice at Barnham Broom and that other restaurants consider the idea. It makes afternoon tea that little more affordable, and gives me good reason to eat them more often! Yes that is possible.
Super excited & proud to announce that I have been nominated for the 2nd year running in the Bloggers Bash awards!
If you enjoy what you read then please take a minute to vote for me in the ‘Lifestyle’ category.