Sara & Steph’s Best Afternoon Tea League Table

Who doesn’t love a good Afternoon Tea??

One of the things I have missed since I found out I needed a gluten free diet about five years ago, is a good Afternoon Tea! So my friend Sara and I have decided to search out the best Afternoon Tea, for both normal and GF diets!

And today’s offering has set the bar very, very high!

Venue: Tom Browns Brassiere in Gunthorpe.

Time of our booking: 2:30pm

I actually phoned on the morning of our Afternoon Tea, to book in, and the guy on the phone was really helpful. So this was a straight-forward process….even when I dropped into conversation about needing to have gluten free food. He said they could definitely do the sandwiches, but might have to serve some of their GF deserts as there wasn’t time to do cakes – as everything was freshly made. Seemed fair enough.

Parking: While Tom Browns has its own car park, this was full when we arrived, so we ended up parking on the street a short three minute walk (in heels). It was a quiet area, so I wasn’t worried about leaving Audi-Belle.

First Impressions: Tom Browns looked like a great place to spend an afternoon… There is an outdoor area which would be amazing on a warm, summer’s evening… Especially if you could get around the fire pit! I love that kind of thing.

We walked in, and at the bar spoke to someone about our booking. We were about twenty minutes early, but our table was set up and ready for us. The part of the restaurant we were seated in was stylishly decorated with wooden floors, spacious tables, and tastefully painted. I’m not one for lots of “stuff” so for me it was perfect. It was quiet, even though they were busy; so perfect for actually conversing with each other.

Adam was the front of house guy, who was destined to be attentive to our every need, and he was excellent at it. He made sure we were catered for, and not lacking anything, regularly checking if we were OK, or needed anything else. He ran through the various tea options we could have, and we both chose Red Berry and Flower. While I joked about hints of rose, lavender and daisy, the tea was a delicious berry flavour, without any perfume overpowering the flavour.

Presentation: Like, wow!

So when we arrived, there was a strip of…errrr…astro-turf…bear with me! along with a sign saying “keep off the grass” laid across one end of the table. I loved this! We both knew how the Afternoon Tea was going to be presented, based on photos we’d seen the net, so this was a fabulous touch! When Adam brought out the miniature wooden picnic table with our food on it, we were well impressed! A quirky play on a great British tradition. We suggested to Adam’s colleague, Dan, this could easily be tweaked for Wimbledon, as a special offer.

Adam ran through the GF and regular selection of sandwiches, and cakes. Yes! GF cakes! Including a GF scone!! Do you know how long it is since I have had the pleasure of enjoying a scone!??! There was a smoked salmon on a cracker on the regular side, which was missing from the GF side, but Adam offered it to me on GF toast if I wanted it. I so did!

Flavour: The flavour of the food was pretty awesome.

Sara totally enjoyed all aspects of her tea, and when Adam offered us more sandwiches, asked for more egg mayo sandwiches. She said the bread was incredibly fresh, especially after trying one of my GF ones. The scones (jam first, then cream) were delicious, even without butter. Which, as Sara said, had there been butter available this would have topped the calorie limit over balance! 😂 Sara totally loved her carrot cake, which was beautifully moist (gluten jealousy levels increased!) and there was a small tart thing which when she first bit into it was a bit, meh, but with the combination of the jam in the centre became an “oh wow!”

GF food is notoriously not as good. It is improving, but there are still differences. Que sera! So how did Tom Browns do with the GF Afternoon Tea? Well since it has been a while since I’ve had it…..pretty impressive! The bread wasn’t as fresh as it could have been, but the fillings more than made up for that. The smoked salmon and beetroot sauce was literally my favourite! Sigh! The scone….. Oh my days, the scone…. That was like a mouthful of happiness in every single bite! I would book in again just for one of those! As well as the promise of the fire pit, and the ambience of the brassiere. The carrot cake was, alas, too dry, although the frosting was very nice. But I couldn’t eat it. The lemon cake was very tasty, and quite crumbly so I couldn’t get it all…I wanted it all!! The chocolate posset which was served to me instead of a chocolate brownie was…. a serious don’t-talk-to-me moment! Mmmmmmm…… Chocolate.

The crowning glory of Tom Browns Afternoon Tea (after the scone) has to be the strawberry mousse on a bed of chocolate crumb. Made to look like tomatoes on a bed of dirt. It was very flavourful, and we could both have the same, which was a lovely touch.

Failings: I had booked a prosecco Afternoon Tea, and maybe because I threw in the gluten free query while on the phone,  this had been forgotten. No biggie, we just had to ask for the prosecco when we ready to eat the cakes. Turns out this was the right time, as the prosecco was incredibly sweet and went down a treat. A raspberry in the glass was a classy touch. We also asked for a top up of the tea, but this wasn’t brought out until we reminded one of the waiters toward the end of the meal. And while we know the River Trent was next to the Brassiere, we didn’t get a view of it.

At the end we had a good chat with Dan, as we were interested in the ladies day event they are organising for July. Adam had finished his shift, or had gone on a break, but the friendliness and attentiveness to us as customers was matched by Dan.

Toilets: They have to have their own category! The lights on the mirror which come on when sensors pick up movement, was a fabulous attention to detail some of us ladies love! Clean and hygienic, toilets can maketh or breaketh a restaurant.

Best of Afternoon Tea league table: Tom Bowns may be the first on our Best of Afternoon Tea league table, but it has set the standard high! It will take a lot to shift it from our top three, so I expect it to be on the list for a while.

Current position: Number One!

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