Emma Outten’s mum is impressed by afternoon tea in Mid Norfolk where the cheese straws and Bakewell tart delight!
Afternoon tea follows a pretty format wherever you go: three tiers of sweet and savoury treats? Tick. Pot of tea? Tick. But they can also differ greatly.
Go to some tearooms, and it can be a very fancy (not to mention pricey) affair. Or go somewhere slightly off the beaten track that doesn’t make a big song and dance about its Afternoon Tea offering and you can come away feeling more than satisfied.
Hamptons is a lovely L-shaped barn conversion, comprising a retail and a restaurant area. With fairy lights strung around the beams of the vaulted ceiling, and green and white gingham seat cushions, the restaurant is certainly a pretty place to while away an hour or two.
It costs £12.95 for a traditional Afternoon Tea with a pot of tea of your choice (or £17.95 if you fancy a glass of Champagne). We had good old fashioned English breakfast tea (but could have had Earl Grey, Darjeeling, fruit or herbal, or, dare I say, coffee) and the teapot came wearing a cute knitted tea cosy.
When the three tiered cake stand arrived, my mum’s face was a picture. Hamptons is all about home-cooked rustic fare, so on the bottom layer were cheese straws, sausage rolls and four finger sandwiches each: home roasted gammon, brie and cranberry, free range egg mayonnaise and smoked salmon with cream cheese, plus some salad stuff (cucumber, lettuce and tomato) interspersed to make you feel vaguely healthy! My mum went straight for the cheese straws and declared, with some excitement, that they were still warm.
Three tiers, and three cups of tea, later, and I must say that afternoon tea at Hamptons @ The Barn is really rather splendid. It certainly went down a treat with my mum, so much so she wants to go back for her birthday. It’s becoming a popular place for celebrations, as apparently a group of 40 were due in the Sunday after we went.
However, if the thought of afternoon tea is overwhelming, Hamptons does offer just cream tea, or nibbles such as a cheese and biscuit platter to fill the gap between lunch and dinner.
Afterwards, we went in for a spot of retail therapy. The shop offers all manner of gifts, homeware and fashions and I came out wearing a scarf I didn’t know I needed just a few moments earlier!
We took home a doggy bag for my daughter (there’s only so many sandwiches, scones and cakes I can eat in one sitting). After what seemed like only seconds, there were a few crumbs left in the bottom of the bag – which just about says it all!