Afternoon Tea at Huffkins
Ahh Huffkins! Founded as a bakery in Burford, it now also has tearooms in Witney, Cheltenham, Stow-on-the-Wold and… Japan! Fancy that.
Stow-on-the-Wold: this was my second visit of the week because it really is rather good and a nice meeting place. Besides, what better way of continuing the engagement celebrations than afternoon tea with a couple of girlfriends?
There is quite a nice balance between the ‘rustic Cotswolds country’ and ‘quaint English tearooms’ feel about it. With mostly families and the elderly, there is quite a friendly atmosphere. If you sneak past the takeaway counter and up the stairs there is quite a different feel to that in the tearooms. Mostly coffee-drinkers, the seating is more relaxed and there are big windows that fill the room with light and allow you to look down upon the busy square at one end and the church at the other.
Sadly, on both occasions I had problems with my order. There are lots of choices offered, which is great and I will mention them shortly, but it would seem that this leads to confusion or gets lost in translation between the waiting staff and the kitchen staff… However, this time round the waiter was made aware of the issue and made up for the inconvenience:
This was the first choice with which we were presented – a round and a half each from the normal menu – with three types of bread from which to choose. Quite a task, I must add. So, when it turned out that we had been served someone else’s sandwiches needless to say that we felt our long-considered decision-making had all been for nothing. To our delight though, the waiter duly brought us our original selection on top of what we already had in front of us! We kindly obliged and polished off a good portion of the sandwich spread that had accumulated on our table – smoked salmon and avocado, chicken and bacon, ploughman, ham, tuna, and probably a couple of others that I forget… My favourite would have to be the chicken and bacon on white bread.
No crusts but you know my stance on this already.
Choice of scones – wonderful! Cheese, fruit or plain, and warm too. I must admit that the flavoured scones looked – and smelt – very tasty but, as you know, I am a bit conservative when it comes to scone rituals and stuck to a plain scone with jam. Strawberry jam – I shall say no more.
PASTRIES & CAKES 3/6
Bearing in mind that we opted for the full afternoon tea for two – knowing full well that we would never be able to finish tea for three but still wishing to sample a bit of everything – the ‘cake & pastry course’, as I call it, was more than ample. Cream cakes, brownies, flapjacks…. Huge! Perhaps a little too generous. But very much in keeping with Huffkins’ bakery roots.
Before you come to the conclusion that the teapot must have been fabulous for me to have awarded the tea a 2/2, I actually gave it this because we were asked when we would like to be served our tea. Something that I believe should always be offered but rarely is.
There’s something about Huffkins that I have come to love. It all started with our weekly iced bun run at home; their iced buns are literally amazing. Not filled. Just as they are. Anyway, Huffkins really does have its own charm about it.
All in all, very lovely and very English. Which reminds me; I read in the Evening Standard that the true afternoon tea is under ‘threat’, particularly from french patisserie and champagne. Is this such a bad thing? Perhaps I will post on this another time…
**our scale may develop as we visit more locations but the description should give you a fuller idea of what to expect. The general gist is that 1/3 is OK and 3/3 is lovely, whilst 1/6 is OK and 6/6 is wonderful and encompasses quality, presentation and the perfect variety.