Sunderland's best afternoon tea? What we thought of tea for two at The Sweet Petite
The name may be Sweet Petite, but there’s nothing little about the afternoon teas served at one of the city’s newest cake shops.
As the towering tiers of afternoon tea were brought to our table, we were warned that no one has been able to polish it off in one sitting yet. Always ones to take on a challenge, we decided to put our waistbands to the test. Here’s what we thought.
The Sweet Petite is one in a number of independent success stories now based at the revamped Mackie’s Corner. Home to Sunderland’s first ever fashion stores in the 1840s, the once popular meeting spot on the corner of High Street West and Bridge Street, is now home to a wave of creatives once more.
The renaissance of the Hutchinson’s Buildings, colloquially known as Mackie’s Corner after milliner Robert Mackie who could be seen making colourful hats in the corner unit, has seen it become a hub of local businesses, including Bou-chique, Cafe 1851, Fat Unicorn, Black Door Hairdressing and The Sweet Petite who opened their first stand alone store after building up a following with their trailer which had a pitch at the seafront last summer.
For the first time since they opened their doors at the beginning of the year, the cake shop was able to open for sit-in custom once restrictions were lifted in May and it’s a charming spot in which to dine.
The theme is Parisian chic meets Victoriana with beautiful plaster coving, reclaimed vintage chairs and a gold antique cash register.
Due to the size of the shop indoor seating is limited with two tables which can serve up to six people and you can order the afternoon tea for up to five diners.
On sunnier days you can also eat cake al fresco on the pavement seating area.
Forget bland battenburgs and soggy sandwiches, this is an afternoon tea which has been executed with real TLC.
There’s a great amount of attention to detail, from the elaborate silver stand where each tier has a ring of teardrop crystals to the kaleidoscope of cakes.
Savouries aren’t an afterthought either. You can each choose a tall sandwich from a choice of either Ploughman's, cucumber & cream cheese or egg & cress, but you also get a substantial slab of mature Cheddar, onion & tomato quiche to boot.
We managed to polish of the top tier with ease, but trying to tackle two scones each was our downfall.
The cheese and red onion scone was a real triumph: packed full of flavour and just the right amount of crumble. The cherry and almond scone, meanwhile, had my sweet tooth salivating as I smothered it in lashings of proper clotted cream.
I also managed to shoe-horn in some of the moreish raspberry macarons before I conceded defeat.
Maybe another cup of unlimited Yorkshire Tea would help me go for round two? But, no, we had to throw in the towel and have our remaining cakes boxed up.
The strawberry and cream eclair, which was lip-lickingly good, was devoured that evening, while a zingy lemon posset fruit tart and a raspberry white chocolate cheesecake was the perfect elevenses the next day.
At £17 each for such a haul, it’s great value for money.