Afternoon Tea at The Pump Room

Right by Bath Abbey and in the same building as the Roman baths is The Pump Room. Breakfast, lunch, and of course afternoon tea is available here; and we visited recently to try out their afternoon tea.

Famous patrons have visited this fine establishment, such as Jane Austen, and even Charles Dickens performed here several times.

As we walked in, I heard a party state they were there to check things prior to a wedding – so I guess you can even hold weddings here.

Atmosphere

This place was lovely and quite grand, with a large chandelier hanging in the middle of the room and a little fountain near one of the windows.

You feel there’s a lot of history in this place. I was a little surprised – and quite pleased – that you didn’t need to dress up to enter.

We were seated at the front of the dining room near the stage and soon after the food arrived a trio of musicians played live classical music. A pianist, violinist, and cellist played waltzes as we ate, which created a calming – though somewhat surreal – environment.

The tea set was simple and reminded me of bath tiles – rather fitting considering where we were.

Savoury

When we visited The Pump Room the savoury treats we had were:

  • mini cottage pie tart;
  • cheddar rarebit;
  • coronation chicken brioche; and
  • cream cheese, cucumber and smoked salmon sandwich.

These were really interesting and tasty savoury treats.

The salmon sandwich was still warm and was the first sandwich I had in a while that had three layers of bread!

The mini cottage pie was very delicate and moreish. This was mine and the hubby’s favourite.

This was the first time I tried rarebit and it was pretty good, very delicate and tasty.

The coronation chicken brioche was my least favourite of the savouries but was still pretty decent. I hadn’t had brioche in a while so appreciated that.

Sweet

Next was the sweet plate – usually my favourite tier.

First up was the almond and strawberry tart, which was so light and delicate and really moreish. The hubby dislikes almonds but even he said he really liked this dessert.

Next up was a puff pastry. I was expecting this to be creamy, but it wasn’t at all, which is a good thing for me and turned out to be better than I expected.

Then there was a macaron, which I love. I couldn’t quite place the flavour though and neither could the hubby, but still tasty nonetheless. I usually like afternoon tea places that have macarons – you just can’t go wrong with a good macaron.

I did see other sweet plates of afternoon tea where there were other colours (and therefore other flavours) of macarons. I would have liked to know the different flavours or perhaps be given a choice of flavours to select from – I’m just a macaron fiend!

The last dessert was a chocolate mousse. This was light but I found the white layer of the mousse got a tad sickly for me and took me a little while to finish. I felt the other chocolate layers were much tastier.

At this point I was pretty much stuffed. But there were two scones waiting for me still: one plain scone and one fruit scone, along with strawberry jam and thick clotted cream. No choice provided whether you wanted all plain or all fruit scones, but one of each is usually expected.

The fruit scone was easy to cut, not too crumbly, and had a lovely glaze on top. Unfortunately they weren’t warm, which would have made the scones tastier, but I enjoyed them nonetheless.

Verdict

Lovely atmosphere in a lovely building, with great savoury food, and pretty decent sweet desserts. It was nice, if a little unsettling at first, to be serenaded so closely by the trio of musicians. But I don’t mind listening to a waltz when eating afternoon tea.

I’d definitely go back to eat the savoury plate, and although the sweet plate was very delicate and tasty, I’d like more variety before returning.

I was actually surprised by how much I liked the savoury plate, it definitely makes a mark to serve non traditional savoury sandwiches – and they were so moreish too.

There was a small selection of teas available, which didn’t bother me, as the standard teas were there. Perhaps if you like trying specialist teas, then you might be a little disappointed here.

Of course, The Pump Room offers other meals too. We didn’t try them, but we did see pizzas leaving the kitchen. Though I’d say I saw more sandwich tiers leaving the kitchen, so a lovely place for afternoon tea. I’d definitely like to try other savoury meals from the menu, considering how much I enjoyed the savoury plate.

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