Review Number Eight

8) The Wayside Cafe – Dartmoor

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Can’t believe how long it has been since I’ve gone out for a cream tea. I was at it at least once a week before the summer heat glazed in. I guess I’ve had a season of anti-overkill. I needed to give my addiction a rest. I needed a cream-less recovery, I was rehabbing from jam and I had scone cold-turkey.

(See what I did there? Aren’t I funny?)

Anyway, after a many, many months of avoiding this Devonshire delicacy my friend Becca decided enough was enough. She has always been my faithful scone eating companion and it was her brilliant idea to end my lent.

So, off in her new car we went, to have a refreshing jaunt around the moorish country sides of Dartmoor. The only place that has realised it’s actually November (everywhere else in Devon hasn’t quite got that particular memo yet). We were greeted with an unexpected wintery breeze and a lot of waterlogged soil.

I have always loved the dramatic landscape of the moors and there is nothing like a hike up a Tor to get your appetite going. We managed to clamber up two Tor’s before our bellies started to grumble… slightly… and I found animalistic pleasure in journeying through the heather and jumping over all the boulders. I was the braver of the two (of course); I battled the hellish winds to stand on top of the large conglomeration of rocks while Becca remained dignified on the sheltered ground.

I almost got blown over doing the super man pose! It was terribly scary for everyone involved…

Sure it was.

Yeah… Becca just laughed at me and once I had regained my balance I scarpered of those rocks quicker than… well… a slow moving person… it was a pitiful escapade.

As was the picture that was taken! I looked nothing like superman… all that fear and effort for a picture that looked like I was just pushing an invisible rock. Super.

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After that we decided it was time to seek warmth and nibbles. So hopping back in the car, with moist boots, we made our way to Widecombe. A quaint village with gift shops, cafes and an awful lot of sentimental value, for me anyway. This was the place that I transformed from girl to girlfriend and being back there without my Bandicoot felt like a sordid affair.

‘AH WELL! SCONES ARE A CALLING! I’M SURE MY ASHY WILL FORGIVE ME!’ were my hungry, hungry words when we drove into the car park.

Luckily ‘our’ cafe wasn’t open so Becca and I sought refuge in the one next door; The Wayside Cafe.

It was nice.

Nice?

(Yeah I know… what a blasé word to use, but it really was the epitome of nice.)

In few more simple words – it was clean, warm and open.

I kid, let’s get into the details! The room was like an elongated village hall, the wooden floorboards made every sound echo and the large pane windows allowed the last dregs of sunlight to flood in. If it didn’t remind me of a school canteen so much, it would’ve been really quaint. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t the worst vibe in the world, I just had that haunting feeling that if I spoke too loudly a teacher would come rushing in to tell me off. I’m sure if they replaced the brown plastic chairs and vinyl tablecloths that would all change. The service in there was lightening fast though; I can’t deny how attentive the staff were in there. Our cream teas were in front of us almost as soon as we had ordered them and it wasn’t long before we were tucking into them too.

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So… time to get back into serious reviewing mode, man it has been a while, time to look over the old ‘scone-scale’ me-thinks!

On a single plate of blue china they had served all three ingredients. The scone; warm and of a decent size, was settled next to two generous helpings of cream and jam. Never before have I experienced such a liberal act. Usually these condiments are presented in pots or miniature jars but here they had simply scooped them up and plonked them on the plate alongside the bun. Saves on washing up I’m sure, but I couldn’t help but feel this was an act of anarchy…

Allowing these dollops of pleasure to roam free-range on the earthenware, liberated from the confining vessels of glass and bone china, certainly danced a messy dance on my expectations. I’d make a great speech maker wouldn’t I? Haha!

It was different and after many months of forgoing this treat I didn’t feel disappointed. I felt content and reasonably full afterwards, the tea definitely made my chilly hands feel better (even if by the second helping it had gone weak and grey, seems to always happen to us doesn’t it Becca?) They were tasty little morsels, the perfect balance of crumbly and moist which I liked very much and they were warm… WARM!!! Nom nom nom…

*Continues to nom until the nomming subsides.*

It wasn’t the best scone I had ever tasted but it certainly wasn’t horrible either. It was good (Back to the simple words eh?) Once we both visited the school lavatory… I mean cafe toilets… ahem… we went on our way, driving off into the dwindling sunset whilst boogieing along to a Now Hits CD.

It was a triumphant return, one that inspired me to get back on the old reviewing horse, I shan’t ever forget it.

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The photo’s will certainly help! (Hope you’ve noticed my face in this post… I am truly embracing the fact that this is MY blog now! I’m the one in the puffy maroon number… just in case you didn’t quite cotton on…)   

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Finally, an actual review of a Cream Tea

1) The Three Crowns of Dartmoor

When I envisage a cream tea being served I tend to always expect round floral plates with orbiting pots of jam and cream scattered around the table. The jam would give some vibrancy to what would otherwise have been a pastel scene. This delightful pub however, has altered my expectations and has impressed me with their ability to change what is usually considered quaint and elderly into a decadent treat.

They served my cream tea on a silver tray. A SILVER TRAY. With thick luxurious napkins and lopsided fashionable pots for the cream and jam; it was a terribly fancy display. But, and this is a big but; once you get past the initial sense of awe and wonderment you soon see through the extravagant facade.

Let me put it this way – the average Joe’s in this world (me being one of them) likes to see some girth when it comes to their money and where they spend it. I like to see the value in the price that was paid and, what I had paid for was basically for all the washing up they’d have to do after the ‘show’. Their attention was obviously misplaced. The Jam was strawberry, (and no they did not give me a choice) it was lumpy and in my partner’s opinion there was not enough of it. Cream was local which was nice to see but again there was not enough of it. But the Scones, the Scones was where the real disappointment lay – yes they tasted amazing, yes they were the perfect fluffiness and texture and yes they were freshly warm but they were pitiful. It was a lucky thing we decided to have a sandwich there as well. They were so small… and I felt like I was wasting my money every time a tiny spattering of crumbs hit the table.

The price of feeling like a Princess cost us a filling and rewarding Scone. The only consolation is that they gave us plenty of tea and overdosed us with their smiles and camaraderie.

So, if you don’t want to feel like a complete and utter fatty and want to be treated like royalty then I definitely suggest you go here; because that is exactly what you’ll get… just mind your purse strings.