As a big fan of Downton Abbey and British television, I’ve always wanted to do the whole afternoon tea thing. Normally, I’m more of a coffee drinker, and I never actually had an authentic scone. But the whole set-up is just something that appealed to me. The pot of tea, the multi-tiered tower of food, and the chance to relax a bit. I accidentally stumbled upon A Taste of Britain while doing an internet search for something else. When I browsed through the menu and saw they offered the “Full Afternoon Tea”, I knew my friend and I had to go and that was what I was ordering.
We both went for it. For $20 a person, you each get a pot of your own choice of loose-leaf tea (there are about 20-30 available), as well as eight little finger sandwiches, a scone, and an assortment of mini pastries. It’s a price and experience which cannot be beat. The tea we had was a blending of green and white teas as well as the essence of pineapple. It made what would normally be a pretty bitter tea mild and ever so delicately sweet. My scone was a Maraschino cherry and almond, while he went with the month’s special, brandied walnut I believe it was. The dish of scones rested on the middle of three tiers, and the scones came with jars of lemon curd, strawberry preserves, and clotted cream. All perfect when slathered over those freshly baked scones.
The bottom tier contained the sandwiches. They were cut into two-bite sizes, and included two each of the following: roast beef, curried cauliflower, what appeared to be a type of blended cheese, and lastly, the ubiquitous cucumber sandwiches. Now, I must tell you that I absolutely hate cucumbers. It’s the one vegetable over the years I have never been able to like. No matter what is done to it. However, I figured I needed to try it here, just because the cucumber sandwich is an essential part of the afternoon tea. I ended up actually enjoying it. It was sliced paper-thin and there was enough butter on it that I did not mind at all. My favorite of the four, though, was the curried cauliflower. The pastries on the top tier were tiny but cute. The favorite for the both of us was a cap of dough filled with chocolate mousse. There were a few others as well.
I could not find one single thing wrong with our experience at A Taste of Britain. This leaves me no choice but to award them 4.5 out of 5 stars, the first such rating to be given to a restaurant in Pennsylvania. The atmosphere and decor managed to be quaint, elegant, yet not pretentious. Every table had different styles of tea pots, china, and accessories. The service was delightfully pleasant (you can tell they love working there), and the food/tea, of course, was superb. I recommend you make reservations through their website or Yelp. It was busy when we got there at 11 a.m. and was filled to capacity with people waiting by the time we left. Plan to spend about an hour. They do not rush you out, not matter how busy it got. In fact, the server came around asking if we wanted more hot water for our pot. I can’t wait to go back, and as much as I would like to try one of their sandwiches or entrees, I know I will still probably end up with the afternoon tea. It was impressive.
A Taste of Britain is located in the Eagle Village Shops at 503 West Lancaster Avenue in Wayne, Pennsylvania.