Wed. Jul 24th, 2024

What did we think of afternoon tea at Queens?

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It was my birthday earlier this month. Not a big birthday (that was last year), but when my mum suggested she came up the weekend before to go out for afternoon tea, I had a venue in mind straight away…

Queens Bury St Edmunds - Exterior

I’ve been following Queens Bar & Grill in Bury St Edmunds on Instagram for a while…and I had struggled to work out what they’re all about. They describe themselves as a farm-to-fork smokehouse and cocktail bar – and their Insta photos include plenty of meaty platters, Sunday roasts, sandwiches and burgers.

What they also feature is afternoon teas. Themed afternoon teas, in fact. They change with the seasons, and they also offer special limited-time versions (like their Star Wars-themed afternoon tea for May 4th).

We were just in time, in early June, to book in for their spring-themed afternoon tea, priced at £27 for adults, £18 for children – with a £10 deposit required per person.

Queens Bury St Edmunds - Spring Afternoon Tea Menu

Aside from the themed element, one of the other reasons I chose Queens for afternoon tea was the fact that there seemed to be a better balance between savoury and sweet. I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again: as much as I have a sweet tooth, I do feel the average afternoon tea has too much sweet stuff.

Queens feels like an upmarket pub inside, and the table beside us had booked in for an afternoon tea too. It came with a choice of teas – or alternatively, coffee, coke, lemonade, orange juice or a half pint of beer. It’s nice to have additional options available should you want them.

Queens Bury St Edmunds - Interior

The drinks arrived promptly, and the afternoon teas not long after. Between the teapots, the tiered stands and the board of scones, there wasn’t much space on the table. I was a little worried (especially with a six-year-old next to me) that something would go flying.

Ignoring the jostling for space, though, the afternoon teas were beautiful. The two-tiered stands held the savouries on the bottom and the sweets on the top. Both sweet and savoury scones – and their accompaniments – took pride of place on the wooden board.

Queens Bury St Edmunds - Spring Afternoon Tea

The standout star of the savouries was undoubtedly the sausage roll. Flaky golden pastry encased a substantial, well-seasoned meaty filling – I could happily have eaten more of these.

The sandwiches – smoked salmon & cream cheese, egg mayo and ham & smoked Applewood with mustard mayo – were all decently made, and the pulled pork slider was a nice touch. The green bun (spring-themed, innit) was a little too dense, but the meat inside was juicy and delicious.

Queens Bury St Edmunds - Savouries

The scones? They were outstanding. We all agreed that the cheese and bacon ones, their tops golden with a thick layer of cheese, were the stars. The fruit scones were also delicious, served with clotted cream (possibly not quite enough) and Tiptree strawberry jam.

Queens Bury St Edmunds - Scones

I think you’ll agree that the sweets looked beautiful – not surprising, given that the team also owns Crumbs just down the road.

The pig Jammie Dodger truffle was my highlight: a sweet, dense concoction with plenty of jammy swirls throughout the centre. The Oreo brownie flower patch was beautiful: the brownie dense and fudgy, the decoration beautiful (if a little too sweet).

The macaron was well-made and melted in the mouth, but the other two items were a little hit-and-miss. The chocolate flower pot cheesecake had a base that was a bit too solid to scoop out properly with the creamy cheesecake filling. The filling itself was a little on the sour side. While the sheep vanilla cupcake was soft and moist, the icing had an odd – slightly unpleasant – flavour.

Queens Bury St Edmunds - Sweets

We all agreed that in an afternoon tea when we’d already eaten sandwiches, sausage rolls and scones it may have been better to have a few lighter elements to the sweets. A mousse or posset, perhaps, or a classic fruit tart. We ended up asking for takeaway boxes to take bits home as we simply couldn’t manage the whole lot.

Would I go back to Queens for an afternoon tea? Probably not. Their meaty photos on Instagram always appeal, though, so I’d be very keen to try the smokehouse offering…

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