Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Review: Boston Tea Party

Boston Tea Party.  A phrase although associated with the American revolutionary events held in the 1700’s regarding tea imports, it is rather quite the opposite when it comes to café culture here in the UK.
Photo:  Word In Veg Ways

Flying high on the back of a café chain in-situ in the south west region of the UK, Boston Tea Party (BTP) have spread their wings to Birmingham and following suit, is the recent(ish) opening in Warwickshire’s Stratford Upon Avon.

Stratford is definitely not short on tea rooms or coffee shops, café culture per se is a must have for those that descent on there week in, week out.  Having been invited to experience BTP myself, I was keen to see how it fared against its rivals.
BTP St Gregory's Hall
Photo:  Word In Veg Ways

Located in St Gregory's Hall Building at the top of the town centre, it isn’t by the river (which is the main hub of the town) but it is by the tourist office and all the souvenir shops so it is still in a ‘buzzy’ part of town but yet not as manic as if you were by the theatres. 
Photo:  Word In Veg Ways

My visit was on a Saturday lunchtime in the heart of the school half-term week, so you can imagine how busy it was!  (Then again, Stratford is always busy).  Skimming a look around the café, it was all very contemporary, accented by smatterings of shabby chic with lots of their corporate blue colour dotted around both across their upstairs and downstairs dining facilities.  There were a lot families dining together and a handful of tourists here and there.
Photo:  Word In Veg Ways

All quite informal, you choose from the menu, make a note of your table number and go to the till to place the order.  The menu is quite varied with Breakfasts, Brunches, Lunches, Smoothies and Cakes (more so than desserts) with a good mix for those who observe a vegetarian, vegan or gluten free diet.
Photo:  Word In Veg Ways

The counter as you approach the till is packed with cakes and goodies so if you are only popping in for a coffee, you’ll have to have some serious will-power to by-pass those pastries!
Photo:  Word In Veg Ways

On the walls around you, there are big boards and posters promoting that they only use free range eggs, organic tea/coffee, 100% organic milk (via Yeo Valley) and free range meat which supports their sustainability mantra echoed within their award plaudits.  To name a few:  Shortlisted for Food Made Good Awards 2016, Large Group of the Year (for ethical sourcing of ingredients and for minimising food waste) and Outstanding Commitment to Sustainability in the Bristol & Bath Good Food Awards.

Milkshakes/Smoothies/Soft Drinks
Photo:  Word In Veg Ways
My Mother dined with me (she never turns down a visit to Stratford) and we both had a smoothie to keep the hunger grumbles away before lunch arrived.  She had the Breakfast Smoothie (containing raspberries, dates, almond milk, banana, chia and maple syrup) and I had the Dark Chocolate milkshake (nicknamed Cut the Crappe <cheeky play on words>) which was made up of: organic Yeo Valley milk, no frappe but instead used avocado.  Mum’s was sweet, fruity and grainy and overall very pleasant.  Mine was gloriously thick but I would’ve liked to have tasted a little avocado than I did do.
Veggie Burger with Tzatziki
Photo:  Word In Veg Ways

I opted for the Veggie Burger.  I asked for no chilli which was honoured and I asked for Sweet Potato Battered Fries instead of chips (again, honoured).   The burger was big, a good mixture of vegetable based ingredients within, it was handmade and tasted fresh.  The Sweet Potato chips were a little over battered for me, I wish they had been just fries, so that’s my only negative.  The accompanying Coleslaw had a level of sweetness which was quite different due to the dried fruit within.   By the end, I had felt like I’d had a good hearty lunch.
Superfood Salad & Chicken
Photo:  Word In Veg Ways

Mum had a Superfood Salad with Chicken which also contained: avocado, mango, radish, sprouting seeds, sugar snap peas, leaves, carrot, nuts and seeds plus extra Sweet Potato fries.    She agreed with my thoughts regarding the batter on the fries, but thoroughly enjoyed her salad saying it was tasty, crunchy, felt healthy and it was well seasoned, plus she mentioned the chicken was very good and fresh.

We had Cappuccinos to accompany our cakes.  Mum had the Carrot Cake and I had the Raspberry Chocolate Flapjack and we shared each other’s.  The coffee was excellent, made to order.  The Carrot Cake was moist and a good size, likewise the flapjack, the chocolate contrasted well to its nutty base.  I was quite full, so I decided to take the remainder of my flapjack home for later – wasn’t going to let that go to waste!

Boston Tea Party is a café with a conscience, definitely wanting to promote its sustainability mission through its food and I think customers appreciate that, I certainly feel that’s a bonus in my eyes.  It’s very much a place to go for hearty fare with a quick turnaround time.  Its menu offerings and casual environment lends itself for family feasting so very good if you have little ones in tow but if you’re after a little escapism from the crowds then perhaps a visit outside of peak times would be advisable. 

I hope to see more Boston Tea Party cafes pop up in the Midlands region in the future.  With their encouraging positive approach to food and the environment, they’re a welcomed addition to the High Street.

Disclosure:    This post has been written following a kind invitation from Boston Tea Party to sample their menu.  This review was conducted honestly without bias and I was not required to produce a positive review.  For further details of my PR policy, please see the Press, PR & Food Writing page of this website.      

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