Afternoon Tea with Prosecco at Tyneside Bar Café*
Let me begin by saying that I have had my fair share of Afternoon Teas. From London’s Ladurée to Newcastle’s Great British Cupcakery; the famous Betty’s in York to the fabulous Patisserie Valerie in Kensington, I’ve devoured them all. There is something quintessentially English about getting your glad rags on and catching up with friends over finger sandwiches, scones and sweet treats. And so, when I was invited to sample Afternoon Tea at Tyneside Bar Café, I called one of my best gals, put on a dress and headed on over to the City Centre!
A favourite with locals and visitors alike, Tyneside Bar Café is part of the historic Tyneside Cinema site on Pilgrim Street, and exudes old Hollywood glamour, with splashes of red velvet and touches of gold. With a cosy, relaxed atmosphere akin to the speakeasies of 1920s New York, Tyneside Bar Café is the perfect place to spend the afternoon. My friend and I were seated at the window, affording us the luxury of watching the world go by, and presented with a glass of prosecco on arrival. So far, so good…
Before we tuck into the main affair, I must tell you a little secret: I hate finger sandwiches. When it comes to the first tier of an Afternoon Tea, I usually either eat them begrudgingly or give them away - depending on who I’m with. In actual fact, before arriving at the Tyneside, I had already offered my sandwiches to my friend who, very conveniently, loves finger sandwiches.
Once there, however, my promise of sandwiches galore was retracted quicker than you can say “another pot of tea, please!” There wasn’t a bland cucumber, cheap ham and cheese or, worse still, tuna mayonnaise sandwich in sight; in their place were buttermilk chicken flatbreads with chunky, tender pieces of chicken; salt beef on toasted sourdough, with oodles of Ogleshield cheese and the tang of English mustard, and cured trout on crisp bread. Out of the three, the salt beef ‘Reuben Sandwich’ was my favourite, which was surprising given my hatred of anything pickled. Despite the appearance of both sauerkraut and gherkins, the winning combination of sourdough, grilled cheese and mustard won me over. Looking great in advance of my favourite tier…
Before we move onto the scones at the Bar Café, I have another confession. I really disliked the scones at Betty’s. There, I said it. Perhaps I caught them on an off-day, or maybe the chef was feeling particularly vengeful, but the famous Betty’s scones just weren’t a patch on the Tyneside’s. Buttery, crumbly and with just the right amount of crunch upon first biting into them, the Tyneside’s scones were a winner. Whether you put the jam on first or the cream, these Buttermilk Scones are an absolute treat, and almost the star of the show. (More on that later).
After a short recess, whereby copious iPhone photos were snapped and even more Instagram Boomerangs were perfected, I moved onto the third and final tier of my Afternoon Tea: the cakes. Arranged neatly on top of Tyneside-branded tissue paper were three treats each: a Rosewater Eclair; Sour Cherry Cake, and a Miniature Lemon Meringue Pie.
After the sweetness of the clotted cream atop my scones, I found myself reaching for the miniature lemon meringue pie and… I’m glad I did! The meringue was delightfully fluffy and blow-torched to give a slightly caramelised flavour; the lemon filling was tart and intense, providing the right balance of sour against a backdrop of (subtle) sweetness. Heck, if my friend hadn’t finished hers whilst I was still on my scones, I would’ve scoffed hers too! (Sorry, L…)
After a so-so Rosewater Eclair (floral flavours, no matter how delicate, aren’t for me), I finished up on what I deemed to be the star of the show: the Sour Cherry Cake. Devilishly moist, the cherry cake was a wonderful combination of sweet almond, sour cherry and a boozy twist that was, quite literally, the glacé cherry-on-top.
With food devoured and teacups drained, I came to thinking about why I love Afternoon Tea so much. Tea on tap? Yup. Two times more sweet than savoury? Count me in! The clatter of teacups; the excited chatter of friends catching up over lunch, work colleagues meeting over a coffee, or ladies enjoying a glass of red in advance of their film? All part of the ambience. So, where does Tyneside Bar Café rank on my list of Afternoon Teas? It’s 1000 times better than Betty’s, that’s for sure…
Afternoon Tea with Prosecco at Tyneside Bar Café is priced at £20 per person, is made-to-order and includes fresh sandwiches, a selection of homemade cakes, scones with clotted cream, unlimited Ringtons tea or coffee, and a glass of fizz on arrival. Afternoon Tea is also available without fizz, priced at £15 per person.
For a Christmas twist, why not try Festive Afternoon Tea, available until 31st December? Or treat yourself to food and a film, courtesy of Afternoon Tea at the Movies? Pre-booking essential, whichever option you choose. For more information, and to book, please visit the Tyneside Bar Café website.
*Afternoon Tea with Prosecco courtesy of Tyneside Cinema. Any opinions expressed in this review are 100% honest. For more information, please refer to my disclaimer.