Afternoon tea has long been a popular pastime in Britain, but no longer does a few sarnies and a scone cut the mustard. Jamie Oliver’s Barbecoa has just introduced their own twist on the classic afternoon tea so I was keen to try it out. My Instagram profile is testament to my love of afternoon tea, so I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to get a few more snaps.
The restaurant itself is a steakhouse bringing different kinds of beautiful, dry-aged smoked meats to your plates. But since we were here to check out their afternoon tea, my husband was delighted to find out that they offered a Barbecoa afternoon tea version as well as the classic – which would give us the opportunity to try out some of their house favourite savouries. We were excited to swap out the traditional sandwiches and indulge in a Wagyu beef slider, amongst many other delicious-sounding treats.
Inside Barbecoa, we were greeted by friendly staff. The restaurant itself is plush with characterful dark wooden floors and tables with contrasting tan seats that bring a touch of colour.
The gold bar and chandeliers bring a touch of elegance. As we waited for our table to get ready, we sat at the bar. Reading through the menu, I could see that Barbecoa has given the traditional afternoon tea a real shakeup. For something a little lighter than the classic and Barbecoa afternoon teas on offer, there is also the option to order separate small plates of everything on offer, which also allows you to create an even more bespoke afternoon tea experience.
Once our table was ready, we were taken to our table by our waiter for the day, Stephen. Stephen’s knowledge about the tea was tremendously in-depth and I couldn’t wait to try some. I went for a lemon verbena which smelt fresh and tasted refreshingly good. My husband went for the vanilla black, which was naturally sweet, smooth and had a hit of vanilla.
As part of the Barbecoa afternoon tea, we were given a glass of champagne to kick off the indulgence. We sat near the window so the warm light streaming through made it seem like we were sitting in the beautiful garden surrounding the rear of the restaurant.
When our afternoon tea arrived, we were stunned – there was such a wide array of dishes on offer, truly pushing the boundaries of the traditional notion of afternoon tea whilst maintaining the quality and sense of occasion befitting such a special event. We just couldn’t wait to tuck in. In front of us lay our savoury dishes and sweets, the latter of which was assembled immaculately on 3 tiers. The freshly made scones were accompanied by fresh clotted cream and homemade jam.
Following traditional afternoon tea etiquette, we started with the savouries first. First up was goat’s curd with honeyed almonds on a thin slice of crispy cracker topped with a sweet chutney. This was delicious and creamy and the onion chutney brought the canape together. Second was the crab bouche, which was fresh crab meat filled in a mini pastry tart mixed with créme fraiche – simply divine. The third savoury piece was a bitesize cheese and leek croquette. The filling was gooey, complemented by the sweet taste of the leek. The croquette was crispy and was served with a mustard sauce. Our final savoury dish, which we thought we would leave until last was the wagyu beef slider. It really did not disappoint. The beef was tender and juicy, topped with caramelised onions and sat between 2 glorious buttered buns. The wagyu beef worked really well in the burger, adding a creamier texture and providing a real meatiness.
Giving our palates a rest, we sipped our champagne and drunk our teas ready for the next course, which was more of a mainstay of traditional afternoon teas – the beloved scones.
The scones was soft and melted in the mouth. I could have happily eaten that on its own but I was tempted to try out the Ivy House clotted cream with seasonal homemade strawberry and mixed berry jams. The clotted cream was fresh, rich and smooth and worked perfectly well with the homemade jams which brought a nice sweet touch to the moreish treat. The mixed berry jams in particular added a refreshing tarte contrast to the buttery scones.
Even though we were half way through, we were already full so we took a breather as there was no way were we passing on the sweet treats! We started with the strawberry tart which had a thin crispy base, filled with custard and topped with juicy strawberries. What was there not to love? I was in heaven. We the went for the apple choux bun which was covered with a caramelised apple coating with freshly piped cream in the middle. Delicious! Afterwards, we dived into the soft and moist carrot cake topped with an orange cream cheese frosting that ticked every box.
I spun the plate around, revealing a whole host of yet more intricate sweet treats. We tucked into my all-time favourite, the chocolate salted caramel macaron. It was crisp on the outside yet soft and chewy in the middle. The chocolate and caramel ganache melted in my mouth. Next was the French-inspired canelé made from beeswax and honey. It was soft and had a lovely slightly burnt caramelised coating on the outside. Because we had some jam left, I dipped the remaining canelé into the jam and it was a match made in heaven. Next to the canelé sat an indulgent rich chocolate brownie, which had deep chocolate notes but was topped with lighter shards of praline and chocolate as well as a tasty blob of dulce de leche.
With only 2 desserts left, we were really feeling it but we wanted to try out everything as they looked so pleasing to the eye. Next up, to cleanse our palate, was a miniature lemon meringue pie. The lemon brought a nice tangy taste to the sweet egg whites on top. Our final dessert of the day was a toffee panacotta with a blood orange cream. It was refreshing and really topped off the end of the afternoon tea – delicious, sweet and filling.
Filled with delicious treats from start to finish, Barbecoa have perfected the blend of classic and unusual afternoon tea – you will not leave disappointed or feeling hungry! The full list of all the menus featured at Barbecoa in Piccadilly can be found here: www.barbecoa.com/locations/piccadilly.
Barbecoa – Piccadilly
194 Piccadilly, London, W1J 9EX