/ this post includes a gifted meal by Laura Ashley the Tea Room
When I moved to England almost three years ago, I expected to be diving into the 2002 movie version of The Importance of Being Earnest. Verdict: Birmingham isn’t exactly the best choice if you’re looking for picturesque rolling hills, idyllic birdsong and an abundance of tea and scones. However - as it turns out, if you jump on the number 5 bus in the city centre you’ll find yourself in the aforementioned English dream in less than an hour, thanks to Laura Ashley the Tea Room in Solihull.
A couple of weeks ago, the team at Laura Ashley the Tea Room got in touch to invite me ( and my boyfriend ) to try out their newly launched vegan afternoon tea ( ! ) . As you’re probably already aware, one of the lifestyle changes I’m making in 2019 to do my little bit for the planet is cutting meat out of my diet ( my boyfriend is now doing the same and as a result I like to think of myself as the #influencer in our relationship ) , so the opportunity to live like Ernest in the country ( still not sure if that’s too niche a reference but I’m a theatre student so what do you expect ? ) and enjoy a luxury afternoon tea catered to our diet is, quite simply, the dream.
From the moment we arrived at the tearoom’s elegant yet comfortable surroundings, we instantly felt welcome and cosy - the lovely Aneta looked after us and made the whole experience just wonderful - she’d even reserved us the table in the bay window, looking out onto the spring-ready greenery. We ordered some hot drinks ( it might be sunny but the UK is still pretty chilly ! ) , and soon after some sips of coffee we were served a mini pre-tea soup by the chef to cleanse the palate. After years of watching Masterchef I still don’t know how to tell if my palate is well and truly cleansed, but I can confirm that the soup was absolutely delicious and also helped to warm us up !
Soon after, three tiers of plant-based deliciousness arrived. Ooh yeah.
So what’s included ?
tier one dessert
raspberry mousse layered on a mixed fruit salad / smooth chocolate on coconut shavings / vintage-style victoria sponge
tier two savoury sandwiches
avocado and lime rye bread crostini / apple chutney, cucumber and dill sandwiches / tomato and shallot chutney sandwiches / roasted vegetable and hummus sandwiches
tier three scones
plain vegan scones / fruit vegan scones / strawberry jam / coconut cream
The best part ? The hot drinks, scones and sandwiches are refillable. At £20pp, I have never been to an afternoon tea that is such good value for money.
It’s really lovely to see a vegan-friendly option being created within such a traditional style of dining. I hope the shots of our afternoon tea tempts you to try a little plant-based dining - trust me, it’s just as delicious ( if not more so ) - and Laura Ashley the Tea Room is the perfect place to start.