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16 April 2018

the camellia cream tea

the rise of the "instagram cafe" over the last year or so is all well and good for the 'gram and for our feeds (who doesn't love a good flower wall?), but when style comes before substance when it really boils down to it, well.. that's pretty shit. it's even more shit when you've given up your diet for the day so you can indulge in a cream tea with your best friend, and the simple bakes just don't live up to the expectation you have set, and leave you wondering why you caved at all. there are few things i will choose to eat the non-vegan option over: ramen, pizza, and a good cream tea; sadly, it wasn't worth the outing when it came to sampling fitrovia's newest cafe at the weekend, because the camellia cream tea at butterscotch tea room was all a bit.. whelming.

the outside of the venue screams "instagram fodder", as do the carefully constructed tiers of baked goods in the window, display of jing tea on the shelves, and undeniably delicious roast coffee smell that hits you as you enter. from there, it's the paper flowers on the white walls and pretty copper chairs that will have all the 'grammers chomping at the bit - not to mention the white and copper marbled table tops - i mean, if we're playing instagram bingo, you've got yourself a full house there, don't you! the staff though, they expect it. we came in taking photos, and they all stood back and waited. they asked if there was something they could do to help the shot. they get it, because that's the aim of the game. sadly it seems, that the actual food is now a second thought when it comes to what makes a good cafe in london, with the venue's "snapability" heavily outweighing anything of substance.

we've all heard how dry and overpriced the cakes at peggy p's are, and how the beetroot lattes at elan cafe aren't all that drinkable, but - despite butterscotch's pretty floral exterior, i had expected for it to live up to it's legacy standard; bea vo - of bea's of bloomsbury's fame, is the brains behind butterscotch's newest venue (the original bakery lives in victoria, while the tea room is more of a pop-up), and in a recent interview with about time, bea was asked to describe the newest tea room in three words. her response: fresh. tasty. memorable.

sorry bea, but - based purely on our serving alone, the majority of the cream tea was not fresh, less than half of it was very tasty, and - while memorable, it was for all the wrong reasons. the mini baguettes of various cheeses and condiments (pesto and hummous to name a few) were absolutely not fresh - the slimy slices of tomato gave that away. and the scones? well, because i've been watching a lot of bake off and know my technical terms, they were in a word: raw. the outsides were hard as rock and impossible to open with only your hands, and yet the inside was doughy and discoloured. honestly, i was so disappointed, i could have cried. i slathered the cream and jam on and ate it anyway, but the scone mixture just stuck to the roof of my mouth and left me a little bit broken inside.

the remaining cakes and treats were all *okay* - with the exception of the white chocolate brownie with meringue top, which was absolutely bloody tasty, and the signature red velvet cupcake which i exclaimed to katy, "it's actually moist inside!" like that's some sort of miracle. no, it's just expected for a bakery tea, i should have thought. the range of jing teas was exceptional, too, and my vanilla black choice was absolutely the right one. it was sweet and sort of milky all on its own, and i devoured a pot alone. i'm not a tea drinker, but it was actually a fabulous pot of tea. in fact, it was probably my favourite part of the whole experience, if i'm honest.

katy mentioned she'd spoken to someone who'd been for tea there the day before, and they raved about the red velvet cupcake, but she couldn't think what else they'd said about their tea - and i wonder why that is; maybe they too were whelmed by it and didn't want to put her off? i hope not. i do actually hope that we were just served some of yesterday's bakes as opposed to fresh ones (maybe they don't bake on a sunday? who knows), and the baked goods are genuinely some of the most tasty in fitrovia. sadly, i won't be going back to find out - i've got my insta-snaps now, after all..

*we were guests of butterscotch tea room, but i'm sure you'll believe that all words are mine.

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