As I have previously written about on the blog, afternoon teas for those who are dairy and/or egg free are not that easy to find. I listed some of the North East options in a post that can be found here. That said, there seems to be a growing awareness from restaurants that this is a niche, and recently I’ve noticed some new contenders vying for the crown of ‘Best Vegan Afternoon Tea’ in the area.
South Causey Inn is somewhere the Canny Food family have visited a number of times. I took my Mum and sister along last year when they were visiting from the Isle of Wight for afternoon treats (which you can read about here) and both were impressed with the value for money and attention to detail the kitchen showed with their offering. What can unfortunately happen when trying to ‘veganise’ this very British institution is that its essence can be lost. Jesmond Dene House, for example, is one of my favourite places to take tea because of the surroundings and ambience. They, however, don’t really deliver on the wow factor when it comes to their vegan selection. Fruit skewers are not an adequate replacement to cake, it has to be said. Seeing mention of vegan friendly cakes on the menu at South Causey Inn allayed my fears that their afternoon tea was going to be a cake-free zone!Upon arriving I was given a choice of drinks. I opted for a pot of English Breakfast Tea, which was served with a jog of soy milk.The dining room where I was taking tea was reasonably quiet – it was at the start of the week – which was a relief as Dinky was my companion. She’s going through a stage where she’s interested in grabbing everything and making lots of noise, which is not necessarily conducive to a such a genteel pursuit!When the picnic bench arrived that the tea was served on I couldn’t help but be impressed by the array of goodies they were able to create without dairy milk and eggs. The savoury selection included some herby bites, triangle sandwiches and a salad. There was definitely an emphasis on the humble chickpea, so it’s a good job I’ve gotten over my dislike of them.The little one was keen to get her hands on the soy based Strawberry Milkshake, which she seemed to enjoy. A few weeks ago she didn’t know what a straw was for and now she happily slurps away.The cakes were the most impressive I have encountered since becoming vegan and are the reason I’d say South Causey definitely has to be my favourite vegan afternoon tea so far. There was a Banoffee Pie inspired sweet that started to melt by the time I got round to the puds that was tasty, fruit packed scones, a lemon sorbet and almond flavoured cakes.The chocolate covered strawberries were taken from me by my tablemate, which was a relief as I was flagging by this point. I felt the tea was fantastic value for money at 18.95 and definitely would return again for a special occasion. Booking is advised so they can accommodate your dietary requirements, as an FYI. The staff were also knowledgeable and friendly, and I didn’t feel rushed out of the door. They were also great with Dinky which helped me relax and enjoy the experience. It is definitely one to try whether you are veggie, vegan, gluten free or otherwise, and deserves its place in my Top 10 Afternoon Teas in the North East.
Thanks for reading,
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