The French Tarte is one of those special little places where you know the food and service will always be top notch. And I want to tell the whole world about it!
I'd often walk past and with my nose pressed up to the window mutter to myself why I've not made it in for tea and cake. So when the opportunity came up for afternoon tea I wasn't shy at expressing my glee. The table was booked for 3pm when we arrived we were greeted by the aroma of freshly baked bread and a warm welcome by Lena, the manager. I melted at the sight of our table laid out with Royal Albert china, Arthur Crupp cutlery and a hand written note saying 'reserved' - I knew then that this was going to be a great experience - I love that feeling of anticipation.
Walking through the small deli into the cafe decorated simply but elegantly with BTC wall lights and pastel coloured walls. Marble topped tables and bent wood chairs - this is a slice of France in Surbiton
First up - the tea. Earl Grey of course, from the London Tea Company. It came in the pot (loose leaf) along with individual tea strainers. This is seriously good tea.
Next came the main event; the cakes, patisseries and sandwiches. The mouth sized sandwiches were enough the kick start the salivation - Christmas Sandwich filled with moist turkey, bacon and real cranberries. Brie, chutney and tomato 'burger' - the chutney is homemade and just the right side of picante and the last savoury was the crayfish belini (very fresh). Quickly, we wolfed these delightful morsels down because we wanted to get to the hand made coconut and raspberry marshmallow - pillowy chewy fun, coconut roche, passion fruit mini tarts (the pastry was thin - good, crumbly and buttery) tasting of actual fresh passion fruit, pistachio eclairs (with pistachio green decoration - very tantalising on the eyes and tongue!), chocolate mousse (white and milk) with a surprising brownie base - scrumptious, Christmas peacan pie - mini and marvelous, carrot and walnut cake - moist fruity heaven, mini 'cornetto' filled with chocolate ganache and sprinkled with raspberry bits.
We were full and we were happy - but that wasn't the end of it. After another pot of reviving tea we had the homemade freshly baked scones, two each (plain and fruit) along with strawberry jam and clotted cream. I had to admit defeat and requested to take mine home - this was not problem at all.
All this for £14.50 it is great value without devaluing integrity and creativity. The service is second to none.
We agreed that this is probably in the top 3 places we had visited and came out above some of the well established high end hotels in central London. We loved our time spent that afternoon so much we went again the following day for a morning coffee (and darn good that was too). The French Tarte - you are truly spoiling us!