After two extraordinary afternoon teas in March and April, May’s venue was always going to be facing an uphill battle. This offering from the Tea Hive was delicious and filling, but inevitably less exciting than its most recent predecessors, so it is best viewed on its own merits: somewhere to get a tasty afternoon tea on my own doorstep.
Their website offers vegan afternoon tea as long as you give some notice, so we did just that and popped along one Sunday afternoon. I’d never been to Tea Hive before (though I’ve walked past it a million times, as it’s just up the road from the vegan haven that is Unicorn), but it was just my kind of place – cosy and friendly, with mismatched furniture and crockery. We were given our tea right away while they staff put the finishing touches to the treats.
And not long after that it all arrived. The sandwich plate was surprisingly exciting: we each had four different fillings. There was carrot and hummus; red onion with sunflower seeds and some greenery; hummus, basil and rocket; and avocado and salad. It was nice to have some variety beyond the usual cucumber, and these were all pretty tasty. The avocado was probably my favourite because, well, the avocado rules all. It was probably the best sandwich plate we’ve had, and everyone enjoyed the variety.
Size is perhaps the most important thing to me in a scone, and these were humongous, so we were off to a good start. They were also generally very good too, not dry at all, and all three of us voted them the best part of the meal. They were served with a pot of margarine and a little jar of jam.
And then the cake plate, which was actually a little baffling. There were two slices each of a fruity flapjack, chocolate brownie and a ginger cake…but there were three of us. We didn’t go hungry, so there was the perfect amount of cake for 3 people…but not the correct number of cakes. And apparently there is no polite way to ask, “But shouldn’t there be three slices of each cake?” without looking like a giant pig, so we simply had to start cutting things up and trying to divide the two slices between three – a bit more complicated than I like my afternoon teas. The brownie was good and had a nice crust and rich flavour, but I’d have liked it a touch gooier (it wasn’t dry either, though). The flapjack was my favourite, but my companions were underwhelmed. I like flapjack really soft and gooey so this was my ideal texture, but they wanted something with a bit more crunch. We all had high hopes for the ginger cake, of course. While the sponge was delicious and moist, the icing was quite disappointing – really gritty and almost painfully sweet. So all in all, a good cake plate, but not quite on the money.
Nevertheless, I would happily recommend this place. It was just over £40 for the three of us, and the service was great (they did accidentally bring us dairy milk and clotted cream at first though, so it might be worth double checking!). I’m constantly researching other places to go for vegan afternoon tea, and Manchester seems to be providing the most options, so I feel very lucky to have found another nice place to go. And I’m eyeing up another local place for next month too!
It’s good that they have a vegan afternoon tea option – definitely not enough of those out there! – but a bit of a shame that the cakes went a bit awry. That’s the best bit!
It was a shame, but like you say, I’m lucky to have vegan afternoon tea available at all!