Cost – £23.50 (July 2019)
Parking and Access – There is on street parking available outside the restaurant but it is metered. A cheaper option is one of the bigger car parks. However, that means a bit of a walk to get to the restaurant. There are two steps up to get into Ben’s and another step up to access the toilets (including the disabled toilet).
There is an extra step up to reach the tables at the rear of the restaurant.
Background – I had heard positive comments about Ben’s Restaurant, an independent restaurant in the lovely market town of Bury St Edmunds, so I was pleased to discover they do an Afternoon Tea. Naturally, we had to give it a try.
The restaurant can be found in Churchgate Street, which is just a short step away from the main centre of the town. The road has many lovely, ancient buildings.
Contents – Two triangular sandwiches (ham and mustard mayonnaise), one rectangular club sandwich (smoked salmon and cucumber), two rolls (egg mayonnaise and barbeque pulled pork), a mini goats cheese and shallot tartlette. One very large fruit scone, a mini pot of jam and a pot of clotted cream. A small piece of caramel cheesecake, a shortbread biscuit, a small finger of chocolate brownie and a vanilla and raspberry panna cotta in a shot glass. A choice of teas.
Options Available – There is also a gentleman’s Afternoon Tea available. A glass of Prosecco can be added.
Comments – On arrival we were shown to a table at the front of the restaurant, next to the entrance. The table was laid with vintage patterned mismatched china, cutlery, a glass and a thick grey paper napkin.
We were brought a jug of chilled water
and given a set of 6 mini Kilner jars containing different teas for us to choose from. I chose peach and raspberry tea whilst my companion chose Suffolk tea.
The tea arrived quickly in two patterned teapots but no milk. I obviously didn’t need milk but it was needed for the Suffolk tea. We asked for some milk and were brought a patterned milk jug full.
A short while later, the Afternoon Tea arrived on two three-tier spindle cake stands (one each) with mismatched round patterned plates.
Mine was incredibly wonky with all of the plates tilting. Especially the smallest plate at the top. We had to remove the panna cotta straight away before it fell.
The cheesecake had tipped over and was wrapped around the spindle handle.
It was nice to see such a variety in the sandwiches. There were sandwiches, a club sandwich, rolls and a tartlette.
All were very good, were well-filled and were fresh and tasty. The ham was rather thin but had plenty of flavour. The restaurant owns it’s own rare breed pigs to provide the pork for the restaurant.
The pulled pork roll was excellent. Definitely our favourite.
It should be noted that the sandwiches varied significantly from those advertised on the restaurant’s website. In our opinion, we had the nicer option!
The scone was very large, packed full of delicious fruit, fresh and warm. Although it was a bit crumbly due to the amount of fruit, it was extremely good.
There was barely enough strawberry jam, but there was plenty of clotted cream. The clotted cream was rather soft. Possibly due to the warm day.
On to the cakes and I started with the extremely soft cheesecake which was spread around the spindle of my cake stand! I had to scoop it all up of the plate. Luckily there was not very much of it! We had been told it was caramel flavoured but neither of us could taste any caramel. However, it was still nice and the base, which was slightly gingery, was very nice.
The shortbread biscuit was ok but did not taste very buttery. The small finger of brownie was extremely rich and yummy but was very soft. More like a chocolate fondant than a brownie. The panna cotta was very good.
The tea was made with loose tea leaves – we were provided with tea strainers. My fruit tea was very good whilst my companion’s Suffolk tea was rather too strong. We asked for a top up of just water, which helped, but it was still a bit on the strong side.
Service was reasonably attentive.