During our stay at Burnham Beeches Hotel earlier this week, Jass and I discovered that the Laura Ashley Tea Room are participating in the government ‘Eat Out To Help Out’ scheme. It was a no-brainer, and so we spontaneously booked a table for the following day.
Laura Ashley Tea Room Décor
I absolutely adore the decor throughout this hotel, and the tea room is no different. Decorated in the signature Laura Ashley shabby chic style with floral prints, muted contrasting colours and country style accessories.. it’s an elegant setting for Afternoon Tea.
The entire tea room is bright and airy with a high ceiling, large windows and complemented by classic architectural features which makes for a striking backdrop.
Decorative items including mirrors, ornaments and a selection of vintage teapots are dotted all over the walls. And there’s a feature wall with the iconic Laura Ashley baroque floral wallpaper in a pale grape shade, complemented by duck egg green/grey painted walls.
The Afternoon Tea
Having booked this so spontaneously, we had zero expectations. In fact, we hadn’t seen a menu or even enquired about the price! Sounds ridiculous, but it was clearly very popular the day before, they had a veggie option available and quite frankly, I was certain that anything would be better than the tragic lunch and dinner offering at the hotel.
Zero expectations mean zero disappointment. We were pleasantly surprised as it was all delicious – and they even have organic soya milk as an alternative. – This one is always a deal breaker for me if there aren’t any dairy-free options available.
We started with 4 sandwiches each; 3 veggie – cream cheese, cucumber and dill, some kind of cheese and apricot and egg mayo. Jass had a ham and mustard one too, while mine (which actually turned out to be my fave) was a grilled aubergine & courgette pesto sandwich.
Some of the bread was a little stale and it was missing some attention to detail where crusts hadn’t been cut off properly, so half of it was still visible. As you can see, the oil in the pesto had seeped right through the bread on one of my sandwiches. Not only was this unpleasant to touch, it was even messier to eat without the oil dripping on to my white top!
The scones really impressed me. They were incredibly buttery and flaky – just absolutely glorious. Served warm with Cornish clotted cream and blackcurrant jam, you could taste how fresh the scones were. To be honest, I’m struggling to think of a time when I’ve had better..
At this point, I was done. I know, I know – I say this every time I have afternoon tea, anywhere, but I’m just not a fan of dessert. So I won’t pretend I tried much, or even know what any of the desserts were. We had a selection of four each, three of which I’m told were delicious.
Jass did make me try a bit of one as it was coffee-flavoured. While it was far too indulgent for me to eat the whole thing, I have to admit that it tasted good!
The service was friendly but not very attentive to be honest. Once seated and drinks orders taken, we were left to our own devices for the majority of the time. The staff were nowhere to be found when we wanted a drink top-up or the bill, so it was slightly frustrating, however this may just be due to them being understaffed at the moment due to the pandemic.
One aspect we really liked was that you can change your tea/coffee each time you ask for a top-up. At some places, you have to stick to the same option, which is a shame if you don’t like the one you first chose! If you’re more adventurous than I am, this means you can try a variety of drinks.
We asked for seconds of the sandwiches – knowing that I wouldn’t have much of the dessert but we were told they only make a certain number per booking, so it wasn’t possible.
Now, I never really know if you can ask for seconds of the things you like or what the correct protocol is. At The Dorchester, there were waiters walking around with trays offering everybody extra sandwiches and scones. Whereas, when we had afternoon tea at The Taj hotel, we simply asked for more and they were happy to oblige even though it wasn’t advertised. So it seemed a bit strange here.
While the afternoon tea usually costs £22.50 per person, they have a reduced menu at the moment. The price per person is currently £20 – but with the government scheme, it works out to merely £10 per person – such a steal!
What Makes This Afternoon Tea Unique?
Regardless of the 50% deal that’s currently on, this is a brilliant, affordable afternoon tea. This is certainly the cheapest one we’ve ever had and by no means is it the worst! We really enjoyed it.
The decor makes it feel elegant, and like I said, the scones are the star of the show here – I need to know how they’re made and what makes them taste so delicious!
Have you visited a Laura Ashley Tea Room before? There are a few all around the country, and now I want to visit more!