The Menacing Decorations Tea – Friday 7th August 2015
The Old Farmhouse, Ulverston, £9.95 for Afternoon Tea (fizzy option available)
Fantastic! Two teas in one week. What a lucky (pudgy) girl am I! This time it was my lovely friends W, J and the fragrant Mrs HW. And a gorgeous day it was too. A big, hot ball of buttery sun in the sky, a pretty (if slow) drive down the Coast Road to Ulverston with just enough breeze to stop it being breathless.
The Old Farmhouse is a pub with a good local reputation for its food and atmosphere, and always seems smartly turned out as you drive past. Inside is bright, contemporary and split into two areas, a large pub bar area and a dining area accessed through a doorway opening out to indoor and outdoor seating. It has recently made a foray into the afternoon tea realm and we were keen to sample its offerings.
Our prettily laid out table was by the open door to the outdoor seating area giving us the advantage of a cool breeze and no hot direct sunlight to curl the corners of the sandwiches and attract greedy flies. It also gave us chance to admire the contemporary décor and listen to the music selection which included the dulcet tones of a current favourite of mine, George Ezra, and an all-time fave, Otis Redding.
I have to make special mention of the MENACING DECORATIONS. As a non-meat eater you may have already assumed I would not be a fan of blood sport or things of that ilk. I am not. I am also not a fan of displays of the spoils of such activity. So I was somewhat perturbed by the heads with antlers on the walls which seemed to leer at us and evil-eye our food. Picture frames containing only a sad little pair of antlers just gave me the heebie-jeebies. Absolutely not my personal taste.
The rapid appearance of pots of hot water distracted me and before I knew it all the food had arrived. The tea bags were individually placed with the tea cups, which was a bit odd but I would say not too outlandish, and they were those posh ones made from mesh rather than the standard variety so I was satisfied that a little flair had been added to show that this was in fact a treat not just a bit of cake and tea. Whilst we did have to ask for extra top ups from the curiously removed staff, this was provided promptly and without fuss.
Propriety was met for W with the presentation on cake stands bursting with food and colour. Although I do fear I have had a bad effect on her and she is becoming more intractable than I, as I was heavily questioned with regard to my musings on the plain scone in the last blog and she is very resolute about having tea in the cup first before milk.
The sandwiches were definitely the star of this tea. Five different types were on offer, fatly stuffed with fillings and garnished with fresh, vibrant salad and a lovely little bowl of sun blush tomatoes. The regulation cheese and tomato and ham and tomato nestled alongside chicken, whilst thick chunks of smoked salmon were complimented by rocket and watercress. My favourite were the brie and cucumber which were pleasantly oozing with just the right amount of crunch.
The fragrant Mrs HW had already sampled the shortbread from the presented cup and saucer before anything had arrived and said it was delicious. (Whilst deviating from The Rules of The Tea she is allowed this dispensation. Firstly because she was starving having not eaten since breakfast and secondly because she is so lovely and slim that even my insistence she eats lots of fattening afternoon teas she manages to maintain her figure, whilst I expand ever outwards to become, what you might call, horizontally gifted. On the bright side it has the advantages of providing a squashy bosom for smothering needy friends in and providing a shelf for tired kittens.) It was enjoyable, a little buttery cube that melted in your mouth.
In quick succession we attacked the rest of the cakes. A meringue with cream and strawberries was nice, but the extra sweetening of the cream didn’t feel necessary. The pastry on the chocolate tart was crisp and its bitter chocolate filling was ameliorated by the perky raspberries on top. Both were nice combinations.
And finally the scone. A big fruity rectangle already buttered, jammed and creamed. They looked very inviting, however surely one of the great pleasure and treat of an afternoon tea is to do this yourself? Self-assembly as it were? Pre-made means you don’t get the perfect individualised treat. Some people (who are WRONG obviously) don’t want butter, J noted that there was too much jam. And indeed there was, it dribbled as you bit into it, even though we all split the scone in half and tried to share out the filling between the two halves. The whipped (not clotted!) cream was, again, sweetened. To be fair it was a very nice scone but not what I would have expected.
There was certainly enough to fill even the rumbliest of tums, and enough left over for probably another person. The quality for the price was very good, and I would certainly recommend it for an afternoon tea with a bit more finesse than one in a standard tea shop, and the surroundings were unquestionably relaxed. Great for spending time on a summers afternoon.
Of course the lure of the kitten soon had me heading homewards, I mean, what better way to end a sunny afternoon than a snuggle with a bundle of fluff?
Overall marks (out of 5 stars)
Service: **1/2 Prompt but not particularly attentive
Amount of Food: **** There was more than enough for even us greedy ones
Quality of Food: *** Good sandwiches, some cakes too sweet though
Value for money: ***1/2 Pretty good, competitively priced
Description: ‘I prefer self-assembly scones’ ‘Good variety of sandwiches’
Their website is here http://www.old-farmhouse.com/
They are on Trip Advisor here http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Restaurant_Review-g499564-d1929980-Reviews-The_Old_Farmhouse-Ulverston_Cumbria_England.html they are also on Facebook and twitter
And my suggested track for today’s tea is https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mCjYB3rAJ6w