A tradition starting in the early 1800s, the concept of afternoon tea has been around for over 200 years. Though not still in the daily routine, it’s still sometimes enjoyed on special occasions. Recently I heard from my mum that there was a cafe in Old Overland Park that did afternoon tea. Teresa, the owner of the bakery, is from Hampshire in South England so when she bought the cafe in May of last year, she decided to add some English influence. Being from London, my sister Katharine and I decided to check it out.
Located between a liquor store and a quilting service, Clock Tower Bakery doesn’t look like much from the outside. The inside however is decorated with cute little signs with British flags and a large poster of London occupies the left wall. The layout of the cafe allows you to see the whole kitchen, which I found interesting to watch the bakers at work.
As I walked in I knew immediately where to sit. There, amongst all the other wooden tables, was one that contained a white tablecloth and set with floral china cups and saucers. This traditional set up for English afternoon tea had to be for us.
There was a menu set on our table with the different choices of hot drinks, ranging from fruit teas to Earl Grey. We ordered our favourite tea, the standard English Breakfast tea, and very quickly a huge teapot came out.
A three-tiered stand was soon placed at the end of our table displaying a variety of food. The bottom layer was the savoury tier and consisted of cucumber, egg salad and chicken curry sandwiches, vegemite (an Australian spread) pinwheels and sausage rolls.
The sandwiches were nice but they were nothing spectacular. What stole the show however were the vegemite pinwheels and sausage rolls. The miniature pastries were flaky and delicious. The sausage is spiced by the bakery and they do it perfectly to be flavorful, but not overpowering. The buttery crust of the pinwheels was fantastic.
The top layer was my favourite. It hosted two large, golden brown scones, and little bowls with clotted cream and strawberry jam.
The scones were the next layer to be eaten and they did not disappoint. Cutting them in half, Katharine and I both reached for the clotted cream first. We were always taught to do cream first and then jam. Some places in England do it the other way, however. I bit into the scone and it is as good as I could of hoped. The clotted cream was sweet, the scone crumbly but the outside slightly crunchy. It tasted like home.
Finally, we ate the center layer that held blueberry and vanilla macarons, lemon bars, millionaire shortbreads and profiteroles (a pastry ball filled with cream). I immediately went for the millionaire shortbread. It’s a layer of shortbread, topped with a layer of caramel, topped with a layer of chocolate and it is amazing. This one in particular used dark chocolate instead of milk. It was still delicious. Katharine and I split the vanilla macaron, and it was better than I expected. I have never been a massive fan of macarons but this one was perfectly sweet and chewy.
The two of us were completely stuffed when we finally called it quits and we still had a lot of food left. The bakery owner came over for the second time during our meal to talk to us and ask us how it was. The service was a good balance. During the meal I felt like I could ask for something if I needed but at the same time I didn’t feel crowded by the staff.
All together the meal was $30 for two people which though not cheap, I’d say was definitely worth the money. There was easily enough food for an extra person and the quality combined with the experience made it a really memorable time.