Mr. Canny and I have had a great two weeks together with Dinky while he was on paternity leave and I’m sad our baby bubble is being burst with his return to work. I decided we’d do something nice together to mark the occasion and chose VIP Teas in High Spen as the locale of our last supper of sorts.
Not the easiest place to get to without a car, it was somewhere I had wanted to visit for a while. They had mentioned on Twitter they accommodated vegans, so it seemed imperative we made the trip up. All that was asked was to give them notice so they could bake something suitable for Mr. Canny as they don’t always stock an option. Seems a shame this is the case when The Vintage Tearoom in Birtley stocks vegan and/or gluten free by default. No matter.
The tearoom is filled with vintage crockery, mismatched furniture and adorned with floral bunting. It could be overkill but it works beautifully, and it made me want to hit Tynemouth Market and start my own teacup and saucer collection!
The vegan option was freshly baked fruit scones. It was great that VIP offered vegan friendly spread and jam, so although Mr. Canny couldn’t enjoy a full-on afternoon tea he wasn’t completely left out. They stock soy milk, so he was able to enjoy a Latte as well. They also cater for those with a lactose intolerance.
Having said he wasn’t hungry he spotted on one of the chalkboards that they were serving Vegetable Soup. After checking it was free from dairy and other ‘nasties’ he ordered that too. I have to say it didn’t look pretty but it was delicious.
I hadn’t realised that I also needed to give them notice to enjoy their full afternoon tea. At £14.95 for pastries, scones, cake and sandwiches it was probably a blessing in disguise as I don’t have a huge appetite at the moment. Instead I ordered the smaller version at £9.95, which came with a choice of sandwiches and cake. I opted for Brie and Cranberry (other options include Chicken, Ham & Pease Pudding or Tuna) and a wedge of Lemon Drizzle Cake. This was served with a pot of tea, although coffee is also available.
I tried the vegan and non-vegan scones to compare and I have to say the vegan option was slightly better. And no, Mr. Canny hasn’t bribed me to say that 🙂 I found the texture lighter and less crumbly and I relayed this to the owner. One thing I found fantastic was they were baking all the while, and there was a delicious looking Corned Beef Pie cooling on the top of the stove which made me slightly envious. The baking is done in the tearoom and you can tell by the quality. The cake selection is amazing and my Lemon Drizzle Cake was zingy and light. I couldn’t manage it all though, so took home a doggy bag.
VIP is one of the friendliest tearooms we’ve visited. It is also child-friendly, as evidenced by the many babies who were also there. There are baby change facilities and although I didn’t attempt to feed the Dinky Diner while there, I’m quite sure the female staff would have no objections. Nothing was too much trouble, and at under £25 for such a lovely experience it was great value for money. This also included 3 scones to take home with us for the in-laws. In my opinion it’s a must-visit, and I only wish I’d brought my sogra here for her first Afternoon Tea than the disappointing Crown Plaza.
Thanks for reading,