Watching the sheep racing at Green Meadow Farm in Cwmbran / Afternoon tea at Pettigrew Tearooms / Getting a lunchtime delivery from Uber Eats / Yoga and hiking up The Garth with Little Yoga Hut / drinks and lessons in brewing at Tiny Rebel / beautiful bank holiday weather in Cardiff
It’s been a while since I’ve done an afternoon tea post, probably because I’ve tried most places in Cardiff now. But judging by the searches that lead people to visit my blog (‘afternoon tea Cardiff’ is consistently the most-searched term) afternoon tea is still as popular as ever.
My lovely Auntie bought me a voucher for afternoon tea for two at Pettigrew Tea Rooms for my birthday, so we took advantage of it earlier this month, when we had a rare free Saturday. (No kids parties to attend – whoopee!)
Pettigrew Tearooms in Bute Park opened in 2012 and has been popular ever since. Set inside the West Lodge in the Castle Walls, at the entrance to Bute Park, it’s a unique and beautiful setting.
The interior is cute and quirky, with authentic tiling on the floor, copious amounts of bunting and dainty mismatched vintage china.
We pre-booked for afternoon tea and the place was rammed, including a hen do. Afternoon tea definitely seems to have become a pre-bridal staple activity.
The afternoon tea is £15.45 per person, which includes finger sandwiches (you choose your fillings on the day and there are plenty of vegetarian options), scones (again you can choose plain or fruit) and a slice of cake of your choice. I went for the banana and passion fruit cake, which was recommended by our waitress and it was yummy! Decadent yet light. I could eat another slice of that right now…..
The afternoon tea is also accompanied by a pot of tea of your choice. I really wanted the lavender Earl Grey but they don’t do it any more *sad face* so I went for the regular Earl Grey, which was delicious.
Both six-year-old J and F who’s almost two came along for tea and both enjoyed the experience too, the staff were really welcoming.
My only tiny gripe is that the manager was rather rude when I said I only had my gift voucher displayed on my phone and hadn’t actually printed it out (hello, it’s 2017). So word of warning, take your voucher with you if you have one!
A few weeks ago it was my birthday. Hooray! Being pregnant and having suffered awful sickness for the last few months I was definitely in need of a treat. Luckily, I’d booked for us to have afternoon tea at the new Restaurant James Sommerin in Penarth and couldn’t wait!
I started the day off with a fabulous manicure and pedicure at Enerchi in Radyr, before heading over to Penarth.
Penarth is lovely for a poke-around and I dragged my husband Gavin into copious gift shops before heading down to the sea front, where the restaurant is located, overlooking the gorgeous Penarth pier.
For those who don’t know, James Sommerin is a renowned chef, who’s appeared on TV shows such as the Great British Menu and was well known for holding Wales’ only Michelin star for a time at the Crown at Whitebrook. His new restaurant in Penarth opened last year and offers daily tasting menus as well as afternoon tea. The champagne afternoon tea is usually £25pp but we had a really good deal through Travelzoo meaning it was £29 for two people. Bargain! As an aside I’d really recommend following the local deals on Travelzoo, I’ve taken advantage of some great offers including dinners at Chapel 1877 and a weekend away at The Corran in Laugharne. Unlike some voucher websites the Travelzoo offers seem to be genuine experiences of the restaurant/hotel, rather than special cheap menus that are specifically put on.
So, we arrived at James Sommerin at 3pm and were shown to our table in the minimalist dining room. The restaurant was pretty busy with people still finishing their lunchtime tasting menus and others who’d arrived for afternoon tea. We were each given a cold glass of champagne before the sandwiches were brought to the table, in a really quirky picnic hamper.
The sandwich selection was pretty standard; ham, smoked salmon, cheese and chutney and a very pretty cucumber sandwich. Each was chock-full of what certainly seemed like top-quality ingredients, the ham and salmon for example were really thick tasty slabs of filling. There was also a yummy homemade sausage roll. For Gavin, there was an excellent selection of vegetarian sandwiches including a goats cheese on filo cracker and a rather strange sweetcorn panna cotta, which wasn’t not nice, but unlike anything I’d ever tried before.
Teas and coffees were served with the cake tray, which I always prefer (who wants a cup of tea and a sandwich?! Much better with the cake!) but the ladies on the next table seemed most put-out to be told having their tea up front wasn’t the done thing in this particular restaurant! The tea selection was a little lacking (I think the selection was breakfast, earl grey or Assam; I would’ve liked some green tea or herbal options) but the earl grey was nice and strong. Gavin said his coffee wasn’t the best but it was fine. The strange thing was that they took the pot of tea and coffee away and we had to call the waiter to ask him to bring it back for a top up. It wasn’t a problem really but the ladies on the table next to us seemed quite frustrated at having to flag the waiter down each time. They were obviously huge tea drinkers!
We soon forgot any tea issues with the arrival of the cakes. Wow. They were really something special. A rather dense scone with a much too-small portion of cream and jam was more than compensated for with the other sweet offerings; light and spicy carrot cakes, deliciously warm welsh cakes, praline eclairs, prune macarons, decadent chocolate mousse and our highlights; the white chocolate and toasted coconut truffles and the bubblegum panna cottas (the latter is a real crowd-divider according to the waiter!)
When we’d finished our food we went for a lovely stroll along the pier, the perfect way to finish a nice treat.
We even had time to pop into another gift shop, the lovely Shore, which is right next door to James Sommerin, where I picked up a gorgeous summery coconut candle.
Overall I’d definitely recommend the afternoon tea at James Sommerin. Even without the deal we had, I think £25pp is good value for what is quite a special treat. It’s not a laid-back, informal experience but it’s definitely more interesting than your usual afternoon tea. Having visited James Sommerin I’m keen to go back. Next time I hope I’ll try the tasting menu!
James Sommerin Restaurant, The Esplanade, Penarth CF64 3AU
My friend Hayley and I love afternoon tea and it’s become a festive tradition that we always get together for afternoon tea before Christmas. We’ve tried most places in Cardiff so we’re always on the lookout for somewhere new to try.
I work on Cathedral Road and noticed a new place had opened at Number 73. Unsure if it was a B&B, bar or restaurant, a quick Google search revealed it is all of the above, also serving afternoon tea. Result!
I booked us in for a Saturday in December, a welcome respite from the madness of the Christmas preparations.
We were really impressed with the interior when we arrived, it’s clean, minimalistic and classy, while still looking welcoming. We opted for a cosy table tucked behind the piano in the bar, near the fire, although the orangerie at the back also looked lovely.
We were given the usual choice of tea and I went for my favourite, the Earl Grey, which was good. Top ups were offered for no charge and we both went for a second while we were there.
The food itself was a very good standard, finger sandwiches stacked full of lovely fillings (the usual; cheese and chutney, salmon and cream cheese, cucumber and ham). The scones with cream and jam were fine but were completely overshadowed by the festive top tier of miniature cakes; gingerbread biscuits, mini mince pies, mini Yule logs and a decadent chocolate liqueur truffle.
Overall I would describe this as a refined and classy afternoon tea. I’ve already been back to Cathedral 73 for lunch which was to the same standard and the delicious looking breakfast/brunch is next on my list. It’s a good job I only work a few doors down!
You can read about more places serving afternoon tea in Cardiff here.
This neighbourhood cafe has been open for around a year and has recently started offering afternoon tea at £13.95 per person.
Orchard’s offering doesn’t just focus on cake, their menu is more like a ‘high tea’ with extra savouries in addition to the finger sandwiches, including mini pizzas and garlic mushroom bruschettas. They also included a small taster of their special dish that day, a platter of roasted vegetables, capers and ciabatta bread – delicious. It also came with scones, pre-filled with cream and jam and we were able to choose another cake from their selection too – I went for the coconut and lime which was really light and tasty.
This style of afternoon tea fits in with Orchards offering of healthy food, indulgent cakes and an amazing range of teas. I went for the sweet chai pu-erh tea on this occasion. If you’re not familiar with pu-erh it’s a dark tea from China, supposed to have health benefits and aid weight loss. It’s unlikely to have balanced the effect of the fresh scone and lashings of cream or the coconut and lime cake, but never mind, it was delicious anyway!
The staff at Orchard are so welcoming and friendly and my friend and I spent a leisurely 3+ hours chatting over our afternoon tea. If you’re looking for a casual catch up with a friend, friendly service and delicious food, Orchard is the place for you.
7 Park Road, Radyr
029 2084 2129
We paid in full for our afternoon tea and Orchard did not know I’d be blogging about them.
When I recently updated my post on the best places for afternoon tea in Cardiff, a few people on Twitter were astounded that Barker Tea House in High Street Arcade wasn’t included.
It wasn’t for any other reason than I hadn’t had the chance to try it yet, but have wanted to for a while. So Mother’s Day was the perfect opportunity.
I like Coffee Barker, Barker Tea’s sister coffee shop in Castle Arcade, so knew I should expect a relaxed atmosphere, vintage touches, quirky but delicious food and hipster staff. That’s exactly what you get a Barker Tea House too – in fact some staff are so cool and stand-offish that they come across as a bit rude at times. But not to worry, we were soon sat at a table upstairs, which had been reserved for us (you have to book for afternoon tea) and were given our comprehensive tea menus. I went for the green chai, which was a lovely spiced tea, as you’d expect from chai, but much lighter with the green tea base.
My husband had the gunpowder green tea, which he says was nice and not at all bitter as some green teas can be, while our toddler had a steamed milk with chocolate sprinkles, which of course went down a treat.
Then the afternoon teas arrived and they were immense! I was shocked at how large they were. Sandwiches, two scones, a huge slab of cake, a flapjack, a caramel shortbread and two brownies and that was per person, not between two! It was a shame we weren’t given a choice of which cake we had as the largest cake on the top tier, not sure if this is standard or just because Mother’s Day was busy, but I would’ve liked to choose my favourite. As it was I was given the carrot and my husband the chocolate and violet. More on that later….
The sandwiches were delicious, really stuffed full with what you could tell are great quality ingredients and they were a decent size too. Each cake was rich and delicious and an honourable mention must go to the chocolate and violet cake, which was incredibly decadent.
If anything, the whole offering was a little too rich for me. Without anything fruity and light to lift the plate, it began to feel quite heavy after a while. We ended up taking five cakes home as we couldn’t finish it all (and that was with our son sharing the teas with us) and although I’d rather complain about having too much food, rather than not enough, it seemed quite excessive. If you’re looking for a refined celebratory experience, somewhere like the Celtic Manor or St David’s Hotel might be more suitable. If you want a lazy afternoon getting stuffed, then Barker it is!
I will definitely be going back to Barker Tea House. The atmosphere and food is great, relaxed and quirky and their tea selection had plenty more I’d like to try. Next time I go there for afternoon tea, I’ll make sure not to eat for a few days before perhaps!
If you liked this post, check out my post on the best afternoon teas in Cardiff and beyond.
Pettigrew Tearooms in Bute Park opened in the spring of 2012 and has quickly become a one of Cardiff City centre’s most popular places. Set inside the West Lodge in the Castle Walls, at the entrance to Bute Park, it’s a unique setting.
The interior has been cleverly designed too, with authentic tiling on the floor and lovely mismatched vintage china.
A friend and I booked for their festive afternoon tea (£15pp) at Christmas and it was such a treat.
Owner David greeted us with a teacup of non-alcoholic mulled wine and a mini mince pie each on arrival and we were then treated to endless pots of tea (we went for the Christmas blend, a black tea very similar to Chai with warming Christmas spices) finger sandwiches, cranberry scones and a slab of cake of our choice. Luckily they are equipped with plenty of cake boxes for you to take home whatever you can’t manage!
Their regular afternoon tea is £13.95 and I’d really recommend the lavender Earl Grey tea and a slice of classic victoria sponge. This place is a must-visit in Cardiff.
If you’re looking for an afternoon tea with a difference, this is your place. With over 50 teas to choose from – they also serve coffee if you need a caffeine fix – you really are spoilt for choice.
As for the food, it’s the usual finger sandwiches (tuna, smoked salmon, roasted peppers and hummus for example) although they will cater to dietary requirements (including gluten-free). It’s the cakes that really excel though – the freshly mades scones with cream and jam are melt-in-the-mouth delicious and you’re also able to choose a huge wedge of one of the many cakes on offer too. The courgette & lime and white chocolate & raspberry cakes are my personal favourite.
Cost; £13.50 per person.
Washington Tea in Penarth is their recently opened new branch, which is also worth a visit.
What a treat the afternoon tea at St David’s Hotel is! My friend and I pushed the boat out on this occasion and opted for the champagne afternoon tea (£26pp). We were shown to the a window table at Tempus restaurant with a wonderful view of Cardiff Bay and Penarth Marina. The bubbles (Perrier-Jouët Grand Brut Champagne) were brought over as soon as we sat down and we were also given a choice of teas, served in gorgeous vintage china cups.
The cake tier was out of this world! Scones with jam and cream (of course), delicious mini pastries and exquisite cupcakes (on this occasion one blueberry and one carrot flavour). Their taste definitely lived up to presentation. It really was a lovely experience and I would highly recommend Afternoon Tea at St David’s Hotel, particularly for a special occasion or treat.
Traditional afternoon tea costs £18.95 per person.
The Park Plaza offers both traditional (£15pp) and champagne (£25pp) Afternoon Tea at its Laguna restaurant. My companion and I had afternoon tea there during December and the Christmassy touches (mince pies, a big slab of Christmas cake) were a lovely addition. A special mention has to go to the teeny blackcurrant macaron placed on the top tier. Perfectly formed and full of flavour, I’ve never seen macaron included in an afternoon tea before and it was an unexpected treat.
I opted for the cinnamon tea which was deliciously warming and perfectly complimented the seasonal cakes on the menu.
I love The Celtic Manor, it’s a real treat. Lovely surroundings and gorgeous facilities. And the afternoon tea doesn’t disappoint. The sandwiches were more than just your standard finger fare, including prawn cocktail brioche buns, pesto bread and mini smoked salmon bagels. Tea also contained the best lemon meringue tart I’ve ever had!
Afternoon tea for two was £32 when we visited, although prices depend on the day and time of year.
Have you tried afternoon tea at another Cardiff location? What did you think? And do you agree with my experiences? Let me know!
I paid in full for each afternoon tea mentioned here and none of the restaurants were made aware I would be blogging about them.