I’m sitting here with my cat in a bit of a blur, me that is, not the cat. The cat isn’t from Cheshire but I do feel like I’ve been down a rabbit hole, that could be the sugar slump though.
It’s afternoon tea week and I’ve been to another afternoon tea at The Assembly House in Norwich, yes I know, another one. As we were waiting for some of our group to arrive my uncle did comment that one of the portraits on the wall in the grand entrance should be of my face. Maybe it will sometime in the future, when you’re reading this with your thoughts, we won’t even need smartphones then. That’s how the future works isn’t it?! I’ve seen Years and Years. Maybe I’ll get a hover-wheelchair.
So yes I’m quite the regular, I can’t keep away. Every chance for a celebration, every new themed afternoon tea I see, I have to go. It’s a necessity.
I really think I should become ‘chief afternoon tea taster’ Assembly House. No joke.
If this isn’t the first time you’ve read my blog then you’ll have come across The Assembly House before. If you’re a newbie you can catch up with the background, a bit of history, and access related details by reading my Pride Rainbow Unicorn Afternoon Tea post.
You can also check out my accessible toilet review if your needs must, or if you just like to read about toilets.
You’ve probably already guessed but this themed afternoon tea was inspired by Lewis Carroll’s Alice In Wonderland. A quirky tale I’ve always been fond of, this feast didn’t disappoint.
I say feast because it really was. You might think of afternoon tea as delicate little bites of flavour to stave off the pre dinner hunger. Well I would advice that you don’t need lunch before this, or dinner after.
Seated at our perfectly round table (there is such thing as an accessible table), dietary requirements and fussy eaters were sorted and we are each served a small bottle labelled ‘drink me’.
A paper straw, I’ll forgive them this time as this the stripes were aesthetically pleasing and it wouldn’t have looked so magical with the bendy plastic type.
The game was to guess the flavours in this mysterious drink. I guessed correctly with Cherry Bakewell. It was a thick liquid, like a purée with bits in. Which I really liked and feel was a great start to the event, but a couple of the group weren’t so sure.
Unlike the well known potion Alice drinks, I fear this adventure is going to make me larger rather than shrink!
Next up were tea and coffee choices. I went for the decaffeinated earl grey which seems to be my thing lately. I’m one of those people that go through phases with foods and drink. I’ll be over it again soon.
Our server brought over the stunning cake stands and ran through the menu. As you can see by the titles of these desserts it was quite the mouthful for him at times!
I’ve learnt to start with the cheesy toastie, even though it’s on the middle tier and so goes against all my beliefs and traditions, it arrives warm and is best eaten that way.
Extras on the middle tier!
The savouries plate as I like to call it has been a feature of The Assembly House afternoon tea for a while now. It varies slightly depending on season and theme. One of my favourites was the sausage roll served during the Chocolate High Tea last year.
For today’s theme we were treated to a melt in the mouth cheese straw that was like eating dust. Maybe dust is the wrong word as that doesn’t sound too appetising. This was though, yum.
Cream cheese and cucumber in a beetroot brioche roll was our third savoury. Not always my favourite part of the Assembly House afternoon tea, I much preferred this version. It was fresh, light and creamy. The roll not too heavy either. I’m quite the traditionalist and enjoy the delicacy of cream cheese and cucumber, so was glad it made an appearance.
Sandwiches are not to be forgotten. Fingers of course. These were smoked salmon, egg mayonnaise, and ham.
Music started to play. After a few moments I realised it was live music coming from the piano in the corner. I’ve dined here many times, as you know, but never before have I had the pleasure of a pianist entertaining us. It was a nice extra.
Scones are quite often the highlight of my afternoon tea. I’ve said it many times, but the cheese and chive scone served at The Assembly House is the best I’ve ever tasted. It’s pure joy. Did you know you can buy them separately? I don’t know how anyone could go for a scone when there’s full afternoon tea available, but if it’s a light bite you need, or something to take home for laters, you should get one. Go get one! Oh and get me one too.
So we had the cheese scone and then the traditional fruit accompanied by jam and clotted cream. These were named Tweedledee and Tweedledum, but there’s nothing dumb about them.
This top tier was fully loaded, with one extra treat to the usual four. There’s no going back now Assembly House, we know five is possible!
I started with the glassed dessert ‘A Grin Without A Cheshire Cat Shot Glass’
as I knew there was no way I’d make it to the end and this is one you can’t really box for later. A biscuit crum base was topped with layers of raspberry and blackberry mousse-y cheesecake. A crisp bright white iced grin was placed on top. There was a teaspoon accompanying the glass but I stuck to my trusty fork, the accessible cutlery of choice for me. Fruity, creamy, crunchy and light, this is my kind of dessert.
Next up was ‘Following The White Rabbit’ carrot cake. A cute little icing rabbit bum was sticking out of buttercream grass. I pulled this off and put to one side, I’m not much an icing eater. Carrot cake on the other hand is one of my faves, and this one was delicious. Moist and fruity, I could have eaten a bigger slice. If only I hadn’t already eaten all of the above and did have the shrinking potion.
I went for ‘The Caterpillar’s Armchair’ macaron next. Generally a light and airy bite, I thought I could squeeze it in with my last cuppa. I’ve got a thing about toadstools, they’re just so magical and cute and from fairytales. I can be girly like that, occasionally. As I’ve said before I’m not up with the macaron craze, give me a macaroon any day! But this was tasty, vanilla-y and very adorable.
Upon leaving I notice the chandeliers had been decorated with floating cards. Sometimes being short makes you miss stuff.
It didn’t take me long to crack open the doggy box once I got home. I enjoyed the final two cakes with a brew, Lidl’s decaf, not quite the fancy loose leaf served at The Assembly House, but we can’t live the high life all the time. Can we?!
‘Alice Goes To The Opera Gateau’ is a blueberry flavoured twist on the Assembly House signature gateau. Thin, fluffy layers of sponge and cream create a light and easy to eat cake, not that any cake is hard to eat, topped with a chunky and creamy white chocolate key.
Little did I know I’d left the best till last. I quite like a jam tart, it’s understated and simple yet a great treat. ‘The Queen Of Hearts Tarts’ packed quite the punch, it may look innocent and small but it was bursting with flavour. The jam was fruity and tart (pun intended), and the pastry thin, crisp and just the right amount of crumbly.
The Alice In Wonderland Afternoon Tea has to be up there with my favourites. I thought The School Of Magic theme was good, but this one could be better. I’d have to try them both again just to be sure!
What made this special was the little extras included. The ‘drink me’ potion to start, and the added cheese straw. Extra cheesiness is always a bonus with me.
Afternoon tea is an Assembly House staple all year round. The Alice In Wonderland theme will be available until September 8th, with a Halloween afternoon tea being served between 21st October and 31st October.
Bonus Blog Post – Today is a two for one kinda day. I have a guest post over at Rachael’s Thoughts all about afternoon tea! If We Were Having Afternoon Tea describes my ideal version of my favourite treat. Head over to give it a read (along with checking out some of Rachael’s posts, she’s quite the afternoon tea fan too you know!) and let us know what would be a must in your afternoon tea.