Review: Punk Afternoon Tea @ The Baltic Social
Let me start off by saying I really don’t like writing something negative, especially about a local business, but sometimes, it just has to be done. I’ve been asked multiple times for an opinion since people saw I had Punk Afternoon Tea in the Baltic Social and I thought the easiest way to address why I wouldn’t be recommending it would be to post about it online,
So last Sunday, along with Martin & six of his relatives, I headed to The Baltic Social for Punk Afternoon Tea. His cousin Laura had been super prepared and had booked it ages ago, way back at the very beginning of June, so obviously it was a date that had been down in the diary for a while.
As we had a few dietary requests; No cheese or sauce for me, no sauce for a couple others, and one vegetarian meal, we made sure we mentioned that as soon as we booked to avoid any issues when we actually turned up. So far, so good.
We’d paid our deposit around 2 weeks before (£5 per person) and arrived at the venue at time our booked time of 3pm. Our long bench style table at the back of the venue was ready and set for tea, after having been notably reserved from half 2. That part was great! There is nothing worse than going to the effort of pre booking a table and still having to wait for your table because they aren’t ready – so Baltic Social, you win some much needed points there.
Let’s just say by 4 o clock, our food hadn’t arrived, and our drinks only just had. It was busy, like I assume most Sundays are, but that clearly doesn’t excuse the lateness. While afternoon tea is often a social event, and one at which we all like an opportunity to greet each other and not feel rushed, being in a very hot, stuffy place for an hour with no refreshments is a definitely not on in my book, especially without an apology, update or price reduction. As a result we all ended up buying ourselves 1 or 2 drinks from the bar due to the wait, obviously not included in the £17.95 PP price tag.
When our teapots did arrive (one between 2 each filled with your choice of cocktail, mocktail or soft drink) we all took a good long drink! Now this is not so much an issue but more of a personal preference BUT, I don’t like that you have to share on your choice of drink. Everyone likes different things and it can be annoying to have to pick something in order to please both of you enough. I think it would be better if everyone just got a smaller, individual tea pot so you can have what you like.
It’s also worth noting that you pay the same price whether you get a cocktail or a mocktail – something I also think should be changed. While I did have a cocktail I’m really not a big drinker, and it doesn’t seem fair that those who aren’t swigging a vat of alcohol pay the same price as those who are.
Just a little time before getting our drinks, the waitress came over and asked about any dietary issues. We we’re kind of a bit like “OH!” when she came over to do this, because we’d mentioned all this a good few times in the months leading up to it, but when the food did come, we didn’t have any major issues although the waitress did mention we had apparently confused the chef with our order. Didn’t realise not putting tomato ketchup on something was complicated but you know..
All the ‘Normal’ afternoon teas (as described by the waitress) were on one serving stand, and the no sauces & vegetarian on the other. A side note is that it would have been nice if the vegetarian option was served separately, as opposed to just being added with all the meat versions…
So each Afternoon Tea platter serves 4, and while it looks very delicious and filling, it doesn’t live up to expectations, no matter how dreamy them instagram filters may make it. The shallot rings turned out to be the size you’d wear around your little finger, and there was also just one each. The food was bland, bog standard, and certainly not the type of thing you’d expect for just a few pounds short of £20 quid. We all thought the brownies were dry, and none of us could manage more than a few mouthfuls of the bubblegum cake which just tasted like E numbers. How about the Popcorn you ask? That only turned up for it at the end after we had to ask for it. However the fries were totally delicious & veggie Kate mentioned she loved how much thought had gone into her meatless mains!
Maybe i’ve just been spoilt with such a good afternoon tea service from Cuthbert’s on numerous occasions, but it certainly still is the place i’d recommend for anyone looking for afternoon tea in Liverpool.
So sorry Baltic Social and your afternoon tea, I wanted to love you, I really did, but we were all left rather disappointed. Everyone else was kind and gave you a 6, but to me, you were a 4, at a push.