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After I showed my students photos of Bea’s of Bloomsbury’s succulent offerings of sweets, there was a long line of interested eating partners. Fortunately, I was able to secure a booking for six at the new Bea’s of Bloomsbury branch conveniently located a minute’s walk from St. Paul’s station (and the Cathedral of the same name). We were lucky enough to book the Blue Monday Special where you can buy one afternoon tea at regular price and get another set half off, just to help you perk up those malevolent Mondays. Unfortunately, it’s no longer offered, but at £15 a person, this is one of the more affordable afternoon teas in London, with a great location to boot!

When we got there, they already had our three tiers of treats ready, plus an wide plate of sandwiches – and these weren’t your ordinary, prim three-slices-of-cucumbers-on-white; they were baguettes stuffed with premium ingredients including feta cheese, sundried-tomatoes, rocket, and salami.

There was also an embarrassment of cupcakes – six different selections, from Nutella to fruity varieties to pistachio – arranged beautifully atop the white tiered trays. The fruity cakes had the most wonderful light, fluffy whipped frosting.

My favorite was the double chocolate, which was a fudgy, dense chocoholic dream. It seemed gussied up for a ball, too, with its sparkly pink glitter, the fanciest cupcake I’ve ever seen.

Of course there were scones with fresh jam and clotted cream, and also meringues and raspberry marshmallows. All of this was washed down with a wide variety of Jing teas served in traditional silver teapots. You can see my lemon verbena, which was not as citrusy as I expected, in the photo below.

The whole afternoon was lovely and relaxed. Bea’s says they’re a casual patisserie both in dress and service; indeed, sometimes we had to track down our waitress ourselves as we were seated upstairs and the main bakery and checkout was downstairs. Still, it didn’t feel tedious at all; it was rather like having tea at a friend’s house, lounging away the afternoon in a bright sunroom.

Bea’s of Bloomsbury – St. Paul’s
One New Change
83 Watling St.
Cost: £15/person 

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