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Afternoon Tea at Elys Cafe

Home > London > Afternoon Tea | Cafes | Food and Wine | Fun Things To Do | Lunch
by Bryony Harrison (subscribe)
Freelance writer and poet from London; if you would like to read my poetry, please check out my book, 'Poems on the Page', available from goo.gl/Ta4oAX.
Published March 15th 2014
A Run on Scones
elys, cafe, afternoon tea, scones
Afternoon Tea @ Elys


My mum and I had lunch at Elys Cafe the the other day, and on the way out spotted a sign promoting afternoon tea for 7.45. We said that we would try it someday, but little did we know that 'someday' would be the very next.

Two visits to the same cafe in two days? That's a bit overindulgent, isn't it? Well maybe not if you consider that I also had two trips to the dentist in two days. This was my after-treat. Yes, after my appointment with the hygienist, getting all my teeth sparkling clean, there was no other option than to fill them up with little crumbs of pastry and cake. It was the natural thing to do. I mean, I needed something to try my new flossing pins out on.

elys, cafe


We arrived at about quarter to four, expecting to have missed the lunch rush hour. But we were mistaken. In front of us was a long line of women (part of a group), and they were all ordering afternoon tea. The poor staff were a bit overwhelmed by all this, and as a result, service was a bit higgledy piggledy. I don't think they had ever experienced a run on scones before, and afterwards two of the waiters looked at one another, patted themselves on the back and said:

'We did it.'
'Yes, I don't know how, but we did it.'

Well almost. On the menu it said afternoon tea was served with loose leaf tea, but we got a teapot with a teabag instead. Not that we minded. Mum prefers standard breakfast tea anyway, and the teapot we got was huge. Since I don't drink tea, she got four cups all to herself.

As well as the mistake with the tea, we were not provided with any plates apart from the wobbly cakes stands. This was easily rectified as we were able to fetch some from the self service counter.

Once settled, we took a proper look at what we had been given, and I was astounded at the value for money we got. Three finger sandwiches, a scone with jam and clotted cream, a cake, tart, and biscuit. All of these were quite large portions. I expect if we had bought everything individually, it would have cost about 13.

elys, cafe, afternoon tea, finger sandwiches
The finger sandwiches would have been even better if there were more.


To be honest, I think I would have preferred if they had given us one less sweet, and swapped it round for extra sandwiches, because I think the ratio was a bit lopsided. There is also the fact that the sandwiches were absolutely delicious, and in my opinion the best part of the meal. The selection included egg mayonnaise, cheese and tomato, and ham and cheese. If I was being very picky, I would say that the egg mayonnaise could have had some watercress, and that the tomato sandwich have something other than cheese to add variety. But like I said, I'm being picky.

elys, cafe, afternoon tea, shortbread
Shortbread Brownie


Next up, I had what looked like the reinvention of millionaire's shortbread: thick biscuit base, an even thicker layer of chocolate brownie, and on top of that, yet another thick layer of white chocolate. And because it is seasonal, three little candy Easter eggs to decorate. I felt sorry for Mum, who has given up chocolate for Lent, because it was exquisite. The shortbread crumbled and melted in the mouth, the brownie felt like a hug, and the white chocolate was good quality, being not overly sweet.

elys, cafe, afternoon tea, scone
Fruit Scone with Jam & Clotted Cream


While I made my way through this, Mum sliced into her fruit scone. She said it was beautiful, but when I got to mine, I thought the bottom had been over baked and I detected a few burnt raisins. This was, however masked by the jam and clotted cream, which was a beautiful yellow, and very buttery.

elys, cafe, afternoon tea, carrot cake
The carrot cake was over baked, but had a lovely cream cheese icing.


Again, Mum and I had a difference of opinion on the tart and cake. I don't know if this is because I am more critical or I just got some duds. Like the scone, my carrot cake was dry and over baked. If it had less time in the oven; the taste was there, but the texture too dense and chewy. I'm sure it would have been fine if taken out the oven sooner.

elys, cafe, afternoon tea, fruit tart
Fruit Tart could use more fruit and less cream.


As for my fruit tart, there was a distinct lack of fruit; it was full of double cream (which I'm not fond of), and a few blackberries and slices of strawberry. More fruit, less cream please. The pastry was also tasteless, and more just a casing to keep the contents in. I ended up leaving it.

From what started as a fabulous afternoon tea, it did slightly ebb towards the end. To be honest, though, I think it was just bad timing on our part, because of all the orders that had been made. It is excellent value for money, and the small issue of over baking was probably just a one off. It is worth trying just for the sandwiches and shortbread.

If you don't want the whole shebang, then you can also order a cream tea, which is just tea and scones.
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Why? Great value
When: After 2pm
Phone: 020 8946 9191
Where: Elys, Wimbledon
Cost: 7.45
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