Afternoon tea in Bath is something I get asked about a
lot. I don’t know whether it’s the Austen vibes in the air round here, making
people long for dainty patisserie & finger sandwiches served on exquisite
china to the accompaniment of the harp, or just because everyone knows I love a
piece of cake, but I’m often asked for my recommendations.
If you’ve read my post from a couple of months ago, then
you’ll know that when money is no object, my absolute favourite spot for
afternoon tea in Bath is the Royal Crescent Hotel – from mouth-watering food to
stunning location, it ticks all the boxes. But I don’t think they’d mind me
saying that it’s not something one can afford to do every week – so as a
follow-up, I’ve put together a list of other spots in Bath where you can be
assured of a simply smashing tea (as the Famous Five might say) on a slightly
more accommodating budget, and sometimes with a bit of a twist too. Let’s tuck
The Classic Option
Hidden away at the top of Saville Row, near the famous
Assembly Rooms, this stylish 1940s-themed tearoom is my number one
recommendation to anyone looking for a classically fabulous afternoon tea. The
food is absolutely sublime – but although the cakes at Bea’s are sensational,
it’s the savoury afternoon tea here that really impressed me, with a selection
of feather-light tarts and quiches and incredibly light, rich cheese scones
that I haven’t been able to stop thinking about since. It’s all served on a
collection of the most beautiful vintage china and silverware, which really
completes the experience, and the interior decor of the tearoom itself is great fun, with all sorts of authentic war-era touches, from the ration-book menus and wartime posters to a selection of gorgeous knickknacks and accessories from nearby vintage boutique Vintage to Vogue (also well worth a visit).
How much does it
cost? £15 per person, for either the sweet & savoury or just savoury
menu. The first menu includes sandwiches, scones with jam & cream, and a
slice of cake, whilst the second one offers sandwiches, tartlets & quiches,
and cheese scones, and tea is included for both options. Considering how
generous the portions are and how delicious the food is, I can’t help feeling
that this is a huge bargain.
Where is it? 6-8
Saville Row, Bath, BA12QP.
|Savoury Afternoon Tea at Bea's|
|Beautiful china makes the tea taste better|
The Serious Tea-Lover’s Option
Whatever you think of when you imagine a teahouse in
Bath, I’m willing to bet that Comin’s will surprise you as something completely
different. It’s a wonderfully tranquil space, with clean white walls and bare
wooden floorboards, where taking tea is accorded the reverence due to such an
important act. You can choose from a huge range of single-estate loose-leaf
teas, carefully selected & imported by Comins themselves from all over the world, and all
served with the correct traditional utensils and vessels – or you can get the
lovely staff to recommend a tea for you, and find out just how much these chaps
know about their chai (hint: it’s a lot). But it’s not just about the tea – the
cakes aren’t half bad either. My particular favourites were a flourless
chocolate sponge (light and yet rich, fabulous) and a pistachio, coconut and
orange cake which was new on the day I visited, but has now deservedly become
part of the regular menu.
How much does it
cost? £15 per person, and it must be booked 24 hours in advance. The afternoon tea menu here includes a selection of
tartines (that’s French for open sandwiches – my favourite was the coronation
chicken), followed by tasters of all that day’s cakes, and one of Comin’s
blueberry scones with jam and cream. You also get to try two different teas, which is a nice touch – one to
go with the savouries, and one to go with the sweet dainties – which you can
either choose or have chosen for you. I started with Gunpowder, a Chinese green tea, fabulously deep and smokey, and then washed the cakes down with Himalayan Hand-Rolled, a Nepalese black tea.
Where is it? 34
Monmouth St, Bath, BA12AN.
|Gunpowder green tea, in a traditonal Chinese gaiwan bowl|
|The Comins Afternoon Tea|
The San Francisco
Fudge Factory: The Serious Sweet-Tooth Option
This is afternoon tea as Willy Wonka might have imagined
it: cakes, sweets and sugary confections without a sensible sandwich in sight.
I should also mention that there is no tea – instead, it’s all washed down with
a glass of bubbly. But I’ve decided that it still counts as afternoon tea,
because you can eat it at teatime – and also because it’s simply enormous fun.
The Fudge Factory is easy to spot in Bath because there’s always a crowd of
people looking in the window at their amazing concoctions, including their
famous fudge apples – that’s an apple on a stick covered in fudge, chocolate,
chocolate chips and marshmallows. Who said getting your five a day was boring?
How much does it
cost? £25 for two people. Afternoon tea here includes, for each person, a glass of prosecco, a slice of cake, a
fudge apple of your choice, and a selection of different fudges, which you can
also choose, all made freshly on-site – I’d particularly recommend the salted
caramel, and the chocolate chilli. I have to confess that I couldn’t eat it all
though, so yes, if you’re wondering, they do also offer doggy bags to take
home. Currently the only seating at the San Francisco Fudge Factory is outside, so book in advance and be advised that it needs to be a sunny day!
Where is it? 6
Church Street, Abbey Green, Bath, BA1 1NL
|Fudge: Chocolate Irish Cream, Salted Caramel,|
Belgian Milk Chocolate, Coffee & Walnut