Cost – £15.95 (Sept 2018)
Parking and Access – Parking on the street in Holt is limited and often tricky. There are several public car parks around the centre of Holt which allow longer parking but which are also busy. Most of these car parks are reasonably near to the Owl Tea Rooms. There is a toilet available inside the building.
Background – Holt is one of our favourite towns in North Norfolk. We were going to be staying just outside the town for a weekend, so we decided an Afternoon Tea was in order. I had tried to book Afternoon Tea at the Owl Tea Rooms earlier in the summer when I had spotted it on their website. However, they had not started to serve it at that point. We decided we would try again and this time we were able to book. There were four of us on this occasion.
Owl Tea Rooms are rumoured to be the oldest Tea Rooms in Holt. It is located in an old building at the war memorial end of the main street in Holt. The building is currently painted yellow. There is a shop at the front of the building, with the tearooms behind and a small garden to the rear of the building. There are also a few tables in front of the building on the pavement.
Contents – Eight small sandwiches each (two of each of smoked salmon and of ham with chutney, four each of cucumber). One medium/small fruit scone and one medium/small cheese scone, a small pot of raspberry jam, two mini butter packets and a small pot of cream. Two triangles of chocolate brownie, a small loaf carrot cake, a slice of vanilla sponge with jam and rose meringue filling, a white chocolate and cranberry shortbread biscuit and a small Canele cake.
Options Available – There are no options available.
Comments – When we arrived we were shown to a table in the tea rooms that had been reserved for us.
However, shortly after we were asked if we would prefer to move outside to the garden. It was a lovely day so we said yes. We were also asked for our tea order. We then had to wait a short while whilst a table was prepared for us, then we were shown outside to the small garden to a table under an umbrella.
Once we were settled outside, the tea arrived quite quickly. It was made with loose leaves in a large teabag affair and was served in a large white pottery teapot along with a jug of milk and a jug of hot water. The tea was rather too strong for most of us.
One of our party had a glass of milk instead. There was also a bottle of cold tap water along with four metal ‘glasses’ on the table.
The Afternoon Tea arrived fairly soon after. It was served in bamboo stacking steamer baskets. Each of us was given a stack of three baskets containing the sandwiches in one layer, scones etc. in a second layer and the cakes in the third layer. It was really well presented and was very different from the usual cake stand. We all thought it was a really clever idea.
The sandwiches were fresh and were adequately filled. They were on a mix of brown and white bread and were sprinkled with small edible shoots. Our favourite was the ham with chutney. However, when booking we had requested no mustard so it is possible that the ham is usually accompanied by mustard rather than chutney.
The scones were both freshly made a delicious. Unfortunately, we had not been told that we had one cheese scone each. We all thought it was a plain scone at first and several of us put jam on it! I even went as far as putting jam on both halves! I then had to nibble the jam off again to put the butter on instead! There was plenty of jam for just the fruit scone (as long as you didn’t make the mistake of spreading it on the cheese scone as well) and more than enough clotted cream. In fact, some of us were able to put some cream on the cakes as well. I just had extra thick cream on my fruit scone. There was plenty of butter for the cheese scone.
Finally, we reached the cake basket. All of the cakes were fresh and very tasty. The female contingent of our party particularly liked the small French canelé cake but this was not enjoyed by the male half. All of us really liked the shortbread and the chocolate brownie. The carrot cake was also very popular with all but one of us (who is just not keen on carrot cake in general). However, the vanilla sponge filled with raspberry jam and rose meringue was considered by all of us to be rather over sweet. That was a shame as it was something a bit unusual to try. We did all eat it anyway!
Service was friendly and helpful.
Our only criticism of this venue was the metal chairs they used in the garden. They were rather narrow for our rather ample bottoms and two of us were left with deep marks on our legs for some hours afterwards! We noticed several other customers were having a similar problem. They were nice chairs, just too narrow!
This Afternoon Tea needs to be booked in advance.