Ah, afternoon tea. Such a quintessential British tradition, isn’t it?
While modern afternoon teas can differ greatly in style, contents and presentation, I’d say that you still can’t beat a classic combo of delicate finger sandwiches, cutesy desserts and of course – just warm-from-the-oven fluffy baked scones.
Some weeks ago I was invited to the Titanic Hotel in Liverpool to try out their new vegan afternoon tea. The hotel has been adding some exciting new things to their restaurant menu lately (this vegan afternoon tea being one of them) and I was totally honoured that they were allowing me to be one of the first to try them.
As well as the standard traditional afternoon tea, Titanic Liverpool also offers boozy versions, with a glass of either Prosecco, Laurent Perrier champagne or a delightful gin cocktail. Each of these comes with a varying price tag (depending on how fancy you wish to get) but I think the vegan afternoon tea on its own is very good value for everything you get.
Tea (and cocktails!) with a view
The Titanic Hotel is situated on the Stanley Dock on Regent Road, just on the outskirts of the city centre. This requires a bit more of a walk (or 2 minute taxi ride) for most city dwellers to get to, but this can quickly be forgiven thanks to the Titanic’s gorgeous view of the river once there.
Afternoon tea is enjoyed from within the Titanic’s Stanley’s Bar & Grill, with fascinating exposed brickwork, modern interiors and large light-giving windows, one of which my mum and I sat next to. We were warmly welcomed by the staff there and immediately made to feel at home. One of the waitresses came over quite early on with a box of their loose leaf tea selection. We were invited to spend a few minutes smelling and reading about each one before making our choice – which was HARD! Eventually I went with the White Elixir and my mum being the Earle Grey lover she is went with that.
As we were trying the gin afternoon tea today, we were asked to choose from the list of three that Titanic provides – Peppermint Mojito, Rosemary & Olive and Rhubarb & Hibiscus. Each one is made with Bombay Sapphire English Estate gin and a specially infused tonic water. I went with the Rosemary & Olive and my mum chose Rhubarb & Hibiscus. Each one tasted absolutely delicious; the smell of the rosemary in particular gave me ALL the cosy Autumn feels! Mine was garnished beautifully with rosemary, hazelnut and mint whilst my mum’s had pretty rose petals and an orange wedge.
Before we could spend too long getting into our cocktails, our afternoon tea arrived (which I definitely wasn’t complaining about). The spread was delivered brilliantly on what looked like a miniature wooden bookcase, and looked almost too beautiful to eat.
One thing I immediately noticed was the plentful number of sandwiches awaiting us on the bottom ‘shelf’. One thing I don’t like is when places prioritise the sweet over the savoury in their afternoon tea; however I’m glad to say that this was certainly not the case here.
There were five varieties: hummus and vegetable provencal; avocado, rocket and sun-blushed tomato; cheese and red onion; roasted red pepper and pesto, and traditional cucumber. They came on a mix of white and granary bread and every single one of them was delicious!I loved the mediterranean flavours coming from the hummus & veg provencal, sun-blushed tomatoes and rocket and the roasted red pepper and pesto. Those are like, some of my favourite things! I even loved the cucumber one as there is something beautifully simple and satisfying about this British classic.
My favourite one though had to be the cheese and red onion – this vegan cheese did not taste vegan! As you guys know, I’m not really into my vegan cheeses except in small amounts, so when the bright, bold flavours of this sandwich hit me, I was bowled over by how authentic it was. Even my mum who isn’t vegan was impressed by how good it tasted! Titanic, I don’t know what kind of vegan cheese you’re using, but hook me up!
Delicious scones & desserts
Of course, once the sandwiches were over, it was onto the scones. (I have a preferred order I eat my afternoon tea in, don’t you??).
Both my mum and I received two small fruit scones each, which I actually thought was a nice touch as sometimes you don’t feel like eating one big scone. They were warm from the oven and came with Flora spread (now vegan) and a pot of berry jam. Though there was no cream to speak of, my mum and I actually prefer scones without it so this was no big deal at all. However, if I had something to suggest it would be for Titanic to consider adding coconut cream to their vegan afternoon tea, so that those who enjoy a creamy scone can do so.
The scones were of course wonderful – fluffy, moist and not too sweet. Though I did only eat one in the restaurant, I took the other one away with me and ended up polishing it off as soon as I got home!
Then there was the desserts: a mini panacotta; a little cup of warm apple & blackberry crumble; a fruity raspberry flapjack and a dark, indulgent looking brownie with fresh blueberries on top.
I dug into the crumble first and it was yummy – warm and comforting, with just the right amount of sweetness and tang to the fruit. The crumble was sugar-flecked and crunchy, and the whole thing was so moist there was no need for cream or custard.
Next we tried the brownies. These were delicious, but very rich, so I’m glad they were only small! The chocolatey, fudge-like layer across the top really gave it the edge, and whilst I never would have thought to put blueberries on top of a brownie, the pairing actually worked really well!
I’m not actually a big fan of panacotta, so I gave mine to my dad when he arrived as he came to meet us for a quick coffee. He really enjoyed it though, and he was also very approving of the scone my mum had saved for him! I decided to save my flapjack and take it home to Chris, but he actually didn’t want it so lucky for me, I got to enjoy it all to myself (win).
Overall, I’d say that the Titanic afternoon tea is excellent value for what you pay (£23). The vegan version is no more expensive than the traditional either, so you don’t feel like you’re being screwed over for being plant-based. For the boozier versions, you can take a look at Titanic’s price list here.
What do you guys think about the new Titanic vegan afternoon tea? Will you be trying it? Let me know by leaving a comment below!