I was very kindly invited for afternoon tea at this quaint little cafe in Beeston, Nottingham. I’d heard a lot of great things about it so I was very excited to be given a chance to enjoy what was on offer on a Saturday afternoon. There is a slight twist to The Flying Goose, they handmake to order based on your dietary requirements and take everything into account be it gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian or anything else, your meal is bespoke to you which gives your experience here a very personal touch. A rather inviting little grey-green painted front greets you along with some quirky decor in the window of bottles of beer, photographs and twigs with pretty lights draped across them. The huge almost floor to ceiling window lets in so much natural light.
Upon entering the cafe, it sort of feels like home. The relaxed atmosphere welcomes you with open arms to take a seat amongst any of the chairs or sink into the cushions along the benches and take in the pleasant photographs across the walls, the decorative teacups lined up so intricately across a set of shelves and the cute detail of the miniature beer bottles used as vases on the tables.
After speaking with the owner, Hilary, it came to light that her son works at the Pheasantry Brewery and actually creates the original blends himself which are available there to enjoy which created such a loving touch and brought the cafes theme together beautifully. In a way, my experience felt like a miniature 3 course meal. To start, a chilled glass of Kir Royale which went down nicely. Such a summery taste and definitely worked up my appetite for what was to come next. Served next was a gorgeous 2 tiered platter of delicate cakes an sandwiches all handmade by Hilary herself which included:
- Egg & Watercress Sandwich
- Cheese & Spring Onion Sandwich
- Carrot, Hummous and Toasted Pine Nut Wraps
- Soya Sausage and Onion Rolls
- Mini Victoria Sponge Cake
- Banoffee Pie
- Raspberry & Vanilla Tart
- Lemon Curd Slice
As the picture above suggests, start as you mean to go on, there is nothing wrong with enjoying a glass of cava or two on a Saturday afternoon!
Let me start with a little bit of a cliche here, you can really taste the love and the passion that goes into these delicate cakes and sandwiches. You can feel the enjoyment that was had whilst they were being prepared and it truly shows throughout the flavours.
The carrot, hummous and pine nut wrap was absolutely delicious. I’d never tasted such a soft and flavoursome hummous before and the crunch of the toasted pine nuts really brought it together along with the sweetness of the shredded carrot, I would never have though to mix those ingredients together inside a wrap.
The egg inside the egg and watercress sandwich was cooked to perfection, it was so soft and fluffy and complimented by the freshness of the crisp watercress.
I’m not really a cheese lover but whatever she did with it in the cheese and spring onion sandwiches was brilliant, I just wanted more and more. There was a slight sweet and savoury vibe going on across my palette and it worked.
Next, the taste and texture of the soya sausage and onion rolls. These were incredible to say they were vegetarian, I had to double check! I actually think they were tastier and I definitely enjoyed the texture a lot more than a regular pork sausage. The added onions added even more to the wonderful flavour so they were an absolute delight to nibble on.
Another cava down and I moved onto the mini cakes before me, presented in a way that they looked as though they were asking for me to eat them. I really wish I’d saved the Victoria sponge for last so I could have savoured every last crumb left on the quintessentially british looking plates. It was so moreish but so light and so YUMMY! The sharpness of the jam mixed with the light sweetness of the vanilla cream was a match made in heaven. The sponge itself, crumbly and soft and moist.
I’ve been converted to a lemon curd fan after devouring the mouth watering lemon curd slice. There was the right amount of crispness to softness and just the right amount of sharpness coming through from the lemony flavour. This was actually a recipe from the Sainsburys magazine by Eric Lanlard who has been vocal about Hilary’s version of them on twitter!
The raspberry and vanilla tart was lovely. Another mixture of sweet and bitter to play with my tatsebuds. I couldn’t get enough of either of the flavours and I thoroughly enjoyed the perfectly cooked crunch of the pastry cup at the bottom.
Last but by no means least, the banoffee pie. One word, incredible. This was without a doubt my favourite thing in the menu. I love a good banoffee pie anyway but this was another level. The consistency of the toffee sauce, along with the tase, was beyond belief. The pastry was again able to provide me with that crunch I craved and housed a sweet, soft banana slice smothered in that wonderful toffee sauce then topped with that delicious vanilla cream.
Of course, another glass of bubbles finished off the delectable afternoon and I have a quick chat with the owner and creator of such tantalising treats, Hilary herself. It turns out the artwork and photographs embellished across the walls and on the handmade cards are actually her own work. As a self taught photographer, which she has taken up as a hobby over the past 2 years, I’m amazed that the standard of her work continues into something outside of food too. They are of the local area, favourite places and captured images from events. These are available to buy from the cafe and are worh every penny too, the photographs are beautifully taken and some have some great edited effects. The cafe which originally started 13 years ago as an art gallery where there was often live music and a few cakes to offer, has changed dramatically but organically. It has naturally grown into the success it is today and I can taste why. Kind of reminds me of that lloyds bank advert with the petrol station and sausage rolls!
I hope my review of this lovely little cafe in Beeston has won you over and you pick up the phone to book afternoon tea for yourself or even turn up and enjoy the everyday menu (see below) that is on offer. You will not be disappointed.