(AD) Nestled in the small village of Thorpe Salvin, on the border of South Yorkshire and Nottinghamshire, stands The Parish Oven. After a wet and windy walk around Clumber Park, Eleanor and I made the 10 minute drive to The Parish Oven for Afternoon tea with a twist.
I had been invited to review the Themed Afternoon Tea on offer for February, inspired by the Six Nations Rugby and featuring a mixture of signature dishes from the countries competing. The themes change monthly so keep an eye on their social media for upcoming themes.
The venue is gorgeous. A large car park at the front meant we didn’t have to run in the rain to get to the entrance, there are plenty of spaces.
I believe the interior has recently gone through a refurbishment and my goodness it is gorgeous. There is a separate bar and dining area and the decor is beautiful. The long bar is the focal point as you enter, but the restaurant area is my favourite part. A light grey, cream and teal colour scheme runs through the venue and I love the feature wall with various photographs in an array of frames. The pendant lights hanging from the ceiling are very pretty and give the space a warm, welcoming feel. I also love the use of different style chairs across the restaurant; from painted wooden seating to crushed velvet booths. There are a mix of large and small tables, each nicely spaced out so you shouldn’t hear the neighboring tables conversation (unless you really wanted to!) The kitchen can also be seen from some parts of the restaurant which I always love. I like to watch chefs work.
We were seated and asked what we wanted to drink (Boe Violet gin with an Elderflower Fever Tree tonic for me and a pint of lemonade for Eleanor) and then awaited the Six Nations themed afternoon tea.
I genuinely think we both gasped as it arrived! We did not expect it to be so large, and so beautifully arranged.
The afternoon tea arrived on a picnic bench. The seats housed the savoury dishes while the table housed the sweet treats. This is the most amount of food I have ever been given for an afternoon tea, and possibly the best presented.
As the theme is 6 Nations, each dish represented one of the countries; England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, France and Italy.
We were treated to mini fish and chips, leek & potato soup, smoked salmon blini, ham & asparagus spirals, mini spaghetti bolognaise and a goats cheese & tomato salad.
The fish and chips were incredible – thrice cooked chunky chips and a light, crispy mini piece of fish. Both piping hot fresh from the fryer and honestly big enough for a kids meal! Although deep fried, the fish wasn’t in the slightest bit greasy and was beautifully crisp. The wedge of lemon was fab too. I asked for some tartare sauce and this arrived promptly. I think it may have been homemade tartare as it didn’t look as though it had come from a jar!
The leek & potato soup was delicious. Thick and creamy and well seasoned with chunky crispy croutons, this was the perfect sized portion for a taster.
The smoked salmon on the blini was lightly oak smoked and really refreshing. I don’t eat cream cheese so I just picked the salmon off the top. I can’t comment on the whole dish but if you like cream cheese I am sure you will love it.
The ham & asparagus spirals were one of my favourites of the whole afternoon tea. Wrapped in delightfully buttery pastry, the ham had a strong smoked flavour. The asparagus was perfectly cooked and easy to eat (even with my brace!)
The mini spaghetti bolognaise was again delicious. I removed the grated Parmesan off the top and on to Eleanor’s dish (again it isn’t something I eat) and with a little crack of salt it was perfect. There was a lot more of this dish than I was expecting, with chunks of minced beef in a delicious tomato based sauce and a fair few strands of linguine too.
Lastly was the goats cheese & tomato salad. Again I removed the goats cheese (and gave it to Frenchie to munch on). The salad consisted of scrumptious sun blushed tomatoes, red onion, cucumber and salad leaves. Personally I would have preferred a dressing on the salad as I don’t eat cheese but it was a refreshing accompaniment to the rest of the savoury dishes.
Again themed around the 6 Nations we had a variety of sweet treats to round off the Afternoon Tea. These included Welsh cakes, Raspberry Cranachan, apple cake, tiramisu, creme caramel and a cute little bottle of ginger beer. These are a little more tricky to review as the desserts were very dairy based and if you read my blog you know that I can’t really eat dairy without it making me ill. I should say now that I did not inform anyone when booking of this, I wanted to see how it would arrive to a typical customer, rather than someone with dietary requirements. I did try everything in the selection for fairness, so here are my thoughts.
I have never had Welsh cakes before (despite visiting Wales on numerous occasions) and are similar (if flatter) to scones. They are sweet, stodgy and delicious, but I am English and would have loved some jam to accompany them. Sacrilegious probably!
The raspberry cranachan is another dessert I have never tried. A traditional Scottish dessert of oats, whisky, cream and fruit, all layered together. This was my least favourite, purely because of the cream. I loved the oats and the fruit but it was a little overkill for me. Eleanor on the other hand practically licked the glass clean, really enjoying it.
The Apple cake was absolutely delicious. I believe this is the Irish dish, however it reminded me of the apple cake I had in Holland. Large pieces of juicy apple were prevalent and it was dusted lightly with icing sugar. It was lovely.
Next up was the tiramisu. This was too creamy and coffee-y for me, however it was beautifully presented and I did eat alllllll of the lady fingers and thoroughly enjoyed it. By this point we were unbelievably full but for the sake of the blog we continued!
Creme Caramel was the next dish we tried, a classic French dessert. it was unbelievably indulgent and the caramel sauce was delightful. The flan part was again too creamy for me but Eleanor loved this too. She said it reminded her of home and was delicate and tasty. Unfortunately it just isn’t for me.
Last up was the mini bottle of ginger beer. This was the perfect end to a lovely afternoon tea. Refreshing and invigorating, the warmness of the ginger cleansed the palate and left us feeling a little less bloated than a few moments before. Afternoon Tea is available with 24 hours notice so make sure you book!
By the time we had devoured the savoury layer, we were well and truly full. Both of us regretted diving in with such vigour when we realised we were about to explode and still hadn’t got to dessert. The afternoon tea was presented beautifully and there was so much food. At £14.95 per person it is ridiculously good value for money and something I would not hesitate to purchase for Mothers Day, a birthday treat or even just a day out with the girls. In all honesty I would have paid the £14.95 just for the savoury items, at that price the sweets were an added bonus. Although some of the desserts weren’t to my personal taste, there was more than enough choice for me not to have felt short changed had I paid for the experience. I will definitely go back for another themed afternoon tea. I will also return to eat from the main menu as it sounds delicious and has gluten free, vegan and veggie options too. The staff were friendly and weren’t intrusive. They checked on us once and then left us to enjoy our tea. The venue is gorgeous and I am already looking forward to seeing what the afternoon tea theme is in March!
Thanks to The Parish Oven for inviting me to review in return for Afternoon Tea. Although this was complimentary, the views are my honest thoughts on the experience.