Is there anything better than whiling away the afternoon with tea and cake?Probably not. And now I’m back in England, I shall take full advantage of it, especially when it’s Afternoon Tea Week…
Parker’s Tavern is the restaurant and bar inside the University Arms hotel in the centre of Cambridge and they serve up a daily afternoon tea overlooking Parker’s Piece (the green that gives the restaurant its name. It’s even served on quirky Cambridge themed crockery!
As is standard, you’ll get a plate of savouries, scones, and mini desserts, along with an individual pot of tea of your choice.
Working our way up we began with the sandwiches (salmon and cucumber & cream cheese), which were good, but the outstanding star of the show was the most amazing pea tart. Crisp, buttery pastry filled with fresh peas, broad beans and mint, combined underneath with a creamy filling, and topped with a drizzle of oil. It’s honestly one of the nicest things I’ve eaten in a long time. Such a simple tart, but with just the perfect combination of flavours and textures. Unbelievably good!
Midway through and we’re onto the scones – fruity scones with raspberry jam and clotted cream to be exact. I know some people don’t ‘love’ a fruit scone, but I’m definitely not one of those people. Any kind of scone works for me! Plus, these were a proper full size scone, but they weren’t heavy in the slightest, even with all that fruit inside. Just light enough to allow you to devour all those mini desserts in the next layer….
Four mini sweet treats are offered per person and all bounce off each other perfectly to give a well rounded end to the meal. I loved the raspberry jam surprise in the centre of the raspberry and lemon verbena macaron, but sadly I didn’t get any hint at all of lemon verbena in the shell or the cream. A wonderful texture nonetheless and aside from the lack of lemon, I really enjoyed it. The pavlova was delightfully sweet and as light as air, practically dissolving in my mouth – the perfect addition to the collection as the quintessential summer dessert. The carrot cake was also incredibly light, with each layer of cake and filling as thin as each other, but never lacking in flavour. The last bites were the dark chocolate and sea salt truffles – soft and slightly bitter – which gave the perfect final note to a fantastic tea.
The menu seems to change seasonally, so it might be different when you visit, but this is what I was lucky enough to try when I went. However, I do recommend going during August, while they take part in the ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ scheme, as you’ll get this delicious tea for practically half price. However, I will stress that’s only if you’re able to and feel comfortable to. If it helps, the restaurant is in an airy space with high ceilings so you never feel close to anyone else while you’re eating and there is sanitiser available in the entrance. If you prefer, you can actually get your afternoon tea to take away, to eat at home or even on the green. Whichever you choose to do though, it’s a win in my books, and I’m definitely going back for that incredible tart!
Parker’s Tavern // Regent Street, Cambridge, CB2 1AD