Nothing says ‘British’ more than afternoon tea. It is the quintessential delight that has evolved so much over the years to become a true event in its own right. From a special event to a treat during a spa day to catching up with friends and family, afternoon teas are everywhere, and there are so many to enjoy.
When Barnham Broom invited nourish to enjoy their afternoon tea, we jumped at the chance. Social media images of their version of afternoon tea looked enticing and a glance at the menu showed some modern twists to a traditional afternoon tea menu. With appetites well and truly whetted, we made our way to Barnham Broom, found nine miles west of Norwich, to find out more.
Barnham Broom has long been a highlight of the Norfolk hospitality scene. Set in the heart of the Norfolk countryside, this is a venue with much to offer. With 46 bedrooms, the facility offers 18-hole golf courses, luxurious spa days, and a full gym and heated indoor pool, there is something for everyone. Add in weddings, an award-winning restaurant, and versatile meeting places, and it is clear why Barnham Broom has remained a go-to destination for so many over the years.
With a team of expert chefs including Nik Hare and Aaron Hayward, and some incredible Christmas parties in the offing, Barnham Broom has truly reopened its post-COVID doors in style. The whole team are friendly and more than ready to welcome guests and residents alike – and a big part of this offering is their afternoon tea. And having experienced it, it is easy to see why!
Served in the Brasserie, the Barnham Broom afternoon tea offers a selection of sandwiches, savouries, scones, and patisserie. Under the watchful eye of Restaurant Manager Dale Eaves, the service is slick and professional and, best of all, not intrusive, leaving you to enjoy devouring the tiers and sampling the imaginative flavours from the kitchen.
The first choice to make is whether you’d like to upgrade your afternoon tea to a G&T, Pimm’s, champagne, or cocktail. There is even a chocolate afternoon tea for those addicted to cocoa! We enjoyed the champagne afternoon tea, although I did also sample a cheeky cocktail from their list – well, it would have been rude not to! The Barnham Creations include a Tiki Blinder – Tiki rum, coconut rum, pomegranate syrup, passion fruit syrup, and pineapple juice – while I went for their take on a classic with a pomegranate mojito – Bacardi, soda, pomegranate syrup, sugar syrup, and fresh mint leaves. Both of these are available as alcohol-free versions, and there are also martinis and sparkling cocktails on offer. The mojito was suitably refreshing and went well with the afternoon tea offerings.
The second choice is around what tea to enjoy. Barnham Broom have a wide and varied menu of loose leaf teas, from their own Barnham Broom Blend to mandarin and ginger oolong, and rhubarb spritzer. Hanneke went for a cherry Bakewell tea, a blend of black tea and natural flavours, while I went for my trusty peppermint, and both teas hit the spot well, even coming with a range of egg timers so we could get the perfect steep on the leaves. For the non-tea drinkers, there are two coffees available, and a hot chocolate – surely a must with the chocolate lover’s afternoon tea!
The difficult decisions made, we sat back and relaxed. The brasserie is very comfortable, with views over the golf course, and it was also full on the day we visited, hence booking is essential.
The afternoon tea came, and I must note that Dale had double checked on all food allergies when we sat down and again when we ordered. The plates were full but not bursting, a good thing, and our eyes were immediately drawn to the glaze on one of the amazing desserts on the top tier; more of that later!
We went straight to the savouries, the warm elements that complement the afternoon tea experience so well. The first of these was a rarebit sausage roll, both solid and meaty, and full of flavour. The meat comes from Cleveleys in Halesworth, an area famed for its pork, and it was very delicious with its subtle cheesy rarebit flavours. Accompanying the sausage roll was a light and flaky smoked dapple cheese and mustard straw, and that definitely hit the spot – especially with the glass of fizz!
On to the sandwiches, three in total. Generously cut, there was a choice of tuna mayonnaise and cucumber, roasted red pepper and hummus, and coronation chicken. Each was lovely, with a gentle heat in the coronation chicken, and a good-sized amount of chargrilled pepper with the hummus.
Now time for the scones, which were still warm by the time we got around to eating them. We went with the cheese first, to continue the savoury beginning, which was light and fluffy and delicately balanced. The sultana scone came with a very fruity strawberry conserve and a shining ball of clotted cream. While the cheese scone was lovely, this was a real highlight, being well made and, again, very light and full of flavour. We loved it!
The final tier was in sight, the cakes and pastries. On our visit, this consisted of vanilla and peach frangipane, millionaire’s cheesecake, lemon meringue Swiss roll, and pistachio and coconut macaroon. From the moment the afternoon tea had been put down, our eyes were continually drawn to the incredible glaze on the cheesecake, but we opted to go for the vibrant green macaroon first. Again, this was very light – Aaron definitely has a deft touch – and it was such a good macaroon, it made you wonder why you didn’t eat them more often! Next was the vanilla and peach frangipane, which was very fruity. Opting to save the lemon until last, as a refresher, we dived into the cheesecake with its mirror glaze. While some can find the top tier of an afternoon tea too sweet, the dark cocoa crumb on the bottom of the cheesecake balanced out any sweetness beautifully. This was an utterly decadent treat! Finally, the lemon meringue, which was as light and refreshing as we had hoped.
This is an afternoon tea that combines modern delights with the comfort of the familiar with taste and flavour in abundance. It is well worth booking and, having been given a preview of their festive afternoon tea, available from 22 November, we would say that this could be the ultimate way to take time out from shopping and wrapping and take time for you instead. For what could be better than a relaxed afternoon tea in peaceful surroundings such as this?
A champagne afternoon tea costs from £28.95 per person, and a standard afternoon tea from £19.95. To find out more and book your table, visit www.barnham-broom.co.uk/eat. To find out about their festive afternoon tea, visit www.barnham-broom.co.uk/christmas