24 Aug Feelin’ Fancy | Afternoon Tea at Patisserie Valerie, Belfast
Recently Belfast City Centre was bestowed the gift of Patisserie Valerie. It is, as far as I know and correct me if I am wrong, the only one in Northern Ireland. And as a big fan of fancy pastries and afternoon tea, I was pretty excited about its arrival.
After finding a great deal on Groupon (Afternoon tea for two for just £19. God, I love Groupon.) I knew I simply just had to try it.
With a window display of delicious looking treats, Patisserie Valerie immediately has a very European feel to it which I love. Belfast could do with becoming a bit more European in my opinion.
My boyfriend & I went on a Saturday afternoon. The place was pretty packed unsurprisingly. By the time we arrived there were only two tables left. If you’re thinking of buying the Groupon deal it says there’s no need to book, so we didn’t but I kinda recommend that you do. Especially if you’re going to go over the weekend.
So, we were lucky to get a table to be honest and it wasn’t the best table really. Beside the door. The café itself was a bit narrow and packed with people, but really, what did I expect on a Saturday? The staff seemed pretty ran off their feet but were really efficient at taking our orders.
From the many, many tables packed into the narrow café, the chandeliers, and the formally uniformed staff, I was immediately reminded of a little café I visited in Vienna this summer, quite a famous one called Café Central. A favourite of many historical figures such as Trotsky and Freud. Oh yeah, and Hitler…
Since Belfast is so different from basically all other European cities, perhaps I’m going a bit over the top here, but you feel like you’re on holiday a bit. Or I at least felt nostalgic about my European adventures this summer by just being there. It was also helped by the fact that we went on one of those rare sunny days in Belfast too.
And now, for the main event: afternoon tea. I was a bit disappointed when I asked the waitress about what herbal teas they had and she didn’t seem to understand me so I panicked and ordered good old reliable peppermint tea. I’m a bit of a sad tea snob you see and was excited to find out what array of teas they would have. The last afternoon tea I had there was an extensive menu of teas. I was hoping for the same sort of set-up.
Nonetheless our tea was brought promptly (and it was really good peppermint tea, Suki tea I believe) along with the three tiered deliciousness of cakes, scones and finger sandwiches.
There was daintily sized egg & watercress, salmon and cream cheese, chicken and pesto, cucumber, and ham sandwiches. My favourite part was the mini vegetable quiche, it was GREAT.
The mini scones and jam were a particular highlight. Warmed to perfect temperature they were delicious with the little pots of jam, butter and cream. I read somewhere that traditionally it was a custom for the nobility to tear their scones and bread rolls open with their hands as opposed to, you know, cutting them with a knife. Interesting, for an activity supposedly so fancy and refined to just use your hands. I cut mine with a knife…
Saving the best for last, the top tier had a delicious array of little dainty sweet treats. They were so cute looking it was almost a shame to eat them. I did though of course. And I definitely ate more of them than Scott did…
Overall, I had a really lovely afternoon tea at Patisserie Valerie. Everything was really delicious. We did feel a like we had to rush out because there was such a long queue of people waiting for a table. I would have liked to sit around drinking tea and watching the world go by. Next time I’ll not go on such a busy day!
Photos by Scott Moore