I’m no stranger to afternoon tea, we know that by now. It’s also become something that I do with my mum, our little time-out together to catch up on life and send ourselves into a sugar coma. The latest venue was Ivy’s Vintage Tearoom in nearby Lutterworth. I love the concept, promising people a trip back in time through 1930s/40s decor and vintage crockery along with music from the era and, of course, tea and cake.
Right on the High Street, you can spot Ivy’s as you drive through, complete with china cups artfully hung in the window. Stepping inside, it really is like taking a step back in time. Furniture mismatches with charm, tables are laid with crisp white linen and dainty, elaborately decorated china and there are knick knacks dotted around. More importantly, the welcome is warm and the main counter groans under huge, indulgent cakes promising the sugar hit Mum and I both crave.
While they do breakfasts and lunches, including everything from sandwiches to jacket potatoes and classic winter warmers like beef stew, lasagne and chilli, we were there for ‘Ivy’s Tea Time Treats’. At £12.50 their traditional afternoon tea is a tempting option, complete with sandwiches, scone, cake, petit fours and macaron. They also do a Gentleman’s Afternoon Tea – a savoury version including pork pie, sausage roll, scotch egg as well as scone and jam and cream. And if all that is too much you can opt for a simple cream tea, scone or piece of cake.
We opted for the first – a delicate, traditional ode to afternoon tea at granny’s. Soft white-breaded crustless sandwiches cut into precise triangles. At Ivy’s they’ve steered clear of messing around with the classics and we munched our way through the tried-and-tested flavours of cheese and cucumber, ham and chutney, egg mayonnaise and tuna and sweetcorn. Added to this was salad drizzled with a classic vinaigrette and some crisps.
I’m a big fan of tackling the scone before moving onto the final top tier of sweet treats, though the scone at Ivy’s was so good I was left wondering whether I should have saved it until last in this case. Seriously light and buttery, it is easily one of the best scones I’ve ever had and I could quite happily have eaten it on its own. Having said that, when faced with a pot of clotted cream and jam, it’s hard to resist so I decided it was good to test another winning combination and piled it on, munching on the fresh strawberries too as a nod to my five a day.
The top layer of our afternoon tea stand was piled high with two generous slabs of traditional Victoria sponge along with a few delicate additions of petit fours and ‘Ivy’s macaron’. Mum’s not usually a fan of macarons so I was looking forward to keeping it to myself, but after a taste she declared: “If every macaron was like that I’d be happy”. Light and crisp on the outside, squishy and gooey on the inside. I reckon Lac from Revelicious would have been proud!
The petit fours, too, were great. And I washed the whole thing down with some loose-leaf green tea from Ivy’s exhaustive selection. They also didn’t balk at mum’s revelation that despite loving ‘afternoon tea’, she actually hates tea itself, bringing her a cafetiere of coffee instead.
Mum and I have had plenty of afternoon teas over the past few years, some traditional and others more of a modern twist on a classic, like Robata’s offering. Ivy’s is definitely well up there. It’s all well and good giving people a tonne of cake but when it’s spot-on that’s a whole different ballgame. Put those perfect scones and marvellous macarons against a gorgeously individual backdrop with the warmth that we experienced from the minute we walked in until we left and you’ve got a great experience. Next time you’re passing, pop in and take a trip back in time. You won’t regret it.
We were invited to try afternoon tea at Ivy’s Vintage Tearoom in Lutterworth but at £12.50 I’d have happily paid.