Sunday, 3 May 2015

Wye: Crown Lodge

A Bank Holiday weekend always involves a frenzy of afternoon teas for me and so roping in some willing mummy and daddy taste testers, we met up at the Crown Lodge just outside of Wye. Formally known as the The Devils Kneading Trough restaurant, it is now under new management as an events venue and has benefited from a complete refurbishment. Having links with The Secret Garden, it opens as an overflow for afternoon tea when The Secret Garden is fully booked. Luckily for us, the May bank holiday was one such occasion according to their Facebook page. A phone call in the morning to book the afternoon tea was made, however if it's just a cream tea you're after you can turn up without making a reservation.
On arrival the gravel drive sweeps into the large carpark surrounded by some mighty Beech trees. The amazing panoramic view is the first thing that catches my eye, even in the murky weather you can see for miles.
Wrestling prams and car seats along with our mini humans from cars, we dragged said prams through the deep gravel towards the building. It's a solemn looking place, huge tinted windows make it look very somber and it's tricky to see in. If I hadn't booked I would have thought it was closed and I would have thought passing traffic may think the same. Finding the right entrance door, we all piled in and were shown to our table by a friendly waitress.
The space is fully open plan with farmhouse style chairs and tables set up with vintage crockery. A few other tables were taken by fellow tea takers and music playing in the background made the atmosphere relaxing. Making our selves comfy and with tea choices made, we admired the breath taking view through the full length glass walls.
My Assam tea arrived quickly in a cute little metal pot along with fellow testers Earl Grey, English breakfast and apple juice. The sumptuous afternoon tea arrived shortly after displayed on a 3 tier vintage plate stand. The waitress took us through the mouth watering selection - 4 types of finger sandwich, fruit and plain scones with clotted cream and strawberry jam, chocolate brownie and meringue, lemon drizzle cake, vanilla and strawberry cupcake with fresh cream and fruit topping finished off with a lemon posset.
Starting off savoury, I devoured my dainty crustless finger sandwiches of egg mayo, cucumber, salmon and ham whilst washing them down with a good cup of strong Assam.
Next we moved onto the scones, loading them high with clotted cream and a topping of jam the Devon way. They were delish, fluffy and of perfect size washed down with more Assam. Next we tackled the rich chocolate brownie with light as a puff meringue. Our teapots refilled we moved on up the stand to the moist lemon drizzle cake, fresh cream cupcake and tangy lemon posset. It was all superbly tasty and I enjoyed every morsel.
Everywhere is clean and it feels fresh and modern. Being part way through a refurbishment they haven't yet got to installing a baby change unit but they were super helpful in putting a padded chair in one of the cubicles for us. Also at the time of our visit they didn't have card payment available so it was lucky that we all happened to have raided our piggy banks before coming!
The Verdict?
Even though this isn't a full time tearooms, they definitely know how to put together a knock out afternoon tea. Coupled with the friendly welcoming staff I will most definitely be keeping an eye out for their next opening. It was lovely to feel as though we weren't being a nuisance with our little ones and all the stuff which comes with them, which we've felt like at a few places previous to coming here. No one scowled at us when said little ones cried for milk and we felt comfortable feeding. Overall a super spot for a pit stop.
Wye Downs
TN25 5HE
01233 812212

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