Peacock’s Tearoom – Ely

When life in a Cambridge college gets too claustrophobic, chances are high that you are going to go on a day trip to the nearby village of Ely. (Pro-tip: Saturday return tickets are only £2!)

Ely is an adorable, pictoresque little village. It’s very small and very, very English. After doing the prerequisite touristic wander from the water through the cathedral, there’s not much to do….besides a traditional afternoon tea!

Enter Peacock’s Tearoom.

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The interior is cute, albeit crammed: here’s one too many tables in the room! That said, it’s still quite doable.

The food is pretty yummy, a classic afternoon tea comes with four finger sandwiches, two scones with real clotted cream and jam, and a slice of cake of your choice. The sandwiches are fine, nothing too exciting. The scones are really nice, and the real clotted cream is so, so appreciated! After having had one too many teas with either butter or whipped cream, this was a very warm welcome back to afternoon teas, let me tell you.

The star of the show was the cake.
Oooh boy, this cake-  let me tell you. A coffee cake, layered with Baileys cream icing? All the yes! It was perfectly moist, the coffee flavours were subtle and yet obviously present, and the Baileys cream was the stuff dreams are made of.

Behold the tower of food:

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They have many exciting teas to choose from, and it was a tough choice to make indeed! My partner went for a classic vanilla tea, which tasted like buttery biscuits when drank with milk. I opted instead for the Black Witch tea, from Bohea Teehandlung in Berlin. In the menu it is described as “A splendid and memorable spicy blend from Berlin; with star anise, ginger, apple, cinnamon and more”. What is the “and more”? I have no clue. Was it spicy? No, not really. That said, it was delicious! Strangely, it has all the flavours I link to Chai, but doesn’t taste like it. It has a vaguely festive thing about it, but is very autumnal. Simply yummy.

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Overall, Peacock’s Tearoom is highly recommended – as is Ely in general! Both are quaint, traditional, and incredibly English.

Let me finish this off with a picture from inside the cathedral after Evensong. Enjoy!

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Cafe Savoy (Prague)

Wait – Prague?
Yes Prague!

Last week has been awfully quiet on this blog (but not on our Instagram or Facebook *hint hint*), because my lovely partner whisked me away to lovely, wonderful Prague.

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This city y’all. It’s so gorgeous and romantic, and the cultural history is just such a quintessential aspect of it all that you feel smarter just looking up at the buildings you’re walking past.
We spent 3 wonderful nights there, and being back in grey Bonnie Scotland I already miss it so much (being back at work doesn’t help).

One of the things we did, of course, was sit down for a cup of tea and a cake. Now Prague is full of places where you can get tea and cake, and lots of it looked absolutely delicious. However, as it was the day that we were going to go to the opera, my partner and I decided to live it up and go to the Cafe Savoy.

Cafe Savoy

This place was fancy you guys. I spent quite some time staring at the gorgeous ceiling and the chandeliers, and my dressed up boyfriend, and the cake display and ooh it was beautiful.There is also lots of staff around, and the display of cakes, and wine on their winewall, was very impressive.

One thing to note though, about Prague rather than Cafe Savoy specifically, is that the service is horrid. I always felt like I had done something to offend the staff – even though there is no way, as often I’d just walked in when this feeling hit me – and they would be loath to come over to help out. At Cafe Savoy we sat upstairs, and saw 3 out 6 staff members just hanging around, not doing anything. There was one man who was wonderful though, and I’m so sorry that I didn’t catch his name. But you know who you are, and hats off to you! You provide service that is outshining your entire city.

Cafe Savoy Prague

It all looked very yummy – the only issue being that the names were all in Czech. As my Czech is not the best, I based my judgement on looks alone. After debating for a while I decided to go for the strawberry cup, also because we decided to have a glass of Prosecco with our tea (because we’re fancy that way).

After somehow managing to get a waitress to give us a tea menu, and then to take our order (it took a while), our table ended up as beautiful and enticing as anything:

Cafe Savoy Prague

Sorry for the blurry pic, I was just too excited to dig in!

The strawberry cup was very yummy, a refreshing combination of fresh strawberries, vanilla cake and some kind of thick, vanilla cream. It was also a wonderful match for the tea I went for: the Marco Polo. This tea is a velvety black tea infusion. All the information you get on the menu is that it has “Chinese and Tibetan flowers”, and whatever these flowers are – they mix beautifully.

This tea was wonderful, absolutely amazing, and made very well. It also went pretty well with the strawberry cup and Prosecco!

Bottom line is – go to Prague. This city is definitely worth the visit, it looks fantastic, the food and drink are cheap and delicious, and there is so much to see and do!

If When you go to Prague, should you go to Cafe Savoy? You can, depending on if you want something very Czech, or more silly posh. It’s quite expensive for Prague standards, at around UK prices, but the over-the-topness of it all is quite worth it!

I loved it, and now I’m back with new books to review – hurrah!

The Elephant House (Edinburgh)

Today I did something I never thought I would: I went to The Elephant House.
There are really only 2 reasons I figured I would never go in there: it’s always super busy with tourists, and it proudly claims to be the “birthplace of Harry Potter”, which it isn’t – although it was in part written there.
However, as I am running out of places to review in Edinburgh, I found myself braving the crowds and going in for some tea and cake.

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Although I knew it was going to be busy, the queue still took my by surprise. It was so crowded! When you enter the café, you are to place your order by the counter before you can take your seat – a measure presumably enforced to prevent Harry Potter pilgrims from simply coming in without purchasing something. It makes sense and isn’t too much of a bother, providing the crowd isn’t too big. Which it was.
The decor is nice, with lots of elephant statuettes scattered around and an overall comfortable and warm air. There is essentially no service to speak of, as it was too busy for the staff to deal with.

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As for the tea and cake, I decided to go for the Japanese Cherry Green Tea infusion, with a slice of Walnut-Nutella cake. And I was charged £6.40, a price unrivalled in Edinburgh I think, which is quite the achievement in an already expensive city.
This sudden lightness of my wallet, combined with my hard prejudice against this place (I have to admit), weighed heavily on my shoulders as I was about to tuck in.

However.
I also have to admit that it was delicious. The cake was perfectly moist, with the exact right amount of nuts, and without an overpowering amount of Nutella. The tea was beautifully delicate, the cherry notes providing the perfect amount of sweetness and the green tea never reached bitterness. It was, quite frankly, very good.

Was it worth £6.40?
Well, considering that it wasn’t coated in gold, nor was it presented to me on a silver platter by a butler assigned to me- I would have to say definitely not. That said, the satisfaction I got from the guilty pleasure cake and the elegant tea did soften the stinging pain from my wallet a little bit.

Final verdict?
Go to The Elephant House if you are a) a die-hard Potter fan who believes the claim on the window, or b) very rich and forgot the value of money. Or c), silly like me.

Patisserie Valerie (Edinburgh)

Another Sunday, another cheat day!
For this week’s review we went to Patisserie Valerie, marking this our first large chain review!

Patisserie Valerie, of course, is a UK wide chain known mostly for their cake slices and hot drinks. But you would be amiss to forget that they also do afternoon tea (£25 for 2)! My partner and I sat ourselves down at the North Bridge branch on a late Sunday afternoon, after not having eaten after a light breakfast, and were very excited.

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This is well worth its money. You get 5 finger sandwiches each (get it??), 2 scones, 1 mini éclair, and 3 mini versions of their famous cake slices. The sandwiches and cakes are wonderful, the scones are unremarkable. That said, the clotted cream and jams are simply divine. You get bottomless refills for your drinks, which can be either tea or hot chocolate- yum!

Although it was all good value for money, and it all tasted very good, it did have the distinct feel of a large chain. Whereas most places we’ve been to before, if not all, had freshly baked scones and cakes, nothing here was fresh. The éclairs especially gave this away, as they had the typical thick drops of condensation on them which come from refrigeration. None of it was baked on the premises, but does that matter when it all tastes good?

I don’t know, so all I can say is this: if you prefer to have your sweet goods baked freshly, don’t go to Patisserie Valerie. If you just want good food and don’t want to spend independent teashop prices for them, do!

Café Nom de Plume (Edinburgh)

It’s hard, being on a diet and blogging about tea and cakes every Monday, not gonna lie. (Coincidentally, that may be a part of the reason why I’m on a diet…) That said, there is a specific kind of feeling of achievement when you’ve calculated your calorific budget so that you can fit in scone and cake on the same day!

Last week my partner and I experienced that joy when we went to Café Nom de Plume in Edinburgh. This is a kind of bohemian, hipsterish café that also does dinner etc. The decor is Mediterranean (?) in a way, and the staff is very friendly.

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And sure, that’s all important and lovely – but let’s get to the tea and cakes!
The tea they serve here is regular Twinings bagged tea, nothing fancy but good enough. If you’re a bit of a tea snob, this may not be the place for you. The tea I went for was the Cranberry and Raspberry infusion? It was alright, heavy on the raspberry, your typical berry tea. The real stars of the show were the pastries though.

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Did I mention our Instagram yet? ^_^ tea.and.tales

I went for a fruit scone with clotted cream, which you pay extra for, and a chocolate fudge cake. The clotted cream is really not worth it. It comes in a hotel style single serving package, and there’s a thick skin on top of it. It’s not particularly appetising, so beware. That said, the scone was lovely and I did like having the choice between many little jam packages.
The cake was something else entirely. The right amount of moist, the right amount of fudge, and so so beautiful too.

Short wrap up: this is a nice cafe. From what I could tell (and smell) the food here is good. It’s got a relaxed and relaxing atmosphere, and the staff is very good and attentive. Don’t go here for a mind blowing tea experience, but do enjoy the cakes.

Procaffeination (Edinburgh)

Welcome to beautiful, sunny Edinburgh!

Today I had a wonderfully lazy afternoon at Edinburgh’s Procaffeination just off the Royal Mile. Sure, caffein conjures the image of coffee, and sure, they do coffee – but tea also has caffein. I’ve walked past this little cafe several times and finally decided to nip in.

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The cafe is quite small and there’s only 3 tables and 2 bars for people to sit at, so if you’re coming to visit with a big group that could be an issue. The decor is a bohemian shabby chic kind of rustic, with a pretty cool wooden floor and designs. The staff is really nice, especially the owner who is totally fine with people asking silly questions about Czech cakes.

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The brand  they sell at Procaffeination is Suki Tea. I went for a lovely Apple Loves Mint infusion with apple, papaya, peppermint, and rosebuds. I’ve recently been in a peppermint tea kind of mood, and although this tea is absolutely delicious, it’s not very minty (just for your information!) For a nice complementary bite I went for the fruit scone – yes, I am one of those fruit scone loving people. Strangely the scone came toasted? Also there was no clotted cream, just butter and jam. It was all very fine, just some choices I had never seen made before!

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(Picture from our Instagram tea.and.tales)

Overall I recommend Procaffeination. The tea, although I have only sampled one kind, is great, the scones, although mine came toasted and without cream, and the staff is lovely. It’s a cute little cafe, and it being situated just off the Royal Mile makes it easily accessible and a good pitstop on an Edinburgh city trip.

Forsyth’s Tearoom (Edinburgh)

Ooph, it’s been a busy couple of weeks here behind the scenes of Tea & Tales!

The sun is out, birds are singing and spring flowers are blooming – spring has sprung and this beautiful city is becoming lovelier and lovelier. When you’re working hard in these conditions, it’s easier to bear – but there’s still not much that beats a stroll through the sunlit streets of Edinburgh followed by a relaxing Cream Tea. Today, we went to the tourist hub: the Royal Mile, and had a stop at Forsyth’s Tearoom.

Forsyth's Tearoom

Forsyth’s Tearoom is a wee little tearoom hidden in a wynd just off the Royal Mile. It continues last week’s theme of your grandmother’s living room, as the interior full of a plethora of crochet decorations, jokes relating to Scotland and Scottish – oh, and it’s run by a lovely purple-haired eldery lady. When you walk into the tea room you are immediately faced with the counter, displaying yummy freshly baked goods, and the owner doing the dishes behind.

Forsyth's Tearoom

I opted for a Cream Tea, as I was feeling particularly stressed, and was handed the cutest kitschy china I’ve seen so far. There was, unfortunately, no choice of tea (or at least not that I noticed), but there is nothing wrong with a generic tea every now and then. It’s cheaper than a loose leaf tea, and although it lacks the nuanced flavouring of a loose leaf tea, it can still be comforting and warming. The scone was still warm and smelled absolutely delicious. It came with butter, jam, and whipped cream – no clotted cream unfortunately, but the jam was more than good enough to make up for it. The flavouring of the scone was perfect, exactly the right amount of sweetness and quantity of sultanas – but the texture was a bit dense.

Forsyth's Tearoom Cream Tea

That said, having a quick Cream Tea at Forsyth’s Tearoom is very relaxing. Maybe it’s because it looks like grandma’s living room, maybe it’s the lovely service, or maybe it’s just because you’re having tea in a beautiful city surrounded by lovely people.