Afternoon Tea At Patisserie Valerie, Colchester | Lovingly Crafted Continental Delights

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.

Patisserie Valerie, Colchester - afternoon tea title image

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 Vibe

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.

The Food

The whole spread of food from the afternoon tea in Patisserie Valerie in Colchester including sandwiches, quiches, scones, and cakes
The afternoon tea spread, including three ‘courses’ plus drinks

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!

The Extras

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!

If you enjoyed this review then please don’t forget to like, pin, and leave a comment! You can read my other recent British café reviews here:

Odell’s Coffee Shop, Rochford | Biddy’s Tea Room, Norwich

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Odell’s Coffee Shop, Rochford

Rochford is a quaint little town situated in Essex, not too far from Southend. During my first visit I noticed that, although there isn’t loads of stuff to do there, what Rochford does have it does very well. The town is compact, but filled with very British streets and loads of local businesses. One example of these is a wonderful little coffee shop I got to visit for lunch – Odell’s Coffee Shop.

Odell’s Coffee Shop is marked on Trip Advisor as one of the best coffee shops in the area so I just had to try it out. I decided to sit outside for my visit as it just so happened to be the warmest day of February – the outside tables are very close to the road, but it wasn’t massively busy so this wasn’t issue. The street is shady in the morning and in the sun for the afternoon so bear this in mind if you prefer to sit outside. I discovered quite quickly that Odell’s is very popular with the locals, so I’d advise getting there early. Once it got to around half 12 people were unable to eat there due to the volume of people (the coffee shop is quite cosy inside).

Photo of a panini, crisps, and side salad from Odell's Coffee Shop in Rochford
One of the tastiest flavour combinations I’ve had in a panini for a while

Odell’s menu isn’t available online so I wasn’t sure what to expect, but they provide a good variety of different food from lunch items such as paninis and sandwiches to a rather hearty all day breakfast (which people have only said good things about online!). I decided to opt for the Odell’s Special panini for £4.90, which contained chicken, salami, mozzarella, mushrooms, sun dried tomatoes, rocket, and pesto. It came served with crisps and salad and was really enjoyable – the bread was good quality, the combination of flavours was lovely, and there was loads of mozzarella which is particularly important to me!

I had the panini alongside a small cappuccino which cost £1.90 and a large slice of chocolate cake for £2.95. I thought the cake was slightly expensive but this seems to be a common theme in England, with most cake slices costing around the same amount – the rest of the meal was very reasonable and the entire thing came to under a tenner which was great considering how full I was. I really enjoyed the coffee too, and it was the perfect strength.

A slice of chocolate cake in front of a cappuccino from Odell's Coffee Shop in Rochford
The chocolate cake I probably didn’t need (but gorged on anyway)

As well as the food I also really liked the general vibe of Odell’s Coffee Shop – it’s your typical British café, but somewhat more refined in its decor and ambience. Inside the café you can see exposed beams and brick wall features which looks great, and outside was quite cute as well with the tables set between brick pillars. The homely crockery was also a nice touch.

Photo of cappuccino from Odell's Coffee Shop
My cappuccino, complete with cute crockery pattern

I did find the waiting times to be quite long, but as mentioned before I probably chose one of the busiest times to visit so I forgive them for that! In a way it was nice to slow down for the day, and it gave me time to reflect and just enjoy the moment. There wasn’t any WiFi available either so this is something to take note of if you’re in the area and need to be connected, but for me it added to my relaxation as I was disconnected from the stresses around me.

I really enjoyed my visit to Odell’s Coffee Shop and if I visit the area again I think I’ll make a point of going back – I’ve got to try out that all day breakfast! As well as great food the staff were also really lovely and easy to talk to, which added to the overall experience. For anyone planning on visiting Rochford in the near future – definitely make this one of your stops.

Biddy’s Tea Room, Norwich | The Best Place For Afternoon Tea

Norwich is a wonderful city, full of quirky and original experiences. One such place is Biddy’s Tea Room on Lower Goat Lane, rated as the one of the best cafés in the city centre. It’s so popular, in fact, that when I went at lunchtime I ended up being turned away as it was completely full, however just walking inside told me that it would be worth the wait, and when I went back just after 2pm I managed to get a seat (one of only a couple available, mind).

Title image of Biddy's Tea Room

Biddy’s Tea Room is the type of café one might describe as quaint, with cosy decor including bookshelves and various artwork on the walls, and the cutest tables made out of chests. The premises consists of two floors – I didn’t see the top floor, but tables here can be booked out due to the café’s busy nature, and the ground floor consists of several rooms and the main food area. They have different menus for different times of day, with a wide range of options to please every visitor.

Tea served at Biddy's Tea Room

One of these menus is particularly special – their tea menu. Biddy’s Tea Room don’t just offer the regular coffees and teas, but also their own unique tea blends which sound just fantastic. Whilst there I tried out the Russian Caravan, a blend of Ceylon and Lapsang, which was as wonderful as it sounds. The tea arrived in a gorgeous dark green teapot alongside a porcelain teacup and saucer, and the menu was quite useful in that it explained what made up each tea and how long it should steep for. There were also plenty of caffeine-free options.

Lunch served at Biddy's Tea Room

Onto the food… All I can say is wow. Due to the time of day I decided to opt for something a bit lighter for my lunch with a dessert alongside it, yet I was still stuffed by the end of it! I had to eat it all though as the tastes were so beautiful. For my main lunch course I opted for a latticed pork sausage, apple, and sage sausage roll – an exquisite blend of flavours. It almost looked too good to ear, but I’m glad I did! The sausage roll slice was served with a side of coleslaw and dressed salad, and as well as filling it felt healthy.

Dessert served at Biddy's Tea Room

I went for a rather decadent dessert after a recommendation from staff – a banana, caramel, peanut, and chocolate truffle. I probably didn’t need it given how filling lunch was, but the richness and sweetness of the dessert was well worth it. It was also beautifully presented, and something I’d definitely order again.

I don’t have anything but positive words for Biddy’s Tea Room – the environment was cosy and relaxing, the staff were brilliant and more than helpful, and of course the food was gorgeous. The only downside is it’s not right next to my house! I know for sure that if I go back to Norwich I’ll just have to visit the café again, and I strongly recommend you do as well.

Have you had a great experience in Norwich before? Please let me know if you enjoyed my review by liking my post and leaving a comment!