Today I visited Bea’s for the third time. Each time I’ve been hoping to try their legendary ‘duffin’ (doughnut cross muffin), but it was not third time lucky and the duffin still evades me! However although there were no duffins in their Bloomsbury café today, there were plenty of sweet treats to indulge in. Perusing the cupcakes I settled on the chocolate and pistachio flavour (I’m a little obsessed with pistachio at the moment, mostly in ice cream, but any pistachio has got to be a good thing…). It was light and moist, though perhaps not intense enough. The ‘homemade chai’ was surprisingly mild, not like the chai lattes I have had elsewhere. Good presentation, other than the table fork positioned next to my cupcake – a small cake fork would have been more appropriate.
One cupcake down, it was impossible to resist the temptation of a second! I had a red velvet, and was a little disappointed when comparing it to the Hummingbird Bakery’s fantastic red velvet cupcakes. The dollop of cream cheese frosting was generous but the cupcake itself was too dry, and not exactly melt-in-the-mouth.
We had a pleasant afternoon at Bea’s; it’s a cosy café/tea room with a good vibe, nicely decorated with comfortable seats and lots of choice. Slightly quirky too, unlike Hummingbird which feels rather commercial and is less comfy. The main downside to Bea’s is that most of their tables are reserved for afternoon tea bookings which is frustrating if you’re going there for coffee and cake (we were lucky, but a customer who came in later was turned away). A good solution might be if they only took reservations for a maximum of 50% of the tables, leaving plenty for walk ins. Their St Pauls café is larger but not so atmospheric, meanwhile their Farringdon location is just a kiosk (and is closed at weekends).
On previous visits I’ve tried their blondie (white chocolate brownie) which was delicious, and the innovative ‘townie’ – a brownie tart (novel, but too dry – I like really gooey brownies, or tarts with a fruit or ganache filling), as well as some other cupcake flavours. Of course, I still want to try a duffin – will have to visit in the morning next time!