It's Prim up North....
As you know by now, I blog about afternoon tea in London because I’ve lived here for 5 years and I love it. But I’m originally from Liverpool so, to me, both places have their charm. There are many things you see in Liverpool that you just don’t see in London (or anywhere else.) For example, girls shopping in the town centre wearing lovely clothes, full make-up….and a head full of rollers like a modern day Ena Sharples. Or The Scouse Brow which is just as synonymous with Liverpool as the Vajazzle is with Essex thanks to the TV show “Desperate Scousewives”.
Conversely, I see a lot of things in London that I’d never see anywhere else: people rollerblading with their arms full of grocery shopping, and women in smart suits and trainers carrying their heels in their bags. But my favourite has to be that uniquely London habit people have of being nose-down, totally engrossed in their book or newspaper as they’re walking through incredibly busy underground stations and packed streets, only looking up every few minutes or so to check they’re not ploughing into an old lady.
Anyway, another thing common to London but only just taking off in Liverpool is afternoon tea, so while I was home for Christmas I decided to try out a couple on home soil...
1 – Neighbourhood Cafe
The first place I went to was a relatively new hotspot called ‘Neighbourhood’ which, despite being a cosy little café in an ‘out-of-town’ suburb of the city, called Childwall, is a favourite of some celebrities such as Coleen Rooney and Alex Curran. Good things evidently do come in small packages though, as this was actually one of the best afternoon teas I’ve ever tasted! It seems that many establishments focus mainly on the cake/patisserie elements of their afternoon tea and don’t give their savouries due care and attention. Neighbourhood did, and it was amazing the difference some decent seasoning can make to those finger sandwiches. Also, I was highly impressed with the amount of smoked salmon sandwiches we received, as most places opt to scrimp on this particular filling.
We were told they were out of jam so were served little glasses of fresh fruit for the scones, which was a really lovely touch and made us feel holier-than-thou since it counted as one of our ‘5 a day’ (despite the lashings of clotted cream). In addition to good teas and great food, the surroundings were charming and the table was set up well with a unique cake and sandwich stand, and lovely tablecloth (which caused many people in the café to glance jealously in our direction…)
We were offered extra tea as needed, and little foil trays to take home any leftovers (which we did need to do as we were absolutely stuffed.) The only negative thing I’ll say is that it did take a lot to get the attention of the staff who all seemed to be having a very engrossing conversation behind the cake counter – we found that waving the empty tea-pot in their air tended to have the desired effect and get someone’s attention. Being used to London prices I was pleasantly shocked by the economic value of this afternoon tea and highly recommend Neighbourhood to fulfil your Northern tea needs.
"Sip"-Tease Rating: ***
Pa"Tease"erie Rating: ***
Boudoir or Boring? Rating: ****
Service with (Nothing But a) Smile Rating: **
Cheap or Chic? Rating: *****
Website is http://www.neighbourhoodcafe.co.uk/
2 – Maritime Museum Cafe
I wish I could be as complementary about the afternoon tea at the Maritime Museum café on The Albert Dock but unfortunately it just didn’t compare. It was only £8 for a full afternoon tea which is a bargain but, with a price like that, it showed. The cakes weren’t very adventurous and all seemed to be small slices of similar stodgy favourites: fruit cake, sponge cake, ginger cake… However the scones were nice and we were offered a cute looking cupcake which made it a bit more special. Sandwiches were pretty bland and again, it was very difficult to get the attention of the staff.
The main saving grace was the spectacular view of the Liverpool waterline with it’s Liver Building and the brand new Museum of Liverpool…..now THAT’S something you don’t get in London ;-)
Until next time…xox