Travelling Foodie Review: Afternoon Tea at La Suite West (London)

Finding a vegan afternoon tea is a lot more difficult than finding regular afternoon tea. It’s a level above finding somewhere that can cater for vegans at an afternoon tea. There’s a difference? I hear you ask. It’s a small one, but in my experience, yes. One should involve fresh cake and scones as you’d expect from afternoon tea, the other involves shop bought bits and fresh fruit.
Ok, the difference is scones and cream. There – that’s my line in the sand.

La Suite West is a vegan restaurant, so all the others are “safe” on both their afternoon tea set menu, and their other menus too. But, I digress because we were there for one thing, and one thing only: afternoon tea! My husband (man, that is still a bit weird) hasn’t had afternoon tea since becoming vegan and he used to love scones with clotted cream and jam. But, weirdly, only with cream. Hand the man a scone without cream and you’d probably get handed back the scone with a polite decline. So: I hunted online and discovered La Suite West, in London, not only did a vegan afternoon tea but also one that came with scones. Sold! Table for two please!

So, what does a vegan afternoon tea there entail? Well, this:

A Selection of Finger Sandwiches

  • Scrambled Tofu + Mustard Cress
  • Portobello Mushroom Pate + Cashew Nut Butter
  • Lemon & Thyme Tahini + Cucumber
  • Roast Tomato + Sunflower Seed Pesto
  • Avocado Chilli Mousse + Rocket

Warm Home-made Scones

Served with Fresh Strawberries Whipped Coconut “Cream”

Chef’s Selection of Sweets

A selection of Baked or Raw Desserts, Pastries & Sweets

To drink

A glass of alcohol-free fizz and unlimited teas and/or coffees are included

First impressions

Honestly, it was: “Is this the entrance? Where’s the restaurant?”

And then, “Why is it so dark?”

This is because the main entrance leads you straight to the reception, and there is no sign pointing you to the restaurant. The second thought was because well, it’s very dark in it’s styling. Lots of low lights and dark walls.

But the FOOD, what about the FOOD?

One at a time

Unlike every other afternoon tea I’ve ever had, the food isnt served all at once. There’s no cute tray for you to pick and choose and go back and nibble at: each “course” is served to you one at a time, in order. So you have to finish all the sandwiches, then all the scones, and then the cakes are served. Obviously you don’t have to finish all that is served each time, but since we didn’t know what was coming next, we ate more than we would of done if we knew how much there was of each course.

So, the sandwiches?

The sandwiches were very good in general. A little light on the fillings and for some reason, our portobello mushroom pate was missing the cashew nut butter. A real shame because we both love nut butters and had been really looking forward to that flavour combination! My favourite was a tie between the roast tomato & sunflower seed pesto, and the scrambled tofu with mustard cress. I’d been expecting to love the avocado chilli mousse, but there wasn’t anything “chilli” about it so it was “just” avocado, which I find a bit too bland when just served with white bread (and a bit of rocket, granted).

And the scones, the selling factor?

Despite being described as warm on the menu, don’t expect them to be. They’re not fridge cold, but they’re not any description of “warm” either. That said, they had a wonderful touch of cinnamon to them – -which is one of my favourite flavours, but not one of my husbands. Despite this, he admitted it wasn’t too strong, but just made them taste better. You get absolutely loads of scones: there’s no shortage! We had eight between us, and managed about six and a half. The whipped coconut cream is delicious and you the fresh, sliced strawberries are a nice touch, though we preferred to have strawberry jam and just eat the strawberries. Aren’t we an uncultured duo!

What about the cakes?

I… didn’t love the cakes. My husband very  much enjoyed them, so it’s very much a personal thing. They were very good cakes, just not to my taste. I would have rather had another finger sandwich, because I was sweeted-out by that point!

We were served three, very cute, tiny cakes each on a slate tray. There was a cold kind of apple & blueberry puff pie, a raw carrot cake ball, and a deconstructed crumble in a glass. Neither of us managed to finish all three, but Adam declared the little puff pie the top of the lot.

Summary

I think the atmosphere affected my views. As I said, the first impressions were a bit “Why is it so dark in here?” and there wasn’t much atmosphere to the room, although there were two other tables present. I think I was kind of put off by the presence of a big television in the restaurant too – we were sat right in front of it and it was quite distracting. It was muted, so there was that, but I was trying to feel dainty and eat a finger sandwich whilst bikers did some kind of track race behind my husbands head. Bit odd! I get TV’s in a casual cafe, but that wasn’t the look or vibe I sensed they were going fo.

Would I return?

Hmm, maybe. I’m not sure, to be honest. Perhaps if my husband wanted more scones, but personally I just… would of liked more sandwiches, and for it to have been served like a traditional afternoon tea. Perhaps I’m stuck in my ways, but that’s what I love about afternoon teas! Picking at the various items, eyeing up what I think I’ll eat next, or what I think I’ll pass on.  Don’t get me wrong, it all tasted good. But none of it blew me away. None of it made me rebook straight away or had be desperate for the recipe… gosh I sound moody.

I think the atmosphere affected my views. As I said, the first impressions were a bit “Why is it so dark in here?” and there wasn’t much atmosphere to the room, although there were two other tables present. I think I was kind of put off by the presence of a big television in the restaurant too – we were sat right in front of it and it was quite distracting. It was muted, so there was that, but I was trying to feel dainty and eat a finger sandwich whilst bikers did some kind of track race behind my husbands head. Bit odd! I get TV’s in a casual cafe, but that wasn’t the look or vibe I sensed they were going fo.

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