Patisserie Valerie, known for its afternoon tea, is a chain café across the UK which offers a lovely selection of sandwiches, cakes, coffees, and more. Although unfortunately a few of the cafés have shut down recently there’s still plenty of them around, and you’ll most likely have one close to you if you live in or near a large town or city.
I’ve visited Patisserie Valerie numerous times before with my partner for a lunchtime bite to eat, but this time I decided to take my Mum there for afternoon tea – a birthday gift I got her last year! As always it took us ages to actually settle on a date and get around to it but both of us were really glad that we did.
The premises of Patisserie Valerie will be slightly different depending on which one you visit, but the one in Colchester is of a reasonable size with plenty of space. It’s very popular so for this trip we made sure to get there at around 12pm so there would definitely be seats – I’ve been turned away more than once in the past because it’s been so busy! The place consists of lots of tables, mostly for 2-4 people, with the counter and kitchen at the back.
There’s always been a nice vibe when we’ve visited and this trip was no different, with positive chatter in the background that wasn’t too loud. I like the decor of the place which has a great theme of French posters and images, and it’s the right sort of setting where you can easily hold a conversation while you eat and also chill out a bit.
As this trip was for afternoon tea the menu was set, including sandwiches, cakes, scones, and tea or coffee for £25 between two. I felt this was very reasonable considering what we got – such a lovely range of food and so filling! I didn’t need to eat for hours afterwards so I’d recommend being quite hungry before you try it.
The three-tiered plate that came out was a lovely way to present the food, and we started at the bottom and worked our way up. The first plate had a selection of finger sandwiches – egg mayo, cucumber, ham, salmon with cream cheese, and chicken pesto with sunblazed tomatoes, alongside a mini quiche each. I remember thinking at first that that wasn’t enough between two but I was very wrong!
The second plate was the scones – we got two each (one fruit and one plain), with strawberry jam, raspberry jam, clotted cream, and butter to top them with. Scones are one of my favourite things about Britain so I absolutely loved this part. The third and final plate was my favourite though – a selection of beautifully crafted cake slices consisting of a Victoria sponge, two chocolate eclairs, carrot and walnut cake, double chocolate mousse slice, and mixed berry mousse slice. I liked all of them but both Mum and I agreed that the berry mousse slice was the best – so pretty to look at and a wonderfully vibrant flavour. I was so full by this point but determined to try every part! We had to cut some pieces in half so we were able to both try everything, but this was relatively easy to do without it going everywhere (as I’d invisaged).
The tea and coffee was also lovely – Mum went for a simple Americano which she enjoyed (and there was a lot of it), and I went for an Earl Grey, managing to get four small cups out of the teapot! It felt like a lot more tea than you’d usually get in a café so well worth the price, and helped to keep me awake after gorging on so much food!
As well as afternoon tea and eating inside the café, Patisserie Valerie also sell a variety of their cakes and tarts to take home – these can be bought individually or they offer several giant slices at £11 for four, which can be chosen in store or ordered beforehand. You can also order whole cakes from them which you can design online using their Create A Cake option (which is actually quite fun). Their cakes are stunning and I’d definitely buy from them if I was looking to order a selection.
It’s safe to say that we were both really impressed with Patisserie Valerie, and would 100% go back there again either for afternoon tea or just a standard lunch. We loved how extravagant and refined we felt eating their food, and the overall experience was friendly and positive. If you have one near you then you’d be crazy not to try it out!
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