It seems like most places offer afternoon teas now and this isn’t a good thing. One of the selling points of a venue serving one of these up is the atmosphere. Sitting in a city centre cafe eating a scone is not going to compare to Jesmond Dene House for me, no matter how bargainous it is. That said, however, now I’m vegan I’m willing to try anywhere that offers a dairy and egg free version of this great British tradition.
Stepping up to the cake stand is The Bohemian, one of Newcastle’s premier veggie/vegan establishments. Known more for burgers and pizza, their afternoon tea announcement was met with quite a lot of excitement on my part. While the ambience may not match the refined charm of JDH it seemed like I’d be spared fruit skewers and that was worth a punt in my book, at least.
There was the option to have the tea served with Prosecco, but we opted for the traditional tea pairing. I chose Green while Laura plumped for Peppermint. My non-vegan friend said she wasn’t sure what to expect, especially with the cakes on offer, but I was happy she was game for giving it a try.
When it arrived I was taken aback by the sweet selection, it has to be said. Having been disappointed in the past by vegan afternoon teas I didn’t know whether to have high expectations or not, although the photo posted on The Bohemian’s own Facebook page whetted my appetite.
The first layer to be attacked was the savoury, which included vol-au-vents. It has been years since I’ve had one of these! My favourite was the Hoisin ‘Duck’, made with jackfruit. The taste and texture emulated the real thing and the flavourings were just right. The Red Onion Chutney and Cream Cheese version was also good, with the non-dairy cheese lighter and fresher than some of the alternatives I’ve tried over the last few months.
I was less keen on the Hummus Wrap on account of the inclusion of olives – bleurgh – and I found the Pesto, Macadamia Cheese and Tomato finger sandwiches a little bland. A touch more seasoning and it would have been spot on.
The scones were still warm and served with coconut cream instead of the dairy version. Because they were on the small side I could have probably eaten another, but that might be my greed talking. The previous day I’d eaten another afternoon tea at a spa – the post will be coming soon – and the vegan scones served there were like rocks in comparison. I even ate the fruit, which is rare for me.
I was positively giddy by the time we reached the desserts as this looked like a proper afternoon tea should. Laura enquired what a meringue would be made from if eggs weren’t used. I could see her incredulity when chickpea water was mentioned!
These were by far the best I’ve had and mimicked the original perfectly. The outside was crisp and the centre slightly chewy. The slightly tart fruit worked well with its sweetness and I could have easily eaten a few. Even Laura was won over and was in dismay that something we’d usually drain away could be used as a replacement. The Chocolate Brownie was exceptional, although Laura said she found it on the rich side, and even Dinky got in on the act and tried some of the Sticky Toffee Pudding Cupcake. Again, this was on the sickly side but meant I savoured each mouthful. The Cheesecake was the lightest of the sweet options and happened to be my least favourite on account of the raspberries used.
After an exceptional experience at Chaia a few weeks ago I really didn’t think it could be topped, but The Bohemian might have just pipped them to the post on offering the best vegan afternoon tea in the area.I’d highly recommend this is sampled, even with non-veggie friends. I think this will surprise them as to how innovative vegan food can be. Booking is essential and a minimum of 24 hours notice is needed to whip one up. At £17.95 per person it is on a par with many others available in the area.
Thanks for reading,
Find out more about The Bohemian here.