Last month I had the pleasure of attending an event hosted by my good pals and blogging superstars, Sheandhem, in collaboration with Bumble at the wonderful Heartfelt Vintage in Bristol. I was feeling significantly under the weather on the day in question but as afternoon tea is one of my all time favourite treats, there was no way I could cancel. Scones had been freshly baked and I had to eat them.
We were going to sample Heatrfelt’s special Christmas-themed afternoon tea so I was particularly excited. I contacted them the week before to ask about vegan options (all of their food is vegetarian as standard) and was delighted to receive a swift response informing me that a vegan tea would be no problem whatsoever.
For those of you who’ve never been to Heartfelt, it’s a vintage clothes boutique and tea shop, run by husband and wife team Will and Kate. They specialise in wedding dresses, which are displayed all around the shop. It’s quite something. A long table was laid for us with predictably beautiful china, tablecloths and cute succulents. The room smelled of freshly baked mince pies and to top it off, snow was falling outside. I was in heaven.
Most importantly, the food and drink lived up to the surroundings. I had a perfect pink pot of Darjeeling tea with soy milk, which was topped up as required. My vegan food arrived on a pretty cake stand, just like everyone else’s, so I didn’t feel left out (not always the case). I had a selection of delicious, Christmassy sandwiches – fig chutney with spinach, roasted squash with walnut and sage pesto, herb stuffing with cranberry sauce and spiced carrot and hummus. Yes, they were as good as they sound! As were the scones with vegan cream. The yellow Mirabelle plum jam deserves a special mention as it was wonderfully sweet and tangy – the perfect accompaniment to the fluffy scones and smooth cream. On top of all that was a mince pie (well, it was a Christmas afternoon tea), a slice of chocolate cake and a piece of orange and polenta cake. Blimey. I was so full after the sandwiches and scones that I had to take the rest home in a box (obviously I thought ahead and took one with me and was very smug about it). I was so happy with how much care and attention had gone into the food. It was apparent in both the look and taste of everything I was given. Many places don’t offer vegan afternoon teas, let alone Christmas-themed ones and it was clear that Kate and Will had really risen to the challenge and succeeded with jingle-bells on.
Apart from the fabulous food and fashion, the thing that makes Heartfelt Vintage really stand out is the exceptional customer service. Kate is warm, welcoming and nothing is too much trouble. She doesn’t fuss but makes you feel really taken care of. Will, who prepares the food, was keen to talk about his menu and is clearly passionate about creating a culinary experience that stands out from the crowd, without being pretentious in any way. They are currently taking bookings for their special ‘Veganuary’ afternoon tea and I have to say, it looks fantastic. If the Christmas one is anything to go by, it’ll be a triumph.
Special thanks to Sheandhem for the invite and for sharing their photos with me.