As a food blogger, when you see a photo like the one above – taken from Violets Cafe’s Instagram page – you beat a path to their door. Everyone and their granny seems to do afternoon teas now, and they come in so many different guises. I’ve posted about Fusion at Ramside Hall’s Asian inspired tea (see here), and Adriano’s in Gosforth have a Sardinian version. While these may be interesting and something a bit ‘different’, I don’t think you should muck around too much with tradition. Afternoon tea is supposed to be a quintessentially English affair, with scones, finger sandwiches and delightful little cakes.
Regular readers will know I was quick off the mark to visit Violets for breakfast when it first opened, and my review can be read here. I felt some of the menu options were on the expensive side, but what you get is locally sourced food which is beautifully presented. Many others have subsequently gone on to blog about brunch dishes such as Buttermilk Waffles and the Full English, and there’s been a collective drool from the folks of Newcastle. I heard from Abbie Atkinson, the lady behind this fantastic little Quayside cafe, that afternoon teas and light lunches were being launched the very week I’d visited, and I was slightly disappointed I’d not waited! When I posted about this news on various food-related Facebook pages the consensus was £25 per person was a lot of money for the full afternoon tea. I was in two minds myself for this very reason but, in the interests of blogging, decided it needed to be covered. What a hard life I lead! Both my friend and I needed cheering up, so we headed to Violets for some delicious cake and a glass of Prosecco at short notice. We weren’t disappointed! In the hope of saving some pennies, and also knowing that we always struggle to finish an afternoon tea everywhere we go, we opted for a Savoury (which can be requested as vegetarian, if necessary) and Sweet afternoon tea to share between the two of us. At £12.50 each, served with a pot of tea or coffee, this seemed like the best way to sample everything on offer.
Laura ordered Peppermint Tea, while I had Lavender and Flowers. There was some confusion as I played mother while pouring the tea, and I ended up accidentally trying the mint version. It tasted very much like Wrigleys, and therefore not for me! Once we’d swapped, I set about draining my teapot so I could move on to my glass of fizz. This can be purchased for an additional £5 per glass.When the star of the show arrived, on a pretty cake stand, it looked every bit as good as the original photo which had tempted me in the first place. The savoury board featured a sausage roll, cheese scones, precisely cut finger sandwiches and some onion chutney. I asked for some butter as I like to thick my savoury scones in the stuff 🙂
The sandwiches were fresh, which is not as obvious as you’d expect. We’ve sampled many afternoon tea with a slightly stale edge due to their advance preparation. The cheese and chutney was my particular favourite, and I really enjoyed the scones. Rather than being heavy, both the cheese and fruit – which was served on the sweet version – were light. Served warm, the butter effortlessly melted in. I wish I had seconds just writing that! The onion chutney was also good, and worked well with the scone and sausage roll.
The cakes and sweet treats were beautifully presented, adorned with edible flowers. The macaron was delicately flavoured like a Parma Violet, and the Lemon and Thyme mini-loaf was delicious. The frangipane tart was my particular favourite, though. Laura was not keen on the rhubarb and ginger biscuit dessert, so I finished it off.
With our Prosecco, the grand total was £35. It isn’t cheap, clearly, but feel it was worth a visit as a special treat. While Violets may not have the grand surroundings of Jesmond Dene, Wynard or the Vermont, it’s easy to forget you’re sat on the Quayside in such a quaint cafe. The food was definitely on a par with others of a similar price, too, although I think Violets may be one of the most expensive in the area. Jesmond Dene’s is also £25, for reference. Everything was beautifully presented and on point, as you’d expect. In our window seat we were afforded the opportunity to people watch, which was great on Ladies Day! We spent nearly 2 hours drinking and picking at the food, and never felt rushed to leave. We also finished everything off, although I’m sure if you wanted to pay the £25 and have one to yourself the staff would kindly give you a doggy bag.
Thanks for reading,