In celebration of my sister's birthday this week, mum took us for afternoon tea at Bea's in St. Paul's. Following a family recommendation, we went for this branch in the City, the younger sister of the original Bloomsbury cafe which is said to get crowded quickly.
The decor at Bea's was simply lovely; it certainly stood out upon first appearance, especially in an area of city malls & office blocks. I loved the fact that it sort of combines a smart City feel conducive to Bankers & Lawyers - plush chairs with ornate cushioning - with a more whimsical, old-school kitsch & dress-up. & yes, I did take pictures in the powder room, it was that nice!
Afternoon tea was served on the cutest stand by Undergrowth (available for purchase), red heels kicking up amongst the mountains of cake. Mini baguettes to start - chorizo, ham, sun-dried tomato, buffalo mozzarella, rocket: it was all there (rather Spanish influences). I'm not a wholehearted carnivore, so it would have been interesting to see what the vegetarian option would include, but the sandwiches were a great kick-off, & it was nice to see a fresh, crispy baguette instead of the crust-cut white bread sandwiches that are usually served.
Scones with jam & clotted cream sat around the middle of the stand. The perfect size, & from viewing I guessed that wholemeal flour was used in the baking process, leaving a lovely nutty flavour to the scone. Miniature treats piled around the top, the last layer before moving on to the cupcakes! Here we had a passionfruit marshmallow (fresh marshmallows! These have to be tasted!), a brownie, a blondie (lovely & moist, a good vanilla flavour), & an adorable teensy-tiny meringue. These were followed by a cupcake each - blueberry & mango, red velvet, & vanilla. The icing was piped so gorgeously, & tasted incredibly light, no trace of heavy buttercream here. Perhaps some sort of intense whisking brought the frosting together, the result was so smooth & creamy. Favourite afternoon delight? I think I would place money on the blondie.
Bea's is a wonderful, modern choice for afternoon tea. I think my only concern was that there wasn't an excess of space, our little table only just survived under all the goodies that graced its surface. But this is minor, & almost irrelevant: if it fits on the table, we'll be sure to eat it!
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