Every year I follow certain traditions around my birthday. One such custom is having afternoon tea with a lovely lady (who also shares an August birthday) I met through the Canny Food blog. Last year we opted for a ‘healthy’ alternative to the standard cakes and scones at Love Deli in Sunderland which wasn’t as appealing as we’d anticipated. The cafe is now closed and you can take from that what you will.
This year we vowed to do better and after seeing a tweet from Chaia in Gosforth announcing the launch of a vegan afternoon tea I knew where we had to head. This was intended to be a trial to see whether there was a demand, and judging by how popular it was on the day it won’t be the last. For those who don’t share my dietary requirements Chaia have a ‘regular’ version available every day.
We booked in for 2pm and I made sure I had a good appetite. I often end up taking the spoils home after an afternoon tea and didn’t want to this time round. I met K there and was accompanied by Dinky. It has to be said that the set-up in Chaia is difficult with a rambunctious toddler, so it might be worth visiting without little ones if you can. We were instantly wowed by the bright pink metallic tea set. It may not be to everyone’s tastes – especially afternoon tea purists who demand chintzy china – but I loved it.
While the crockery may have veered away from traditionalism the stand presented to us did not. Crustless finger sandwiches filled with Hummus & Veg, vegan cheeses and the exotic sounding Banana & Date Chutney were nestled alongside freshly made sweet and savoury scones, while we had the choice of two slices of cake to finish off the tea from the impressive counter in the cafe.
We weren’t limited by our veganism either, with Chaia stocking a range of dairy and egg free cakes on a daily basis. You can read about a previous visit of mine here. This clearly sets them apart from other cafes in the area. There are also salads, and sandwiches available if something sweet doesn’t tickle your fancy.
I chose Lemon & Poppy Seed and an Oreo-topped cupcake. K has an allergy to flax and linseed, and also strawberries, and this was happily accommodated by Chaia with a little bit of advance notice. The friendly staff advised her on the cake ingredients as the majority of the menu is prepared by them in-house. We were also given raspberry jam to slather on our scones.
We were offered the accompanying pot of tea each from an extensive selection on the Chaia menu. The Pomegranate and Hibiscus I selected was refreshingly fruity and worked well as a palate cleanser alongside the rich chocolate cupcake and the other sweet treats.
I don’t think anyone would say the portion size was scrimped upon and we were both impressed by the quality of this afternoon tea. At only £15 per person we thought it was good value compared to others available in the area, too. Since our visit Chaia have told me they plan to offer this special again on the 12th September and booking is recommended due to the limited number of covers the cafe has. Because they usually stock vegan cakes it may be possible to request a special afternoon tea if you can’t make it to this pre-planned event. You can find out more about the Chaia and get in touch with them on their Facebook page.
Thanks for reading,
We compiled a Best Of list for Afternoon Teas available here in the North East. You can find out more here.