Afternoon tea is latest retro treat

Amanda Perry serves afternoon tea at Fancie.
Amanda Perry serves afternoon tea at Fancie.

Put it down to the current burst of patriotic fever or the vogue for all things retro, but the latest must-have treat for foodies is traditional British afternoon tea.

It may sound like a bad joke from the days of Wonderloaf and gloopy jam but there’s more to the mid-afternoon ritual than cucumber sandwiches and victoria sponge.

Today’s version is a veritable banquet of gourmet, carb-rich delights – enough to send any weight-watcher into a frenzy of delicious indecision.

Serious tea takers may head for the London Ritz, which currently runs five sittings a day, yet still requests booking 12 weeks in advance. It will set them back £42 per head.

Closer to home, a new range of afternoon tea offers has sprung up at a much more appetising price.

Among the latest is Fancie in Sharrowvale Road, where cupcake queen Amanda Perry presides over a mouthwatering selection of delights, served up on vintage china.

For £10.50 per head, guests can feast from tiered plates of filled rolls, fresh-baked scones with jam and cream, a choice of traybakes, slices and – of course – miniature cupcakes, washed down with as many cups of tea as they can drink.

The café is open daily until 6pm and can be hired for private tea parties or corporate events.

Afternoon tea is also new on the menu at the St Paul’s Hotel overlooking the Peace Gardens. In honour of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, it is priced at £19.52 for two, including scones, finger sandwiches and miniature cakes, with a pot of tea – and a glass of Champagne each.

Lesley Draper