It would be something of an understatement to say that I love cake. I am a cake-addict, passionate about baking and consider afternoon tea as my version of going to church. So yes, I have a mildly unhealthy obsession with cakes and when I first came across Eteaket on Frederick Street I was stupidly excited, mostly because of a sign outside proclaiming an amazing concept: take away afternoon tea in a box for £10.95. Takeaway afternoon tea, what a fantastic idea - like the best kindof picnic. As Eteaket does get quite busy around afternoon tea time, it would be perfect for a sunny day and a trip to nearby Princes Street Gardens. However, this being Edinburgh things do not always work to plan weather-wise and sadly this was not an option but as luck would have it, there was a table free for us.
Eteaket is laid out like a traditional cafe cake shop but is so much better. For instance there are a gazillion different teas on offer. There are charmingly mismatched vintage teacups and saucers which is used for service and also available to buy. It's a stylish white modern space with brightly coloured interiors which mixes well with the vintage aesthetic. The cakes on offer are all beautifully decorated and the slices are big.
My choice is seemingly an easy one - afternoon tea. But there is a huge 2 page list of over 40 teas to choose from: fruit infusions, flowering, oolong, black, green or white tea and on top of this tea lattes, coffees and milkshakes. They take their tea very seriously here, and all of the loose leaf tea is available to buy in caddies too. I decide upon the Rose Flower Bloom flower tea which is described as "Premium green tea and rose petals are expertly sewn and crafted together by an artisan skilled in the ancient craft of hand-sewing leaf tea." There's the fun part of watching the bloom open up and the tea is gorgeously rose scented. My cakey companion chooses the Marvellous Green Tea: "Sencha green tea, coupled with mallow and sunflower petals, rosebuds, vanilla, strawberry and raspberry pieces with slightly sweetened, steamed milk." It looks wonderful and white and pure, smells heavenly and tastes a little bit sweeter than expected.
I am definitely sold on the afternoon tea, and my boyfriend decides to butch it up a bit and have a sandwich instead. In a pretty girly cake shop, of all the places! I hadn't even considered anything savoury, having clapped eyes on the cake display. But there is a proper food menu indeed. Breakfast is served until 11:30am with a good selection of croissants, bagels and hot breakfasts. After that is sandwiches, croissants and salads and everything is decently priced, with nothing over £5.95.e chooses the ham, cheddar and caramelised onion chutney toasted ciabatta (£5.75). It comes with a herb salad with balsamic dressing and some crisps, and frankly it looks like a pretty good rival to my afternoon tea.
But to me, there is no competition. Afternoon tea is something to be enjoyed as a ritual. working from the bottom to the top levels with maybe a few cheat nibbles inbetween. The Eteaket afternoon tea consists of sandwiches, a freshly baked scone with clotted cream and jam and some mini-patisserie.
The sandwiches were certainly not delicate crustless bite-sized affairs and were stuffed full of ham, cheese and pickle on soft white bread. They were good but I'd have been happy with just two quarters, and something a little less filling or with a bit more variety would have been nice. Having read some other reviews of Eteaket compaining about the freshness of their scones and cakes I have to say that was not something I experienced at all - the scone was fresh and the patisserie delicious.
Afternoon tea patisserie selection
To be honest, I was not overwhelmed with excitement at the selection I received: a mini cupcake, brownie and honeymoon slice. There was absolutely nothing bad about it however (and perhaps I'm just being a bit spoilt), it just seemed like a rather plain selection. With the cost at £11.95 however I can't really complain - it really was excellent value and very much enjoyed. Now I just need to wait for the weather to clear so I can enjoy my takeaway afternoon tea in a box picnic...