Review – Blackbird Tea Rooms
I have travelled across the country in a never-ending quest to find the best English afternoon tea. In the heart of the Lanes, on two storeys, Blackbird is the perfect pre-war tea rooms with its panelled walls, white tablecloths and chintzy bone china. Lovely details make it inviting and fun – the uniformed waitresses, cakes displayed in antique glass cases and a sideboard heaving with vintage tea tins. Upstairs, the patterned wallpaper, Oriental rug and fireplace really give the sense that you’ve stepped back in time to take tea in someone’s front room.
Visiting with two young children, we ordered one Afternoon Tea (£14 each) for me and one for the kids to share. At Blackbird, this comprises a fruit scone with jam and cream, a pot of your own choice of tea, and a selection of sandwiches and cakes. For me, afternoon tea hinges on the quality of the scone and, thankfully, the ones at the Blackbird Tea Rooms on Ship Street were exemplary.
Big enough to sail across the Channel on, the scone was perfectly baked and delicious when slathered in clotted cream and raspberry jam. The selection of sandwiches was great and included such classic combinations as a refreshing cucumber and smoked salmon, and a winning cheddar and ham.
The cakes suffered a little from, I feel, being petit fours masquerading as cakes. However, the quality was so good I didn’t mind. Highlights included the lemon meringue tart’s crisp pastry, the dreamy chocolate cake pops, perfect raspberry meringues, unusual but refreshing pineapple custards and the most mouth-watering, superbly crafted macaroons I have had for years. And the best part? All the cake are homemade on site. I was bowled over, putty in their hands.
The service, though a little forgetful, was sweet as a cake pop. The tea was a lovely English Breakfast loose leaf that went down a treat, although a top-up would have been nice. This is the third afternoon tea I’ve had in Brighton and the best by some distance.
I will be back here as often as I can. I left feeling very smiley, and that all was well with the world.
Words and photos by Sam Redfern.
Blackbird Tea Rooms, 30 Ship Street, Brighton BN1 1AD. Phone 01273 249 454 or visit their website