Bea’s Of Bloomsbury, 44 Theobald Rd., Holborn.

28 Jul

An old friend of mine was around Holborn yesterday afternoon, and having not seen him in about five years I thought we ought to try to find somewhere nice to meet for a cup of tea. I’m not a fan of the big chain places as I always find them quite substandard and very predictable, and I prefer places a little bit quirky. PD mentioned Bea’s of Bloomsbury which he’d wanted to visit for a while, so I thought I’d use it as an opportunity to go and check it out. We arrived just after two and I was excited to see that it did indeed look quite unique. Although small, the space was used well, and it looked as though they were just finishing up from lunch service. We found ourselves a comfy table and ordered some nibbles. There was none of the ridiculous rushing and huffiness that you find in some coffee shops, where people are so rushed off their feet they don’t even have time to notice you. All of the servers were laid back and attentive, and friendly. I ordered the Jasmine tea (from an extensive menu of tea) and a Chocolate Kahlua cupcake, and M ordered the ‘Sweet Tea’: Earl Grey Supreme with scones, clotted cream and strawberry jam. We hadn’t realised that the ‘Sweet Tea’ wouldn’t be available until half two, but I was very excited to find that this wasn’t out of pedantic inflexibility, but rather that this would be when the scones would be coming out of the oven. Freshly made – yum! The Jasmine tea was delicious and came in its own little pot (my only complaint was that the handle of the tea pot got very, very hot, but really – that’s just nitpicking), as did M’s Earl Grey Supreme. We weren’t entirely sure what the difference was between your regular Earl Grey and the ‘supreme’ version (neither was the waitress behind the counter), but either way, I heard no complaints. The cupcake was wonderfully made and beautifully decorated, it was fluffy and full of flavour. I couldn’t quite get the Kahlua through the cake, but there was a hint of coffee. Although we had to wait about twenty minutes for the scones to come out of the oven, it was well worth it (and of course, with five years to catch up on the time flew by anyway). They were warm, well risen and beautifully light. In fact, they were possibly the lightest scones I’ve had. There’s a lot to be said for food which is fresh out of the oven, it makes a huge difference. After around 3pm most of the lunch crowd had died down and it had become reasonably quiet with more free tables, so if you’re looking for a larger table it might be worth going a little after lunch time.

All in all I’m suitably impressed. I was a little worried as Holborn was incredibly busy due to the Olympic crowd, but as Bea’s is slightly off the main stretch of road it is a little hidden from the masses. It was a wonderfully relaxed atmosphere, great cakes and lovely tea, topped off with fantastic service (and brownie points for the very fresh scones). I purposefully did not have coffee as I’m leaving that to PD, but I did have a nosey at the table next to us – and I must say, the coffee did look good…….

Score: 8/10 – it would have been nice to have had a bit more space between tables, but the space was quite small and it did add to its charm. I also found it a little pricey at £3 a cupcake, but as we did sit and chat for a good hour and a half I think it was fair. On the flavour front, the cupcake needed a bit more of the Kahlua to come through.

Price range: £3.00 cupcake (£2.50 t.a.), ~£2.50 – £3.00 for tea/coffee

Would I go back? If I was in the area.

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