Afternoon Tea Review: BB Bakery Bus Tour

In late May I arrived in London to visit my partner who is currently based here on a short term work-related transfer. This is my first international voyage, and has so far been an experience that has evoked many different emotions for me. I must admit that the long haul flight from Australia wasn’t particularly thrilling, however I am excited to be embarking on a new experience, and even more excited about enjoying high tea in the afternoon tea capital of the world- London!

image

Venue:
In April, the BB Bakery in Covent Garden began offering their usual afternoon tea on board an iconic red double-decker bus. The bus takes guests for a tour around London’s most popular tourist attractions. As a first time traveller to London and a lover of afternoon tea, as soon as I saw this advertised I booked it straight away. I couldn’t think of a better way to view the sights of London then to do it on board a double decker bus, all the while enjoying the delightful afternoon tea treats that the BB bakery has to offer.
The inside of the tour bus is stunning. There are these gorgeous red and white booths, and the tables are decked out with scrumptious looking afternoon tea treats. Each person had a beautiful little china plate to put their food on. However for safety reasons, the amount of crockery available is limited.

image

Service:
The host was a delightful Frenchman by the name of Jean-Philippe. He was very friendly, jovial and accommodated the requests of all guests on board. Before the tour commenced, Jean-Philippe welcomed all guests on board the bus and provided us with a description of the food that was on offer before promptly taking our tea and coffee orders. He also joking informed us that at any time we could request for the driver to slow down.

Food:
I was offered the vegetarian afternoon tea, while my partner enjoyed the classic non vegetarian option. Staff remembered my dietary requirements and there were no issues, which is something that I always appreciate. There are also gluten free and vegan options available.

The food looked deliciously appetising, and it was beautifully presented. It tasted superb and you could tell that it was 100% freshly prepared. My guess is that it probably came straight from their flagship bakery in Covent Garden.
My vegetarian savoury tier included: a cream cheese sandwich, a vegetarian quiche (which was absolutely amazing!) a cheese sandwich, a cheese and salad sandwich and a cheese and salad blini. My partner received a cream cheese sandwich, two ham and cheese sandwiches, a salmon blini, and a quiche. The bread had a beautiful freshly baked smell to it, and the fillings were ample.
The sweets tier included: a pecan brownie, a mouth watering petite lemon meringue tart, cupcakes (mine had strawberry frosting), a lemon macaron, a fresh berry fruit tart and a French scone. The French scone was interesting. It reminded me more of a sticky bun, and there was no jam or clotted cream to accompany the scone, which made it difficult to eat. I would have preferred the option to spread some fruit preserve and cream on it and eat it like a traditional scone. However, this is a minor criticism as the food was essentially faultless.

You are given an ample amount of food and I can guarantee that you won’t be leaving hungry. In fact, after working our way through the two tier stand, Jean-Philippe came around and offered us more food. This is when we received our French scone and a lemon flavoured macaron. At the end of the tour we were given a gorgeous pink take away box for any food that we didn’t manage to fit in.

image

Drinks were served in these gorgeous BB bakery travel mugs, and were a fabulous idea. There are also cup holders in the booth tables, and we were each given a small bottle of freshly squeezed orange juice at the beginning of the tour. The last thing you want is to be drinking tea from a tea cup and saucer and having it spill everywhere while the bus is moving! Initially, the thought of having afternoon tea on a moving vehicle without seatbelt restraints seemed daunting, however the BB Bakery were well and truly prepared when they began running this bus tour service.

image

Overall Experience:
I absolutely recommend this tour to anyone travelling to London. Even if you are only planning a short trip, this is the best way to enjoy what London has to offer. In an hour and a half, you get to indulge in some scrumptious and freshly prepared sweet and savoury treats from a popular UK bakery, while checking out some the most popular tourist attractions in London. Below is a tour map; and as you can see, the bus tour takes guests around the most popular tourist attractions in London Town.

image

I was absolutely impressed with the venue, the food, the service, and the overall experience of the BB Bakery bus afternoon tea tour. I highly recommend this tour to travellers, or even to locals looking for a great way to celebrate a friend’s birthday, or for a fun afternoon out. The experience has definitely been one of the highlights of my trip to London thus far.

Special thanks to the BB Bakery for allowing me to use their beautiful photographs. For the purposes of this review, poor iPhone quality images just won’t do!

The BB Bakery Bus Tour runs twice a day from Monday to Friday at 3pm and 5:30pm.
On weekends the tour runs three times a day at 12:30pm, 3pm and 5:30pm.
Afternoon Tea is priced at £45 per person.
Bookings are Essential.
Phone Number: 020 7237 3392
Email: bbbus@bbbakery.co.uk
Bakery Address: 6-7 Chandos Place, Covent Garden. London WC2N 4HU

Advertisements

High Tea Review: Cottage Tea Rooms

Nestled in the idyllic Swan Valley, Cottage Tea Rooms is one of Perth’s best kept secrets. Whilst driving down West Swan Road you really get to experience the tranquility of the Swan Valley as you pass by the wineries. Situated on a corner, Cottage Tea Rooms is easily accessible and there is parking along the side of the building and also further down Forrest road.

image

Venue:
When you first arrive you may notice that the venue itself looks a little underwhelming. There is no doubt that the place needs some serious maintenance. Perhaps a few coats of paint and some new outdoor furniture would improve the exterior. However I think it has that real authentic vintage appeal and it certainly adds to the heritage feel of the Swan Valley. As well as serving high tea, Cottage Tea Rooms also sells a variety of beautiful knick-knacks and homewares, home made preserves and bags of loose leaf tea. I purchased the adorable hanging plaque in the above photo, and a packet of Turkish Delight loose leaf tea. When we arrived inside, we were promptly seated at a gorgeous little table laden with beautiful linen and cute floral teaware.

image

Service:
Having been to Cottage Tea Rooms half a dozen times before, I can honestly say that I have never experienced bad service. Staff take phone bookings in a prompt and polite manner and they also accommodate dietary requirements. Staff are very obliging and you get service with a smile. Two pots of tea are offered per person, and on weekdays you are given an extensive tea menu that has approximately 20-30 loose leaf teas to choose from. My favourite is the Turkish Delight. However on busy weekends, guests are given a choice of English Breakfast or tea of the day. If you happen to try a tea and you really like it, you can purchase a packet of it to take home from the counter when you settle your bill.

image

Food:
My friend and I enjoyed a plate of petite, freshly baked scones with a generous side of raspberry jam, lemon curd and fresh whipped cream. There are usually two varieties of scones offered, and on this occasion we were given plain scones and cranberry and almond scones. The scones were light and fluffy and just the right size. We then moved on to the bottom tier consisting of a variety of sandwiches and an assortment of hot savoury pastries. We enjoyed fresh, bite sized sandwiches with a variety of fillings. I am vegetarian, therefore I ate the curried egg, cream cheese, and a delicious sun-dried tomato and avocado filling. We also enjoyed a variety of delicious savoury treats consisting of creamy mushroom Quiche, spinach and cheese risotto balls, asparagus and ricotta Quiche and sausage rolls. The petite selection of sweets on offer consisted of a ginger slice which I didn’t particularly enjoy, a delicious lemon meringue tart, a strawberry cheesecake tart and two coconut and mango macarons. There were also two adorable little chocolate hearts which we didn’t hesitate to gobble up. Considering that high tea is regarded as a light afternoon snack before dinner, you are given an ample amount of food. I can certainly guarantee that you will not leave the establishment feeling hungry! My only recommendation for the food would be to include a palette cleanser such as sorbet. There are so many different flavours in the sandwiches and the Quiche that you need something other than tea to cleanse the palette in preparation for the sweets.

image

Overall Experience:
What can I say? Apart from needing some maintenance work, there is just so much to love about Cottage Tea Rooms. The ambience is always peaceful, rarely busy, nor noisy, only the beautiful sounds of Dean Martin and The Righteous Brothers softly fill the room. The food is always plentiful and delicious, the service is impeccable and it’s great value for money. If you are in need of a relaxing afternoon out, I recommend getting the ladies together and taking a scenic drive down West Swan Road to Cottage Tea Rooms.

image

Update*
Visited Cottage Tea Rooms again on the 20th of June 2015 and noticed that the prices have increased from $30 on Weekdays to $35, and from $35 on Weekends to $40. The food is still amazing, and the staff were very polite and obliging as always.
Cottage

Cottage Tea Rooms
$35 on Weekdays
$40 on Weekends
Bookings are Essential.
Phone: (08) 9296 6886
Address: 8560 West Swan Road (corner Forrest road)
Henley Brook