February 2017 marks the sixth anniversary of my eating adventures and, as ever, I'm excited about what the coming months will bring for us foodies! In case this is your first visit (if not, welcome back), I'm a 30-something female with a very healthy appetite!...I promise to share with you my experience of each restaurant, café or bar in which I set foot...so, let's go out!


Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Lahloo Pantry - Clifton, Bristol

There's nothing more quintessentially English than taking time out for a nice cup of tea and although I'll put my hands up and admit that forfeiting my mug-a-day coffee habit for a flowery herbal infusion leaves me a little cold, I do happen to love the concept of afternoon tea. Whether it's the dainty girliness of bite-sized edibles washed down with a heart-warming cuppa' (a concept arguably more comforting than a cashmere jumpsuit) or just the excuse to indulge in a pre-dinner installment of cake, it resulted in meeting up with the Best Foodie Friend in the trendy midst of Clifton Village to pay a visit to the newly opened Lahloo Pantry, a 'modern tearoom' withstanding an age-old tradition… 

Date and Time: Sunday 16th October 2011, 14:15 
Name of Establishment: Lahloo Pantry* 
Location: 12 King's Road, Clifton, Bristol 
Reason for Visit: A spot of afternoon tea with the BFF

Kate Gover, the founder of the Lahloo brand, (which incidentally was named after the 19th Century tea clipper aboard which her Great Great Grandfather set sail to far-off lands) has certainly taken her love of a brew to the next level. Developing her range of loose leaf teas for an ever-growing fan base, the next step was naturally to establish a dedicated haven in which to enjoy them. Cue the launch of the Lahloo Pantry; a fresh, minimalistic space set over several levels (as well as a cosy, decked exterior terrace) and unfussy in terms of its décor – a good job too given how intimately the furniture had been arranged meaning that the addition of any chintz would have made it positively claustrophobic. That aside, the important aspects of the venue are attractively placed; namely, the almost-edgy metallic seating in silver and red as well as the tantalising abundance of cakes and pastries adorning the counter which greet you as soon as you walk through the door! Furthermore, the overall ambiance is friendly and inviting; staff are attentive and clearly passionate when it comes to maintaining the ethos of the Lahloo brand. Even the upbeat ditties of The Puppini Sisters* playing out overhead seemed to mirror the venue's concept of celebrating old-school traditions and pulling them into the present; in this case, (if you're not already aware), a current musical trio specialising in 40s-style close harmony vocals.

We came in search of afternoon tea and yet I don't think when Anna Maria Russell, the seventh Duchess of Bedford introduced this concept back in the 1800s, she intended for the feast that the BFF and I shared! And, as we were a little shy of the three 'til five time-frame, we deviated somewhat from the version detailed on the menu (at £13.50 per person) and created our own tea and nibble assortment. There is a rather exhaustive list of teas to choose from and split between a number of categories (white, black, green, herbal, oolong and the mysteriously named pu-erh) it constitutes a difficult choice, especially for someone as inexperienced in the tea department as myself. Consequently, I opted for the Bristol Brew (£2.00) which is basically a traditional builder's tea with patriotic appeal – served in a sturdy metal teapot alongside an earthenware mug, this comprised a good, honest cuppa; simplistic, strong yet warming and all in all, exactly what I was after! The BFF was arguably more imaginative with her selection, choosing the 'Rosebud' (£2.50) which, with the addition of a little brown sugar, tasted rather comparable to Turkish Delight. Described as a 'delicate and serene treat' this tea was beautifully presented in a clear teapot so that you could see the tiny pink buds infusing before your very eyes! Other teas which appealed included 'White Whisper' (£3.00) which combined the tastes of autumn fruits and honey and 'Smoky' (£2.50), a black tea with a sweet and...erm...smoky finish – definitely options for next time!
Perfectly Pink Rosebud Tea
In regards to a little sustenance (although 'little' isn't entirely accurate) the BFF and I shared the tart of the day (£3.50) which on this occasion was an individual Quiche Lorraine as well as a Keen's* cheddar scone which was served with crème fraiche and tomato and chilli jam (£3.50). Both were unmistakably fresh and although the quiche was a tad on the salty side, it was incredibly tasty nevertheless and generously packed with sizeable chunks of good-quality bacon. The scone was the highlight of the visit thus far though with its punchy cheesiness and home-baked warmth – the jam left a slight tingle on the palate and its spice juxtaposed the coolness of the crème fraiche to perfection. Furthermore, although the BFF and I decided against it, you can opt for the house 'three-salad' accompaniment for an extra £2.50. With savouries polished, it was time to indulge in something sweet – light as a feather hand-made macaroons; vanilla for me and matcha green tea for the BFF both of which were just delectable with an initial crispiness which gave way to a sweet and gooey fondant centre.- yum! Lastly, we scoffed an ample slice of chocolate marble cake between us which, we had been informed, was not long from the oven – this was beautifully textured; light and moist but unfortunately, not quite chocolaty enough to satisfy my sweet tooth! And so, by way of our make shift afternoon tea, the BFF and I ended up with what would be more appropriately described as a late lunch rather than a snack intended to tide one over until dinner-time!
Keen's Cheddar Scone
Overall, a pleasant afternoon spent at Lahloo Pantry – amazing edibles and an unsurprising all-things-tea focus that actually established a refreshing change from the usual source of my caffeine fix. I was interested to discover that there was coffee on the menu and yet, cheekily referred to as the 'Has Bean', cannot derive many takers! Even I felt strangely un-enthused by this addition to the menu - although I'm quick to assure you that I wont be giving up my coffee habit any time soon! However, in the event of a return visit, I will be sampling one of the aforementioned varieties of tea that particularly caught my eye. Thus, a triumph for Kate's Lahloo brand and the lesson in tea that her Pantry ensures for even the most sceptical of tearoom converts – it may not coax me away from my usual coffee-laden haunts but it is certainly a welcome addition to Clifton's café scene and an outlet to unite the battalion of tea-drinkers in Bristol!
Cake...anyone?

And now for the second opinion...
The BFF gave the Lahloo Pantry 8/10 and in three words, described her experience as 'bijou', 'fragrant' and 'delicate'.

References:

2 comments:

  1. I have since learned that 'Has Bean Coffee' is a boutique brand (if not still aptly named for the menu of a tearoom) - for more information, see their website - http://www.hasbean.co.uk/

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  2. A fabulous place and wonderful cakes and other scrummy things...delicious..can't wait to go back again soon.Go quickly, you won't regret it !

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