Wednesday, 15 August 2012
afternoon tea diaries: maison blanc, henley
as much as i love, love london, sometimes, it can be nice to get away. unfortunately, when your diary's anything like mine (simultaneously hopelessly unorganised and completely jam packed - i'm a serial triple-booker) "getting away" can often only really extend to an hour or so on the train. the maldives will have to wait, but i did manage to visit henley-on-thames a few weeks ago. my super-pretty, super-sarcastic friend pavneet lives there, and i've gotta say i'm jealous. it's a beautiful, sleepy oxfordshire suburb full of character, massive houses, and cute dogs. myself and pavneet were invited to try a little tea at the maison blanc patisserie on the high street (the high street has a space nk. you know you're in good hands). the cafe was packed with families, which gave the place a very unpretentious, friendly vibe - i didn't feel at all self-conscious about whipping out my camera to snap our treats. the staff were really lovely, and the place had this fantastic hubbub to it. not to mention, the cakes were incredible. my only bugbear with the experience was that i'm not sure it's technically an afternoon tea (we didn't actually get any tea, just champagne. such a marie antoinette problem) because maison blanc don't serve anything savoury with their afternoon tea, just cakes. the cakes were delicious, especially the eclair and raspberry millefeuille, but a scone or two or a finger sandwich would have been nice to cut through all the sweetness. that said, this would make the perfect gift for a loved one with a sweet tooth, or a treat for friends to catch up over. for a purist like me, bring on the salmon sandwiches, but for anyone less pernickety, the experience would be faultless. i really can't praise their patisserie highly enough; everything was light, sweet and delicious, the kind of exceptional baking usually reserved for mary berry. except now you can buy it, and have it in a box to take home or eat in store.