Friday, 11 October 2019

Tea Travels - Afternoon Tea at Beatons Tearoom, Crowthorne

Regular readers of my blog will be aware of my ‘Tea Travels’ series, where I talk about different afternoon teas I have tried and what I think of them. I’m a big fan of going for afternoon tea (as is my Mum, so we often go together!) and so I thought writing a series about my experiences would be a good way to share my love of afternoon tea with you. Hopefully it will also give you some ideas of places to try if you’re like me and love the afternoon tea experience. And so, today, I’m back with another post in my Tea Travels series.

A few weeks ago I went for afternoon tea at Beatons Tearooms in Crowthorne with my brother, Richard, sister-in-law, Lisa, and my nephew, Noah. It was my birthday present to Lisa back in April, but we had only just got round to actually organising it. Beatons Tearoom and Bookshops have places in Wiltshire, Dorset, Hampshire, Gloucestershire, Shropshire and Berkshire. They exist to give people a peaceful and relaxed experience in stylish yet cosy surroundings. They’re inspired by society photographer Cecil Beaton and bring gracious hospitality, home made cakes and light meals to the table seven days a week. So whether you’re looking to relax and unwind over a pot of your favourite loose leaf tea, browse their specially curated selection of books to discover something new to delight, or treat yourself or your friends to a luxurious English Afternoon High Tea, Beatons, according to them, is the perfect choice. 

I had been to Beatons for food before, but never for afternoon tea, so was interested to see what it would be like. I rang and booked our table a couple of weeks in advance, which I would definitely recommend doing because the cafĂ© was really busy and they needed notice to prepare the full afternoon tea. And so, on a warm summer’s afternoon, we made our way over to Crowthorne High Street to Beatons Tearoom, where we were seated at a beautifully laid table with a reserved sign on it.

First, we were presented with the extensive tea menu and given some time to choose which teas everyone would like. There were so many different varieties to choose from, so it took us a little while to make the final decision! But in the end, I went for the Cherry Sencha – a Green Tea with delicate rose and natural cherry. We were also asked to choose which cake we would like with our afternoon tea. There was a large table overflowing with different types of handmade cake – from Carrot Cake and Brownies to Victoria Sponge or Chocolate Cake. I opted for the Coffee and Walnut Cake (as did Richard) and Lisa chose the Carrot Cake. We also ordered Noah a strawberry milkshake and a huge chocolate brownie.

Our teas arrived first – each of us was brought a different coloured teapot with a loose-leaf tea brewing inside. They had really thought of everything, as we also had a timer to let us know when our teas should be perfectly brewed, and each had a small saucer to place our used teabags on. My Cherry Sencha tea was incredibly delicate, floral and sweet – the perfect accompaniment for afternoon tea as the flavour wasn’t going to overpower the tastes of the food. 

And within a few minutes of us having our teapots, the elegant cake stands arrived, laden with delicious looking sweet and savoury treats. We started with the array of sandwiches that were beautifully displayed on the bottom of each cake stand. We were certainly spoilt for choice when it came to sandwich fillings! There was ham with tomato relish; cheese with onion marmalade; Brie and cranberry; tuna mayo; Coronation chicken and egg mayonnaise. And both plates were garnished with a generous salad. We quickly started to sample all the different sandwiches, which were all incredibly tasty. My personal favourite was probably the Brie and cranberry, but there wasn’t a sandwich that I didn’t like. 

Once we’d demolished the sandwich platters, we moved on to the scones – we had been given two large scones each! The scones were light and fluffy, tasting delicious wish lashings of jam and clotted cream. I always put jam on first and then cream (so that I can put a nice big dollop of cream on top!) – which way round do you do it?! After enjoying one scone, I decided to take the other one home with me, as I was feeling rather full already and still had my piece of cake to eat!

I’m glad I left room for my cake, as it really was tasty. The sponge was moist and full of flavour with pieces of crunchy walnut dotted through it, and the buttercream complimented it beautifully, without being overly sweet. And apparently the Carrot Cake was just as good (and Noah’s Brownie went down pretty well too!) It was a lovely way to finish off our afternoon tea experience. 

We had a lovely couple of hours at Beatons enjoying their afternoon tea. It’s a comfortable and cosy setting with a relaxed atmosphere, and I love the fact they also have a bookshelf in the corner where you could buy a book to read with your cuppa. The staff were friendly and welcoming and made us feel comfy and calm as we enjoyed our food. The Windsor Afternoon Tea cost us £20 per person (not including Noah), which I thought was very reasonable for the amount of food we were given. You could also ask for as much tea as you liked, which is always important! It’s definitely somewhere I would be happy to visit again (either for afternoon tea or something like breakfast or lunch) and if it’s somewhere you haven’t been before, I would recommend giving it a try.

Are you a fan of afternoon tea? Where are your favourite places to go? Perhaps I can add them to my list!

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