Having been writing reviews for Tasting Britain for some months now, I have been meaning to make more time to work on updating on here. Hence I was really pleased when I was invited to review The Alverton in Truro for National Cream Tea Day today on my own website.
Sitting down to High Tea is a quintessentially English pastime, which sort of feels quite well positioned on the calendar just before Wimbledon starts. I took my Mum with me, which was an rare treat for us both. a food writer by night and weekend, I’m usually busy running communications for small businesses.
Afternoon tea needs to start with tea, right? So, The Alverton use teas exclusively chosen from Cornwall’s Tregothnan Estate, which is just outside of Truro. I asked if I could come and visit in my Tasting Britain role, but sadly they didn’t respond. Anyway, they do make the world’s first true English tea; harnessing the microclimate on the banks of the River Fal.
All of this aside, what did the tea taste like?
We opted for Manuka tea, which is light and fruity, with a citrus nose. Despite being native to New Zealand, Tregothnan have managed to grow manuka successfully in Cornwall. A bit like a yuzu, or a delicately perfumed citrus, this tea was refreshing and tasty.
High tea starts off with some sandwiches. No crust. We had thinly sliced cucumber, salmon and cream cheese, and coronation chicken. Eating cucumber like this reminds me of a Japanese starter. Very thin and simple, with a little salt. The salmon was salty itself, and served on wholemeal bread, which is how I usually have it. These were an excellent start to high tea, and quite welcome after Mum had tried to make soup for lunch.
The Cream Tea
From quintessential England with the sandwiches, we went to quintessential Cornwall with the cream tea. It being national cream tea day, hundreds of people were embracing the spirit of Cornwall by having scones with jam and cream. Of course, in Devon they’d have been having them with cream and jam, but we’re in Kernow now Toto.
Nicely risen, if a little firm, scones, delicious strawberry jam and a quenelle of Cornish clotted cream made this a pretty good cream tea. What made it outstanding was the Tregothnan’s manuka tea, and the delicious extras we got.
After the Cornish cream tea, there was a vanilla macaroon, chocolate torte cake and an amazing pistachio cake, which had the texture of carrot cake, and was moist, tasty and light. Clearly the head chef Simon George has thought about the clientèle and what they will appreciate the most.
There was a small amount of initial confusion, although it was very busy, as the sun was really shining on the terrace. Full of chattering ladies, in their more mature years, it was actually really lovely to see everyone having such a nice time. Once we had settled, the staff were very attentive and polite – even when we moved on to the gin.
They had begin laying up the tables for the evening meal, and were booked up with a wedding and Truro School’s graduation ceremony, so it was business as usual for the staff.
With an overall crisp and sophisticated look, I’d definitely like to see more of The Alverton for review on Tasting Britain. At £15 per head for the high tea, I can imagine sitting outside on the terrace and soaking up the rays again for a high tea as a special treat, or even to meet a client who is new to Cornwall. The staff were friendly, and everything was delicious.
Many thanks to The Alverton staff for inviting us, and making us feel so comfortable.