This past Sunday, I found myself on the set of Downton Abbey. OK, so it wasn’t the exact set but I sure did feel like I was sitting in the Dowager Countess’ parlour. From fine bone China to delightfully decadent cucumber sandwiches and unlimited tea. I was whisked back in time with a very generous helping of clotted cream in Liverpool’s Tea Parlour.
Hiding away in an 1880’s fruit warehouse above the tourist trap of Matthew Street is the Tea Parlour, a bespoke, intimate little location that couldn’t feel further from a cafe and more like a cosy front room. Plush rugs, vintage decor, crisp white linens, silver platters and candles everywhere, you couldn’t feel any further from the hustle and bustle of the city below.
After being seated in the centre of the second room and served a refreshing elderflower water in a long stem glass, our waitress explained how our afternoon would go. Crustless sandwiches, followed by traditional warm scones with clotted cream and jam, then a collection of in-house baked cakes, accompanied with unlimited Earl Grey tea and a live pianist.
We had the option of Earl Grey or morning breakfast tea, but other flavours are available at an additional cost. All tea is served loose leaf in glass teapots poured at the table, and there’s a timer on hand to make sure you brew it just right. Crustless sandwiches included; cucumber, egg and cress, and ham, with an option of a fourth being either salmon or beef. Four sandwiches each, and there were no finger sandwiches, they were very generous and stuffed with filling. The ham and salmon were defiantly my favourites.
Next up, scones. You get two each, one fruit and one plain, both warm and fresh with self-serve clotted cream and jam. Here’s a thought - do you put jam then cream on a scone? Or cream then jam? The scones were lovely and so filling. I could see the cakes coming up next and had to sneakily adjust my belt notches. With every new round of food, the waitress popped back with a beautiful silver teapot of hot water to keep our mini glass teapots topped up.
Then, cake happened. Cake, cake and more cake. I have never been to an afternoon tea that served so much food! Before us, we had seven delicacies to feast on. You're going to want to wear your big pants when you come by that’s for sure! Guinness cake, chocolate eclairs (x2), fruit tarts (x2), Victoria sponge and lemon cheesecake. Cakes and tarts change seasonally too!
I love my food, and I really love my cake, but oh me oh my that was a lot of cake. We dived right in and started with the Guinness cake as it was the most intriguing on offer, none of us had ever had it before. It was delicious, with only a very slight Guinness aftertaste, but it tasted more like a light chocolate cake than anything else!
And that was all the cake we managed!
But fear not! Tea Parlour understands that most eyes are bigger than their bellies and that their food is too good to be left behind, so they will box up any and all leftovers for you to take home. Trust me, we weren’t alone in leaving with a doggy bag, almost everyone walking out had one!
I had such a wonderful afternoon, celebrating Jackies birthday, catching up with Hannah and Leanne, and generally just enjoying the decadent and vintage atmosphere of the Tea Parlour. These guys have created a place even Granny Violet would be very happy to dine in. Afternoon tea is by reservation only, Tuesday - Sunday, 11.30am - 5 pm, with seating at half hourly intervals. They have lots of great packages on offer too, from birthdays to baby showers, hen do’s and cocktail parties. To see a full list of what’s on offer, check out their website here.
Traditional afternoon tea was just £20pp, an absolute bargain considering how much food you get and it was a brilliant way to spend a rainy Sunday afternoon.
Until next time,