Afternoon tea and High tea
Are they the same, similar or different?
Well, nearly two hundred years ago Afternoon Tea became fashionable with the upper classes who would eat around 4 o’clock to stop the tummy rumbles between lunch and dinner; they’d nibble on dainty sandwiches and cakes with an abundance of tea. It would be a relaxed affair in the drawing room on comfy chairs.
The working classes had their Tea after a hard day’s work and so it was a more substantial family meal, and would normally include hot food and meat; basically it was their main meal of the day. It seems this became known as High Tea as it was eaten up at a table, literally sitting high, with Afternoon Tea taken at a low table.
Now to add something new to the story: The High Tea Club has recently opened in Cambridge and they not only serve traditional English cut sandwiches and bitesize cakes, but you can opt for Chinese Dim Sum instead. All washed down with a choice of over 50 teas for the traditionalist (coffee and soft drinks are also plentiful).
I was fortunate to go along to their press event where we were offered both the English and Chinese versions. As we were in a group there was plenty of food to go round, and I got to try a bite of almost everything. 🙂
It’s probably no surprise that the dim sum was what I was most interested in. I like to try new things and whilst I had eaten much of what was there before (prawn toast, spring rolls, etc.), it was the setting – tea cups not pint glasses – that actually made the experience really quite different. And, really quite lovely.
Everything was beautifully served with the traditional English dishes served on a tiered cake stand and the Chinese dishes on stacked bamboo boxes.
Oh, and the tea . . . If you have never had a flowering tea, you must! You’ll be mesmerised by it slowly growing inside the pot. Just make sure you’re given a glass pot, or you’ll miss out. Genuinely beautiful and you can refill three times or more without losing any flavour. I tried the Jasmine Goddess and can heartily recommend it.
I’ll be back soon, and this time I’ll make sure I’m there to see its transition into a night-time venue; you can still get the dim sum, and other dishes, and couple it with a cocktail (or two)!
The High Tea Club is the creation of sisters Danielle and Jessica Xiau. Its location on Cambridge’s ever-popular Mill Road is just a stone’s throw from the train station and a short walk from the city centre. It’s small, but felt roomy enough even when busy. The decor is quirky and very photogenic.
I love Danielle and Jessica’s vision of combining these traditional English and Chinese tastes. It works unexpectedly well.
Bye for now!