This is a review of Laura Ashley The Tea Room, organised through Coventry Bloggers.
This month, Jim and I celebrated our fourth wedding anniversary. Although I try not to buy into the hype about celebrations like this (I’ve learned from the past… if I get my hopes up for grand romantic gestures, I usually end up disappointed – Jim is amazing at a lot of things, but being romantic isn’t generally one of them!), I do think it’s good for us to have a reason to prioritse spending quality time together. It’s a guilt-free excuse (I know, we shouldn’t need an excuse but the pschology and reasoning behind that is a blog post for another day!), and this year, we thought what better way to toast to another year of wedded life than a good old afternoon tea in the town where we legally became man and wife.
Laura Ashley The Tea Room
Laura Ashley The Tea Room has two locations in our area: Solihull and Coventry (and a soon to be opened new Tea Room in Stratford upon Avon). We visited the first Laura Ashley The Tea Room in Solihull, which is part of The Regency Hotel, and has a wonderfully relaxed and calm feel to it. From the muted colours (which gave us lots of inspiration for our future interior decor plans!), to the luxurious feel table cloths and impressive looking fire place, it’s somewhere I could happily spend hours of time chatting, drinking and, of course, eating.
The new Vegan Afternoon Tea
Excitingly, Laura Ashley The Tea Room has recently launched their Vegan menu, offering a selection of Vegan sandwiches (including cucumber, apple and dill which sounds lovely!), vegan scones and a selection of cakes like coffee and date cake, banana cake, double chocolate cake and fruit skewers. Although we were up for trying it… when push came to shove, we were just too tempted by the normal Afternoon Tea menu. Although if you’d like to read a review of the Vegan Tea in particular, my friend Sarah has written a lovely write up here.
Just my Cup of Tea
Funny story: when I was a child, my brother and I had to take it turns to do the washing up after dinner, and whoever didn’t do the washing up, had to make my parents a cup of tea. For some reason, even though making the tea was by far the quickest job out of the two (this was pre-dishwasher and we were a family of six, so it was a hefty job!), I really resented doing it – sorry, Mom and Dad. I swore I’d never drink tea as an adult. Oh, how little did I know!
Fast forward a few years, and I don’t feel quite human until I’ve had my morning brew. I love nothing more than enjoying a cup of tea with those I love, chatting and sipping away, especially if there’s biscuits, cakes or scones to accompany. There’s so much quiet joy to be found in the shared experience, and it’s why afternoon tea is always a much loved treat.
The tea selection at Laura Ashley The Tea Room is particularly impressive, offering a wide selection of loose leaf tea including Earl Grey, Darjeeling (Jim’s tea of choice on our visit), Red Berry and Hibiscus, and my old faithful favourite: English Breakfast. I know, I know… I wish I was more adventurous, but simple tastes and all that.
Tea was served in these gorgeous glass loose leaf tea pots – and there’s something about the ceremony of waiting for the tea to infuse, remembering to use the tea strainer (something I’m prone to forgetting!) and pouring into tea cups that adds to the occasion. I’ve since read that the tea is refillable, although we weren’t quite sure during our visit and just had one pot each.
From Savoury to Sweet
After a little soup starter, served in tiny cups which we sipped (in all honesty, I think I prefer eating soup with a spoon), I was so excited for our tiered stand to arrive.
Starting with our sandwiches first, we enjoyed egg mayonnaise (I had both as Jim isn’t keen on egg!), ham and piccalilli, smoked cheddar with grape chutney, crayfish tail and a lovely little slither of Welsh rarebit, which was a lovely unexpected treat.
For me, the star of any afternoon tea is the scones. I’m not sure what it is about them that I just love. Paired with a hot cup of tea, I’m not sure if there’s anything better? It always reminds me of holidays, and without fail, takes me back to the cream teas shared with my Mum on the coast of Wales, looking out to sea from our table hoping to glimpse dolphins off the New Quay harbour wall. The freshly baked scones at Laura Ashley The Tea Room did not disappoint, and I loved that we each got a fruit and plain scone to devour.
I decided to try and work out which way round I prefer my scones… the Cornish or Devonshire way. Turns out, I’m 100% a Devon girl – I prefer my cream on first, followed by jam. It was just easier to spread that way. Who’s with me?
After all of that, I struggled to find room for my cakes, even though they looked so deliciously inviting. I found a tiny macaroon sized hole and asked for the rest of the cakes to be boxed up to take home. I have to say, the raspberry cheesecake was my favourite: it was just divine. I’d return for that alone!
A Real Treat
So often, we focus on the quality of the food when we dine out, but what our experience at Laura Ashley The Tea Room reminded me is that oftentimes, it’s the surroundings that can play the biggest part in our enjoyment of a meal. From the pristine tablecloths to the upholstered chairs, from the little items of decor adorning the mantel piece to the happy excited chat coming from the table of baby shower guests sat next to us: it all contributed to the atmosphere.
Overall, we had a wonderful time. Without having experienced it first, I might have thought the price was a little steep for afternoon tea, but it’s all the little details that make this a proper treat. It’s something to book for special occasions and memorable events.
At the time of publishing, an afternoon tea at Laura Ashley The Tea Room in Solihull costs £20 per person, with additional extras of a glass of Prosecco or Champagne available. A children’s afternoon tea is £10 per child and sounds super cute with a homemade milkshake.
Disclaimer: we were invited for an afternoon tea for two in exchange for writing an honest review blog post. All content, views and opinions remain my own.