In the heart of one of London’s most iconic landmarks, Westminster Abbey, is the Cellarium CafÃƒÂ© & Terrace.
Located where the Benedictine monks used to store provisions and wine (hence the name itself), today it’s a welcoming space where visitors to the Abbey as well as the general public can enjoy a drink and hot food in what is surely a unique, historic setting.
It is set over two floors, the one below in the actual, ancient cellars of the Abbey while the newer part upstairs is a bright and spacious area with some outdoor seating and views of the famous roofs of the church and behind, the Houses of Parliament with the Union Jack flapping in the wind.
Foodepedia was invited to try the Christmas Afternoon Tea, which will be offered in the Cellarium Cafe by Benugo, the well-known food and beverage company which has restaurants in other famous heritage locations (such as the British Museum). The menu offers a variety of savoury and sweet items, all classics and with a festive twist.
We began our tasting with the savoury, which included a trio of sandwiches (our favourite, a smoked salmon and celeriac remoulade, a well-seasoned Coronation turkey and a cucumber and caper one, which in our view had a tad too much butter).
The stand-out piece was however the Brussel sprouts, melted onion and Stilton mini quiche, which had the crispiest pastry ever and a subtle yet intense filling which could convert even the staunchest enemy of the festive sprout.
The second tier of the cake stand introduced the sweet selection with a number of cute, mini desserts: an iced Christmas cake, a delicate chocolate coated gingerbread star and two tartlets.
The latter’s pastry cases were as good as the quiche’s, one filled with a light and beautifully flavoured orange custard and confit clementine (our favourite item of the entire menu) and one with mince pie filling and crumble topping (quite original and very pleasant).
Finally, two cranberry and sultana scones, clotted cream and a rich, slightly boozy Cointreau and cranberry conserve by Tiptree which really elevated the well-baked, but otherwise a little ordinary, scones.
The Christmas Afternoon Tea will be available at the Cellarium Cafe from 27 November until 21 December. At £21.50 per person (£25 with a glass of Prosecco) it offers great value for money in what is e an impressive setting especially with the festive atmosphere.
The entrance to the Cafe & Terrace is through the stunning 13th Century cloisters, via the Dean’s Yard and is easy to find.