This was my second visit to Woburn Coffee House, and I decided to take my girlfriend as she was visiting from London. So where better to go than the origin of afternoon tea – Woburn.
The English tradition of afternoon tea was popularised in the 18th century by Duchess Anna Maria, wife of the 7th Duke of Bedford. She entertained her friends at Woburn Abbey, and so the dining experience began; but that’s enough history for this post.
Now first and foremost, if your name is not on the list then you really won’t get your foot through the door. Woburn Coffee House is extremely popular and requires advanced bookings, so make sure you do so in advance and pay a 10% deposit to confirm your table.
When peering in from the outside, this quaint blue building looks small and intimate, but upon entering the building you realise how far back it really goes. There are several rooms including: the front of house, the snug and the orangery which is adjoined to the walled garden (perfect to enjoy a Pimms jug or two in in the summer). The decor is traditional and elegant but contains an airy and light atmosphere throughout.
Our coats were taken away and we were seated at our table for two at the front of house. Our tea and soft drinks order was then taken and we got to choose from a very sumptuous menu. The menu includes a wonderful selection of champagne, prosecco, selected wines and hot and cold drinks. I chose a herbal peppermint tea (£2.95 – included in the afternoon tea cost) which would be served when we got to the sweet section of our afternoon tea. So I decided on a Fentimans Rose Lemonade (£3.45) to get me started with our savoury array, plus it’s the sober equivalent for a pregnant woman to a glass of prosecco. The more bubbles the better!
We chose the Winter Celebration Afternoon Tea (£37.95 per person). This includes a first platter of savoury delights, followed by a five tier stand of sweet and savoury treats and a large pot of tea of your choice.
The first platter contained; a moorish braised pork croquette with spiced apple chutney, a twice baked smoked cheddar and chive soufflé, plus a lightly spiced sweet potato soup topped with crispy rocket. The soufflé was light and fluffy, the sweet potato soup was warm and memorable, but the pork croquette with spicy chutney had the most impeccable taste.
The five tier was then served to us, and on tray one; a salad of confit duck with an orange and honey dressing and a sprinkling of pomegranates, a Stilton and port tart topped with leeks, a bubble and squeak fritter with wholegrain mustard mayonnaise, plus a mushroom pate with smoked tomato chutney.
On the second tray; a double Gloucestershire cheesecake with beetroot chutney and a smoked salmon and cream cheese eclair (or if you’re pregnant, an alternative of beetroot and rocket eclair).
On the third tray, we finally make it to the sweet selection of treats which includes; apricot, honey and lemon thyme scones served with strawberry conserve and clotted cream. The scones are the perfect size, and don’t allow you to get too full up at this halfway point.
On the fourth tray; an autumnal inspired cream cake with blackcurrant poached apples, salted caramel cream and Yorkshire Parkin, plus a winter squash cake with mascarpone and orange cream topped with caramelised hazelnuts (by far my favourite treat of the day).
On our last tray, we were ready to be rolled out but continued to indulge. The sweet treats included; a dark chocolate and amaretto mousse upon macerated cherries and topped with vanilla cream and a langue du Chat, plus a white chocolate with lychee and rose ganache encased in Belgium dark chocolate. This small chocolate is encased in a little bag, so I decided to take this home and indulge on later.
As you can imagine, after reading all of the above we were absolutely famished, but 100% completely satisfied.
The owner of Woburn Coffee House opened the doors during the summer of 2012. The warm and friendly house has quickly become a favourite amongst locals and visitors of Woburn. It’s a great place to celebrate and have a good time, plus enjoy copious amounts of bubbles, tea and savoury and sweet treats. I would highly recommend to anybody visiting Bedfordshire or Woburn. I think I may have to visit again, especially as three times is a charm after all.
To find out more about Woburn Coffee House visit the website here.