Sweetness to balance the antipasto...


Olivia’s Coffee House

Village Lane, Washington NE38 7HS

AMID the gloom that followed the announcement of the second lockdown, there was one thing that perked me up.

With this edition looming, our Eating Out page would have to become an Eating In version again, but this time I knew exactly where I was going.

Olivia’s Coffee House in Washington Village had caught my attention back in the summer when it started offering take-away afternoon teas as a way to beat the first lockdown.

Village regulars will know Olivia’s, on the corner overlooking the village green…

At that point in the year almost every man and his dog was flooding social media with afternoon teas for delivery, but among the scores of images featuring a few bread buns, pork pie, scone, piece of cake and a handful of crisps, Olivia’s looked on a different level.

I’m not lying when I say I’ve mentioned them several times in the past few months, wishing I’d had a chance to get one, so this lockdown it was top of my to-do list.

For those not familiar with Olivia’s, the coffee shop has long offered a variety of afternoon teas of all themes, shapes and sizes as part of its menu, with its kids tea parties a huge hit.

The full tray in all its glory at collection…

I’d been in for the odd scone or slice of cake over the years but hadn’t got round to an afternoon tea yet, so when I saw the takeaway trays I knew it was something I had to try.

Olivia’s Facebook page is updated regularly and usually reminds people every few days what’s available – the breakfast brunch trays also look pretty tempting and we do plan on sampling one of those once we start delivering this mag to homes!

One of the options was the Luxury Afternoon Tea, priced at £14.95 per person and this one looked amazing, offering a selection of finger sandwiches, cheese scone and butter, a slice of quiche, slice of corned beef pie, mini antipasto, fruit scone with cream and jam, a Terry’s Chocolate Orange brownie and a slice of Ferrero Rocher cheesecake – and two Ringtons English Breakfast tea bags.

From sandwiches to brownies, what more could you ask for?

We ordered the day before via Facebook and arranged to collect it from the shop. Collection was a doddle and it comes in a sealed tray which is really easy to transport home.

I’ve always been a savoury person so I like an afternoon tea where there’s at least an even balance, if not more savoury to sweet and this was perfect. 

It came with four different sandwiches – egg mayonnaise and tuna mayonnaise in nice size buns and then cheese savoury and ham in traditional triangles.

Antipasto to balance the sweetness…

All four were delicious. There’s no scrimping on the fillings and you can tell straight away these are quality ingredients – in fact I was almost full on the sandwiches alone.

The quiche was lovely and cheesy and tasted home-made, as did the cheese scones and the corned beef pie was fantastic  – it tasted just like my mam’s, which is the finest accolade I can give.

The antipasto pieces made nice little additions, slices of nice cheese, salami and grapes were nice to graze on as we picked our way through what we quickly realised was a lot of food!

By now we were full so had to give it a few hours before we came back to the sweet part of the tray.

The scone made a nice light treat with a cup of tea, topped with cream and strawberry jam – the addition of a piece of fresh strawberry just gave it a nice little extra lift. 

Sweetness to balance the antipasto…

Onto the brownie next. This was nice, a lovely sharp chocolate frosting gives it a nice edge and our slices came with wedges of white Chocolate Orange on top which were very sweet but nice.

It was the next day before I got to the Ferrero Rocher cheesecake and it didn’t disappoint. Creamy on top with a lovely, crumbly base, it had just the right amount of richness to hit our sweet tooth – it even comes with a whole Ferrero Rocher on the top which is an added bonus!

I have to say, 10 out of 10 to Olivia’s for this. It really is a great treat and I’d certainly recommend it. There are other teas available at different prices but this is definitely worth the £14.95. 

There’s loads of food, it’s all beautiful quality and unless you’ve a huge appetite,  you’ll easily get at a couple of sittings out of it.

*This article originally appeared in Issue 6 of Washington Way magazine. Prices correct as of November 2020.