Welcome to our blog....here we will share all our afternoon tea adventures with you...the good, the bad and the wonderful!

Saturday, 22 April 2017

Time for Tea - German Gymnasium, London

Hello there,

Welcome back to Tea With Me and Friends - we hope you're having a lovely day!

Last weekend it was a Birthday at Tea With Me and Friends Towers - so we did what we do best and celebrated with a spot of afternoon tea! I've eaten at German Gymnasium in Kings Cross before, enjoying their savoury menu, but I knew they also did an afternoon tea menu that took my fancy. I've spent quite a lot of time in the Rhine area of Germany and love the food and drink there.

So I rounded up my friends and headed on a new afternoon tea adventure!

German Gymnasium - Afternoon Tea

At German Gymnasium you need to decide whether you want an Austrian themed afternoon tea or a German themed one. Both have savoury and sweet options.....but for the traditionalists amongst you watch out as there are no scones! The options are made up of foods from the region, the staff were happy to swap some of the savoury items around (Anika had three egg rolls instead of the selection of three different rolls).

As you can see from the menus below, this is a great value afternoon tea....

Within the group some of us wanted the German and some the Austrian, so we got to see both cake stands. I'll be the first to admit that we had to Google some items to find out what they were (not sure why we didn't just ask the waiters!), it definitely was an afternoon tea adventure!

When the stands were served I was a little disappointed initially as they looked a little sparse, but in fact I found the portion sizes just right.

German Gymnasium - Afternoon Tea

The rolls were fresh and soft, with just the right amount of fillings. I'm not overly keen on fennel, so one of the rolls was a bit too "fennelly" for me, but otherwise the fillings were well balanced.

The sweets were all really different, again they were all fresh and a good size. I was a tad bit disappointed that my black forest gateaux was in macaroon form, but it was well made and I could taste both chocolate and cherry.

However, the Opera cake was probably the stand out sweet treat....

The restaurant knew we were celebrating a Birthday and so at the end of the meal they sang Happy Birthday and brought out a piece of scrummy cake....

.....but they obviously don't know me very well because look how many forks they also brought us - "just in case everyone wanted a taste"....

German Gymnasium is well located, opposite Kings Cross station, and is a lovely space to enjoy a meal in. The building was designed by Edward Gruning and was England’s first purpose-built gymnasium, with funding coming solely from London's German community. It was built in 1865 for the German Gymnastics Society (established in 1861 by Ernst Ravenstein) and hosted the indoor events London's first Olympic Games, back in 1866.

This is definitely a great value afternoon tea at only £18.50 per person, you can also add a glass (or two) of SchlossVaux Sekt sparkling wine for £4.50 a glass. For more information about German Gymnasium pop by their website.

Thank you for popping by today,

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Time for Tea....with T2, Kingston Surrey

Hello there,

Welcome back to Tea With Me and Friends - we hope you're feeling tea-riffic today!

Did you know that Friday is National Tea Day here in the UK? National Tea Day is a chance for Tea lovers to unite in their love of tea - whether you attend the Tea Festival in London or just enjoy a brew at home with your friends and family. You can get involved on social media too, sharing your tea stories by using the #nationalteaday hashtag!

Ahead of National Tea Day I was invited into T2 which is located in the Bentall Centre in Kingston Upon Thames, Surrey for a tea masterclass. Lorna first introduced me to T2 a while ago and I thoroughly enjoy popping into their shops to have a sniff of the leaves and try the various teas (there are over 200 on offer!)......plus the staff are always so friendly. So I gladly accepted the invitation to meet Nick, store manager and learn a bit more!

This is Nick......who is full of passion and knowledge for tea (he even puts it in his stroganoff!) ....he makes a mean cuppa and wants to share his knowledge with everyone...

Nick - T2 store manager, Kingston Surrey

The philosophy at T2 is very laid back - the staff actually want to talk to you (imagine that!), they want to know what tea you enjoy already, how you brew your tea, what flavours float your boat. You're also encouraged to explore the numerous tins of tea....to have a smell of the leaves and try some of the teas (yes, they'll even brew you a cuppa!).

The first T2 store opened in Fitzroy, Melbourne in 1996 and today they have stores around the world. Every store I have been in has had the same friendly feel - lots of happy people wandering around gorgeous displays of teas and teaware.

The Kingston branch is exactly the same.....a feast for the eyes and the nose....

As we talked about the history of T2 and talked tea in general, Nick asked me questions about flavours I like and dislike and started brewing up some teas to try.

The stores are fitted out so you can sample both hot and cold teas from the whole range. If you fancy trying something new it's a great place to visit.

Today we sampled a white rose tea, French Earl Grey, a smoky London breakfast tea, Berry Oolong and a peach tisane to name a few!

Tea sampling - T2

Nick and his team are knowledgeable about tea in general (as well as T2 teas) and can guide you around the teas on offer in the current tea range. They are keen to show people how great tea can be and how easy it is to enjoy loose leaf tea at home.

If you have a T2 shop near you I would definitely recommend popping in and saying hi - you never know what you might discover.

Nick also showed me the T2 Teamaker - which lets you brew loose leaf tea at home (or anywhere) really easily and then serve it in your favourite cup simply by placing it on top of your cup (it looks kinda magical as the tea pours into the cup).

T2 Teamaker

I'd like to thank Nick for taking the time to talk to me about T2 and for taking me through so many teas. I learnt today that I still don't like Rose tea, but discovered a rather lovely New York breakfast blend that features cinnamon and vanilla (reminds me of pancakes!).

Disclaimer - Nick very kindly gave me a Teamaker and some tea to take home with me - however please note that all opinions in this blog post are my own and have not been influenced by this gift.

If you have a favourite T2 Tea we'd love to hear all about it. To find out more about T2 pop by their website.

Thank you for popping by today,

Friday, 14 April 2017

Afternoon Tea News - Chocoholic's delight!

Hello there,

Welcome back to Tea With Me and Friends - today we are sharing with you a brand new afternoon tea which will be sure to delight chocolate lovers everywhere!

Launching today (14th April) is the all new The Montagu’s Green & Black’s Chocola – TEA

The Montagu’s Green & Black’s Chocola – TEA

The Montagu at the Hyatt Regency London have teamed up with Green & Black's to craft London's only entirely Chocolate Afternoon Tea! Treat yourself to this wonderfully indulgent Chocola-TEA.

Launched to celebrate Easter and the 25th anniversary of the iconic British brand Green & Black's, this afternoon tea features chocolate throughout all the cake stand.....yes even in the savouries!

Take a look at the menu here...

Smoked Salmon Sushi Sandwich Cucumber, Dill Cream Cheese-Garnished with Green & Black's White Chocolate Flakes
Churchill Mini Burger with Chilli Chocolate-infused BBQ Sauce BBQ- Sauce infused with Green & Black's Dark 70% Chocolate
Venison and Milk Chocolate Pate with Fresh Raspberry-Braised with Green & Black's Milk Chocolate
Aubergine Mousse Éclair-Dusted with Green & Black's Organic Cocoa Powder
Coronation Chicken Sandwich-Homemade Green & Black's Chocolate Bread

Refreshing Lime Sorbet in Ginger Chocolate Cone
Passion Fruit & White Chocolate Macaroon Stack
Dark Chocolate Cupcake with Salted Chocolate DIY Garnish
Butterscotch Chocolate Tea Cake with Gold Leaf Garnish
Raspberry & Dark Chocolate Layered Mousse with Fresh Raspberries

Maya Gold Cocoa Nib Tea- infused with orange, cinnamon & nutmeg a tribute to the UK's first ever Fairtrade product

The Montagu’s Green & Black’s Chocola – TEA

Apparently Sir Winston Churchill, the hotel's namesake, was rather partial to a bit of chocolate.....if so I think he'd approve of this indulgent chocolate focused treat!

For more information about this afternoon tea pop by The Montagu at the Hyatt Regency London website.

If you experience this afternoon tea we'd love to know what you thought...did the chocolate bread float your boat?

Thank you for popping by today,
Rachel & Lorna

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Easter 2017 Afternoon Tea Round Up - Part 2

Hello there,

Welcome back to Tea With Me and Friends and our second look at the wonderful Easter themed afternoon teas that are available this year!

Today we're taking a look at the elegant offering from Hotel Café Royal,  a rather cute looking tea from Dorsett Shepherd's Bush and a chocoholics dream at Whittlebury Hall.

Enjoy an afternoon tea at Hotel Café Royal in London this Easter and you'll have a bunny joining you for tea.....well actually a rather cute macaron with bunny ears!

The bunny is an orange and pistachio macaron, and other Easter treats include Simnel cake with golden eggs!

Dorsett Shepherds Bush are serving hot cross bun scones at their Easter afternoon tea, as well as Chocolate nests, eggcellent biscuits and mini Easter eggs!

How cute are those biscuits?

Or how about this chocolate feast on offer at Whittlebury Hall...

This Easter afternoon tea features dark chocolate & praline brulee, spiced fruit & marzipan cake, milk chocolate & tonka bean brownie, Eton mess ice cream cone (yes you read that correctly!) and raspberry & lemon macaroons. Sounds tea-riffic!

If you enjoy an Easter themed afternoon tea this weekend we'd love to hear all about it - send us a photo on Twitter!

Thank you for popping by today,
Rachel & Lorna

Monday, 10 April 2017

Easter 2017 Afternoon Tea Round Up - Part 1

Hello there,

Welcome back to Tea With Me and Friends, we hope you're feeling tea-riffic today!

With Easter less than a week away we thought we'd take a peek at some of the wonderful Easter themed afternoon teas on offer this year. Spring is such a pretty time of year, with flowers blooming and the sunshine starting to make a welcome appearance....we think this is reflected in this selection of afternoon teas.

Let's start with Fortnum and Mason - one of my favourite shops in London to wander around....

Fortnum and Mason - Easter 2017

Such pretty colours!

Or how about this super cure offering from the Lancaster London Hotel....

Easter ARTea - The Lancaster London Hotel

Chef Ben Purton has added some Easter cuteness to their usual ARTea afternoon tea menu! I'm not sure whether I could eat one of those chicks though - so cute!

Brandshatch Place Hotel in Kent has created this rather tea-riffic Peter Rabbit Afternoon Tea....

Peter Rabbit Afternoon Tea - Brandshatch Place Hotel

The themed menu is to celebrate 150 years of Beatrix Potter and is available between 14th - 17th April 2017. Just look at those edible carrots!

Are you drooling yet? Pop back later this week to see the other Easter themed afternoon teas we've discovered!

Thank you for popping by today,
Rachel & Lorna

Sunday, 9 April 2017

Time for Tea....Cannizaro House Hotel, Wimbledon

Hello there,

Welcome back to Tea With Me and Friends - sorry it's been a while, but we're back today with a lovely afternoon tea experience that our lovely friend Sheree enjoyed recently. Sheree visited Cannizaro House Hotel in Wimbledon. Let's take a look at her afternoon tea adventure....

My mother-in-law was visiting for the weekend so we decided on an afternoon tea treat at Cannizaro House Hotel in Wimbledon, which is part of the Hotel du Vin chain. We were seated in the bright and comfortable Orangerie which looked directly onto Cannizaro Park. 

Afternoon tea - Cannizaro House Hotel
The tea list was extensive and we opted for the Moroccan mint with rose, Jasmine petals and pearls, and the All day Decaf. The food arrived and was plentiful

The savouries included:
Severn and Wye smoked salmon and cream cheese bagel
Egg and cress mayonnaise brioche sub
Ham with Gruyère croissant
Heritage tomato and tapenade galette
Goat’s cheese and spinach quiche

Savoury selection - Cannizaro House Hotel

We also enjoyed fruit scones served with Bonne Maman jam, clotted cream and Lescure butter:

Scone time - Afternoon tea - Cannizaro House Hotel

The sweets included:
Citrus sorbet
Lemon meringue pie
Creme Egg chocolate brownie
Rhubarb and custard doughnut
Homemade apple candy floss

Sweet treats - Cannizaro House Hotel

We really enjoyed the range of treats. The savouries were particularly tasty and fresh, the scones were not served warm but were still nice, and the sweets were a good range and not too filling. Lemon meringue pie is one of my favourites and did not disappoint, and the doughnut was surprisingly light. The candy floss was a fun ending to the tea and made for an attractive display on the cake stand.

Afternoon tea - Cannizaro House Hotel

Although busy with lunches and big tables, the service was friendly and helpful, allowing for dietary requirements, lots of fresh tea and a top up of clotted cream. The cost was £25 per person and was considered worth it for the quality and amount of food.

Looks like Sheree had a wonderful afternoon tea, I love the variety of savouries on offer and the sweets look lovely!

Thank you to Sheree for sharing her afternoon tea adventure with us. If you'd like to find out more about this afternoon tea adventure pop by the Cannizaro House Hotel website.

Don't forget, if you've enjoyed an afternoon tea adventure recently we'd love to hear all about it!

Thank you for popping by today,
Rachel & Lorna

Saturday, 11 March 2017

Time for Tea - Bears Restaurant , Runfold

Hello there,

Welcome back to Tea With Me and Friends, we hope you're having a tea-riffic week.

Last weekend I took my mum to Bear's Restaurant in Runfold Surrey to try their afternoon tea. Bear's opened it's doors in September 2016, located at The Packhouse antique and homeware store in Runfold, Surrey. Bears offers diners modern British-European fare across breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea, as well as offering a dinner service too.

Bear's offers a mid-range afternoon tea, costing £19.95 for two people and including finger sandwiches, scones, petit fours and tea.

Let's take a peek at their afternoon tea....

Afternoon tea - Bear's Restaurant

That's my mum there.....along with her "stop taking photos so I can eat" face! She'll probably hate me for putting this photo on the blog.

We did not have a choice of teas, but we did get a pot each so at least there was no arguing over who got the last cup!

We got six finger sandwiches between us, three salmon and cream cheese and three ham and avocado....

Afternoon tea finger sandwiches - Bear's Restaurant

The sandwich fillings weren't really to my taste, but the sandwiches themselves were really fresh. As you can see the fingers weren't overly uniform and there were some crusts left on the corners, but the bread was really soft and the fingers a good size.

Next we moved onto the scones, which were served with cream and little pots of jam....

Afternoon tea scones - Bear's Restaurant

As you can see there were two scones included in this afternoon tea, one plain and one sultana......and they were huge! Despite the size they cut well and had a great texture. I'm also pleased to report that the fruit scone was packed full of sultanas, they didn't skimp here! 

Finally we got to the petit fours, there were six different ones included with the afternoon tea....

Afternoon tea - Bear's Restaurant

The petit fours included a profiterole, a raspberry tart, a lemon tart, a piece of tiramisu, a mango slice and a chocolate slice.  Each sweet treat was perfectly made and very scrummy, although the pastry used for the tarts could have been a little crisper.

This was a limited afternoon tea adventure....what you see is what you get. But for £19.95 for two people we didn't really expect any extras. I think this was a good value tea, everything was fresh and tasted good. The highlight for me was definitely the scone....

Afternoon tea scones - Bear's Restaurant
The staff at Bear's Restaurant are all friendly and we were served quickly despite there being a large party dining at the same time. 

For more information about Bear's Restaurant pop by their website.

Thank you for popping by today,

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Time for.....a cheeky scone at Landmark London

Hello there,

Welcome back to Tea With Me and Friends!

A couple of weeks ago I was in London and had the opportunity to try some scones at The Landmark Hotel. I didn't have enough time for the full afternoon tea experience on this occasion, but did enjoy a rather lovely chocolate chip scone....

Afternoon tea scones - The Landmark

Afternoon tea is served in the Winter Garden, which despite the name is not a garden at all.....so no fear of getting wet in the English weather while enjoying your scones! The Winter Garden restaurant is located in the heart of the eight-story glass roof atrium in The Landmark Hotel - its a pretty spectacular space......

Winter Garden Restaurant - The Landmark
Photo from hotel website
But back to the scones...

We were served three scones, which were accompanied by clotted cream and strawberry preserve. The scones were served warm and were a good size - not too big, not too small. The scones cut easily and had a god texture - not at all claggy!

Please excuse the blurry photo....

Afternoon tea scones - The Landmark

All in all these were lovely scones and as you can see there were plenty of chocolate chips! I would definitely like to visit the Landmark Hotel again and this time try the full afternoon tea experience. 

Currently you can either try the traditional afternoon tea or a special chocolate afternoon tea which includes chocolate treats along with the chocolate chip scones: Coconut and chocolate macaroon, Banana, pecan nut and milk chocolate cake, Blood orange and white chocolate mousse and Pistachio and chocolate Opera gâteau

For more information about afternoon tea at The Landmark Hotel pop by their website.

Thank you for popping by today,


Monday, 6 March 2017

What's inside the Teatourist February Box?

Hello there,

Welcome back to Tea With Me and Friends, we hope you're well today!

We're very excited to report that the February Teatourist has arrived with us - we first experienced the delights of Teatourist when their January box landed on our door mat earlier this year. Teatourist is a tea subscription service, which brings tea lovers six wonderful blends from different tea companies each month. To read more about the service pop by our last post.

Let's take a peek at the February box....

February Box from Teatourist

This month's box includes a selection of black and green teas from Cheshire tea, Edgcumbes, Good & Proper Tea, Oteas, Tea in the City and The UK Loose Leaf Tea Company. 

We have a breakfast blend from the Good & Proper Tea Company, which features Assam, Kenya, Ceylon and Darjeeling leaves.

There is also a full bodied blend from Edgcumbes tea blenders which features Orthodox Assam, Darjeeling second flush, Keemun and Lapsang Souchong.

Oteas have provided a tea bursting with health benefits, combining black tea with dandelion roots.

There is a lightly roasted oolong from Tea in the City.

Possibly the prettiest tea I have ever smelt....the Cherry Sencha from Cheshire Teas. This is a blend o Sencha green tea, rose petals and natural cherry flavour.

Finally we have a Gunpowder Organic green tea from The UK Loose Leaf Tea Company.

A great selection for either someone new to the world of loose leaf teas or an experienced tea lover!

Each pouch has enough leaves to make about four cups - the perfect amount to try out a new tea, as well as a tea card that tells you all about the tea and the tea company. 

I have already tucked into two of the teas....

Discovering new teas via Teatourist

Tea and cake via Teatourist

For more information about how Teatourist works pop by their website.

We'd like to thank Teatourist for sending us their February.

Thank you for popping by today,
Rachel & Lorna

Monday, 20 February 2017

Tea Review - TweeTea for Children

Hello there,

Welcome back to Tea With Me and Friends - we hope you're well today.

Recently we were introduced to Treena from TweeTea - a collection of children's fruit tea. Treena came up with the idea of developing teas for children with her friend....over a cup of tea! They realised that when they met up for a good old fashioned catch up over a cuppa and a slice of cake that their children were quite limited in what they could enjoy, and a lot of the options were full of sugar. Treena wanted a healthier option for children which was tasty and also easy to prepare.

Twee Teas source all of their ingredients from reputable suppliers. They hand blend the fruit teas and sell them in pyramid teabags. The teas can be enjoyed both hot or cold, they are all natural with no added sugar or additives and contain no tannin or caffeine.

Currently there are three teas in the range - mixed berry, strawberry and vanilla and orange and pineapple. Treena kindly sent us the mixed berry and the strawberry and vanilla varieties to try......

Tweetea - mixed berry and strawberry and vanilla

The packaging is very cute - each has a sweet tea bird! Meet Berry-Boubou and Sunny Swift! 

The mixed berry tea contains Blackberry, Elderberries, Grapes and  Hibiscus, while the Strawberry and Vanilla contains Strawberry, Vanilla, Rosehips and Hibiscus. Each should be brewed for 3-5 minutes, developing really pretty colours in your cup.....

The strawberry tea has a really sweet aroma once brewed, it reminded me of the strawberry and cream sweets I enjoyed when I was little. However, the taste was much more mellow as the hibiscus came through. As the tea cooled it was interesting to see the vanilla flavour develop again - making the hot and cold versions of the drink quite different!

The berry tea is very subtle in both aroma and flavour, its not overly sweet but its sweeter than the strawberry tea. 

The teas are available in packs of 15 pyramids, which retail at just under £4 each. For more information pop by the Tweetea website.

We'd like to thank Treena for sending us these teas to try!

Thank you for popping by today,
Rachel and Lorna