Afternoon tea is one of my favourite foodie experiences. It's so unnecessary; a feast of sandwiches and sugary treats in the middle of the afternoon - but decadent and delicious so you won't hear me complaining!
Last week I was invited to sample the afternoon tea at Cutter and Squidge (how adorable is the name?) - an all natural bakery in Soho, London. When I mentioned that the cakes were 'all natural', my boyfriend gave me a doubtful look saying 'really? You're taking me to a 'clean-eating' cake shop?'. However, let me assure you that you won't see green juice and raw brownies in this bakery. Their cakes and goodies are all natural in the best sense of the word - proper British butter, natural colours and flavourings and fresh ingredients used wherever possible. Everything we ate was bursting with flavour and you could taste the quality of the ingredients used.
The bakery itself is beautiful, with towering cakes in the counter and colourful yet tasteful decorations hanging on the white pinboard style walls. Apparently there is a secret garden downstairs - I'm planning on going back to check that out at some point! We arrived at around 2:30pm and the cafe was packed; a good sign of things to come but meant it took a while for us to be seated and served.
Each part of the afternoon tea was served in a bamboo steamer, meaning you could reveal each layer of treats one at a time. We thought this was a really fun and novel idea, and it paid homage to the Lui sister's (who own the bakery) Asian heritage. Alongside the usual sandwich offering (the smoked cheese and caramelised onion was a winner!), Cutter and Squidge serve warm Cheese Clouds as part of the experience and these were a real highlight. Light-as-air choux pastry puffs flavoured with herbs and tangy cheese - so moreish! The savoury layer of this afternoon tea really impressed me. I'd already been to Cutter and Squidge for cake, so I knew the sweet stuff would be amazing, but the savoury was really something special. I loved having savoury sweetcorn scones with cream cheese and tomato chutney. It made the tea feel more balanced and was a welcome change from the norm of jam and cream.
Onto sweets. I'd been hyping up Cutter and Squidge cakes to everyone since I last went, and the expectation was thoroughly lived up to. As well as stunning lemon dream cakes and cheesecake brownies, there was an array of mini bites to sample. It really felt like we got to taste the best of what the bakery had to offer, which I think every good afternoon tea should do. The millionaires tart, passionfruit macaron and smore's bite were stand-out treats. One thing I'd not experienced before was the famous Biskie. They consist of two cookies sandwiched with a deliciously fresh buttercream (specially created in house to reduce sugar and butter and pack full of fresh fruit) and a little pearl of goodness in the centre. Ours were raspberry, rose and lychee, which I was delighted by as lychee is one of my favourite flavours. Look how stunning they are! The white chocolate pearl in the centre bursts as you bite into it, releasing a divine lychee gel.
Once we'd finished eating, anything we hadn't finished was boxed up beautifully to take home which is a real nice touch, as afternoon teas can sometimes be a little overwhelming! We left comfortably full, but not feeling guilty for engaging in gluttony, as the fresh flavours and light touch made it a joy to eat. It wasn't overly fancy, but if you're looking for a fun, relaxed take on afternoon tea in Central London, I would highly recommend checking them out. If not - just go for the cake! Their London Fog tea latte is what dreams are made of. Find out more here.
Martha's Afternoon Tea ranking:
Overall experience: 7/10
Been to Cutter and Squidge? Leave me a comment on what you thought, or recommend other great afternoon tea haunts - I'd love to hear them!