I’m a born and bred Londoner so it’s only natural that I should love the quintessentially English occasion of afternoon tea. Afternoon teas with a twist especially take my fancy like the burgerlicious tea we demolished at BRGR.CO or the fun cocktail making afternoon tea at Hush. So when I heard about the tea by BB Bakery that is set on an old double-decker red bus and takes guests on a sightseeing tour of London while they eat, well you can only imagine how excited I was.
I boarded the bus with fellow blogger ladies Shikha and Char and we took our seats on the top deck where the tables were beautifully laid out with tiered trays of finger sandwiches, mini turkey salad rolls and mini quiches. After the obligatory foodie snaps, we delved straight into the savoury tier which went down a treat. I loved that they provided something different to just the normal sandwiches that most afternoon teas serve.
We were a little concerned that all the food and fancy china would go flying as soon as the bus started moving, turning what should have been a sophisticated afternoon tea into an accidental food fight on wheels. But after we tried moving the plates, we realised they were all suctioned down and the handy drink holders kept our adorably girly tea flasks in place (Note to BB Bakery: if you gave the flasks away as a little souvenir this would have totally made me love you).
Not surprisingly for England the skies were dark and grey and the rain was pouring down outside smearing all the windows up, but the staff kindly wiped them clear every so often so that we could see all the sights as we drove past. We had a little map and guide book that detailed the sights on our route including the London Eye, Houses of Parliament and Buckingham Palace to name a few.
Unfortunately we ended up completely missing most of the sights as there was no commentary or live guide pointing the attractions out and obviously the food stole most of our attention. One of us would catch a brief glimpse out the window before we even realised where we were (“Ooh look, Big Ben!!”) and then we all raced to grab our cameras and tried to hold still for a non-blurry shot as the bus trundled past.
Everyone knows that the best part of afternoon tea are the scones and cakes so you can imagine how disappointed I was when they refused to serve me any cakes because they all apparently contained nuts. BB Bakery had been told in advance that I had a nut allergy and, as they offer gluten free, vegetarian and halal options, I was expecting them to be able to cater for nut allergies too. So I was left to sit forlornly by as everyone else tucked into their cupcakes, lemon meringue pies, fruity pastries and macarons. At least I had my scone which came with little pots of clotted cream and strawberry jam. The scone wasn’t quite as warm and soft as I like but that may be expecting too much when we had a moving vehicle for a kitchen!
After an hour and a half the bus tour came to an end and I was given a cute pink take away goody bag full of all the cakes that I hadn’t been able to eat. It seemed they were perfectly happy for me to have a allergic reaction in the privacy of my own home as long as it wasn’t on their bus!
Of course I delved into it as soon as I was home and I wasn’t at all surprised that I could eat pretty much all of it! I may not have had a reaction but I obviously can’t state whether they were completely nut free or not but I’m guessing that the staff couldn’t guarantee it and so they didn’t want to take the risk. Personally I would have been perfectly happy to risk having an allergic reaction just for a piece of cake!
Despite stepping off the bus feeling a little disappointed, the afternoon tea wasn’t all bad. As long as you don’t have a nut allergy like me I’m sure you’ll love it as the food was rather scrumptious, especially the lemon meringue pie pictured above! The whole unique setup really was brilliant and with a few changes, such as some commentary or even just some background music to make the atmosphere that bit more amiable, this would be a fantastic novel afternoon tea.
I rarely talk about anything negative on the blog, mainly because I’m very easily pleased but also because I want you lovely lot to go away feeling happy and inspired after reading something on here. So it pains me that this is my first (and hopefully last) slightly negative review but of course I have to be honest. Especially when it comes to cake.
Have you had afternoon tea on a bus? What other afternoon teas with a twist would you recommend? Let me know in the comments below!
Thank you to BB Bakery who hosted our afternoon tea.