Cost – £18.00 (Apr 2017)
Background – I have previously reviewed this café under its old name of River Tea Rooms. The Tea Rooms were closed for a short period for refurbishment and have now reopened with the new name of Riverside Terrace Café.
It appears to be run by the same people but the menu has changed slightly. Instead of having a choice of sandwiches and cake, there is now no option (although a choice of sandwiches was still mentioned in the menu). I, personally preferred the old menu which gave you the chance to choose the cake you would like.
The price has also increase quite considerably (from £9.95 in October 2015 to £18.00 in April 2017) which I do not feel is reflected in any change to the contents of the tea. It is still a good Afternoon Tea but is now expensive and, in my opinion, not as good an option as it used to be. The cakes were still delicious but I would always prefer a proper slice of cake to tiny cubes of things. Other people may have different opinions.
The café has been done up nicely and its position next to the river, with a small outside terrace beside the river, is fantastic.
Contents – Four triangular sandwiches (ham, cheese and pickle, tuna and chicken and lettuce). One large fruit scone, a small Tiptree jar of blackcurrant jam, a small wrapped pat of butter and a small pot of clotted cream. Between four of us we received four small cubes of caramel slice, six small cubes of Bakewell, six small cubes of cherry and coconut flapjack, a slice of blueberry cheesecake cut into two and a triangle of fridge cake cut into two. The tea was made with teabags.
Comments – We chose a seat in the window of the café, putting two tables for two people together for the four of us. We were served quite quickly and ordered our Afternoon teas. We were then given four tea plates and three sets of a knife and cake fork! The tea arrived around ten minutes later in two different teapots with a small ‘milk bottle’ half filled with milk. However, it then took more than another twenty minutes before our Afternoon Teas actually appeared, and then we were only given the sandwiches to start with!
The plates and teacups were mismatched ‘vintage’ china. The sandwiches arrived on two two-tier cake stands with round china plates. We were brought the scones and cakes after we had finished the sandwiches. These arrived on two three-tier cake stands with round white plates. The cream, jam and butter was altogether on a separate round white plate.
The menu suggested you could choose your sandwich fillings, however, we were told they would be mixed. The sandwiches, when they eventually arrived were freshly made and all well filled. However, they were very unevenly cut into triangles with some being really small and others quite large.
The scones were of a good size and very deep. We were told they had just come out of the oven and they were definitely very warm still! They were very fresh and tasty. Due to the size of the scones there was barely enough jam and cream. The pots of cream were very unevenly filled with two having hardly any in them and two being more generous. Luckily, we had our non-cream eater with us so there was enough to go round.
The cakes were again very unevenly cut! However, they were all really yummy, though I wasn’t bothered about the blueberry baked cheesecake which was a little tasteless. The cherry flapjack was really good and the caramel shortcake and fridge cake were lovely.
I was disappointed in the way things had been portioned up in this Tea. The sandwiches were unevenly cut, the slices were badly uneven and even the clotted cream portions were badly uneven. I really think it would not be difficult to cut things much more evenly, if they have to be cut. Especially when the Tea had taken over half an hour to arrive with other people being served before us, who had arrived after us.
The difference in price for adding the cakes to make a ‘high tea’ into an Afternoon Tea is £8. The bits of cakes we had would have been far cheaper if we had bought them separately with a ‘high tea’ which had the sandwiches and scones. It was a shame to have such tiny bites of the different slices as they were so good. We would rather have had a full-sized piece (which was bigger than the 6 pieces put together) and have only had two or three things.
The tea was of a good strength for all of us but we removed the tea bags to stop it stewing further. We asked for a refill of one pot and were given it, plus more milk. One of our party requested a glass of milk instead of tea, which was provided as requested.
Service was patchy with the food taking an awful long time to arrive.