Vegan cream tea
How is this for a guest post?
Alex has written in with a stunning review of The Hidden Treasure Tea Room in Exeter.
I don’t want to go there, I need to go there.
Take it away, Alex.
The Hidden Treasure Tea Room, Exeter
Having just moved to Exeter, we have a steady stream of friends visiting and we are enjoying discovering the vegan options Exeter offers. The traditional tourist thing to do in Devon is, of course, to have a cream tea and we are delighted to have found an amazing tea room that does a proper vegan afternoon tea.
Somewhat understated on their website,”We also have vegan and gluten free options available”. This should be in bold on the front page of the site. The vegan afternoon tea is more than a mere option, but a full three course tea serviced in proper tea room style.
You get started with your beverage of choice, a large selection of teas, soya milk of course, plus the offer of other milk alternatives. We went for a pot of tea for the table and one of our deviants ordering a coffee.
Then the first course arrives, a selection of savoury sandwiches, with combinations of cucumber and hummus fillings. These were certainly not the highlight of the meal, but nice enough. I would have preferred the cucumber to be more traditional, without the crusts.
Round two was my personal favourite, the core of any afternoon tea, scones with clotted cream. Being in Devon these are served not with butter, but lots of cream. Following tradition, we split the scones, lathered a large dollop of cream on each half and topped with a spoonful of strawberry jam. The cream is made with a coconut cream base, with really thick consistency. It retains a hint of coconut flavour but not enough to be off-putting or take away from the taste of the jam. Next time I’ll skip the sandwiches and focus all my energy on the scones.
By the time we got to the third course another pot of tea was required, this time Earl Grey to try and tempt our guest away from coffee. The tea is served in all manor of pots, with “vintage” cups and saucers (sadly most are probably bone china). They use tea leave instead of bags, which caught us out the first cup we poured.
The final course came on a 3 tier cake stand, containing 4 different treats. Having failed a number of times with aquafaba at home trying to make meringue I was in awe at the pavlova, with the same coconut cream from the scone and mix of berries on top. The other bakes included a ginger cake and treacle tart, both decent in their own right but not up to the standard of the scones and pavlova.
The staff and decor of the tea room are splendid and at £13.50 each for the afternoon tea, it is an ideal way to spend a lazy afternoon with friends. Next time we are in town, with time to kill, I am sure we will stop in just for quick scone or slice of cake.
Visit The Hidden Treasure Tea Room online.
They only take cash, best to phone and book vegan afternoon tea to avoid any disappointment.