My fascination with afternoon tea stems purely from the fact that as a participant you are presented with a tower of food. This tower includes beautifully decorated and, oftentimes, adorably tiny foods — which is another passion of mine. So you can see why I’m attracted to such an occasion. And lucky for me, The Lemon Lily Tea Room & Bakery offers vegan selections!
I just recently learned that afternoon tea is not the same as high tea. Afternoon tea is the vision of aristocratic women donning gowns and gloves while gossiping about Lady Duff-Gordon’s latest line of scandalous lingerie and nibbling scones (apparently pronounced ‘skon’). Whereas high tea is what their servants would have, usually consumed at a high table. This included a heavier meal with items like meat pie, potatoes, a large cake to share, and even ale. As sacrilegious as it may be, I would not be opposed to combining the two. Let’s include some dainty versions of these heartier options to our food tower. And while we’re at it, let’s throw in some champagne! Don’t get me wrong, I do love tea. Especially when consumed in a fancy cup instead of an IKEA mug, but at the end of the day I am a food monster.
Now that I’ve scared off the purists, let’s dive into afternoon tea at Lemon Lily. First of all, I did not get a tower of food. I went while they were having a special vegan event so they brought out each item one at a time. I think I’ll need to go back in order to get the full experience. The first item brought out was a classic cucumber sandwich. It was definitely my favorite, but you can put cream cheese and dill on just about anything and I’ll devour it.
My second favorite was the pickled onion and hummus sandwich. It was a very unique and delightful combination. During the week it’s offered as a wrap at lunchtime.
My least favorite was the egg salad sandwich. It had a great texture and appearance, but was very plain. A bit of dijon and black salt to achieve that sulpher-like egg taste would have helped.
The dessert options were an apple crisp or chocolate cake. Obviously I went with the cake. There weren’t enough vegan scones to go around so this was the only sweet item that was served. The cake was very fudgy and rich. I would have liked more cake and less frosting, but it was still wonderfully indulgent.
You order tea one pot at a time rather than receiving a kettle of hot water and a selection of leaves. The last time I had afternoon tea I made quite the mess, so this was probably for the best. I ordered the Organic Spiced Rooibos Ruby Red tea which had a pleasant earthy flavor. I only consumed one pot of tea, but I will definitely order more next time.
It would have been preferable to receive everything at once (on a tower!) because I like to switch between the sweet and savory items, but I know that was circumstantial. I also would like to have had more sweet options, perhaps some cookies or tarts. And more variety in the savory items, perhaps mini quiches or even put one of the sandwich fillings in a pastry instead of on bread. Overall, I had a great time catching up with Miss Penelope Pink this afternoon, and isn’t that what tea is really about?