Last year Bristol Old Vic revealed its massive refurbishment of it’s front of house, which now hosts an area known as 1766 Bar and Kitchen, a nod to the date it’s beautifully revealed original theatre façade dates back to. Open daily from 9am (11am on Sunday’s) with closing times varying – but generally at least an hour after the end of most performances – 1766 boasts a theatre inspired menu offering everything from your morning coffee right through to dinner. It also proudly uses a variety of local suppliers, which are displayed right behind the bar. (Somehow this plonker failed to get a picture of that – so you’ll have to trust me!)
They’ve recently relaunched their Afternoon Tea menu, so when invited to give it a go, naturally I just had to – and my bestie Jen was more than happy to oblige as my plus one! Requiring booking 48 hours in advance and for a minimum of two, 1766 will take a £5 deposit, redeemable against your bill, unless you fail to meet their cancellation terms. (Which by the way I wholeheartedly support – especially when you read tweets like this from incredible Bristol businesses like Pasta Loco).
You have the following options available:
Cream Tea @ £7.95 per head
Signature Afternoon Tea @ £17.95
Sparkling Afternoon Tea @ £21.95
We went for the Sparkling option – however my bubbles were of course of the non alcoholic variety – the team very kindly arranged for me to have elderflower in a fizz glass so I didn’t feel left out! I’m happy to report though that Jen has absolutely no complaints about the Prosecco (in fact, she ordered another, so it must have been good!)
Included with both the Signature and the Sparkling offerings is a pot of Canton Tea. Of course I’m not just pregnant, I’m a fuss pot that doesn’t drink tea, but the team were once again very happy to oblige (humour!?) me and I was served this beautiful and delicious hot chocolate as an alternative. Jen went for the Peppermint tea, which was also a hit!
Of course, what we were really looking forward to, was the main event! And here it is in all its glory. Presented a little differently to your ‘standard’ Afternoon Tea, in a square receptacle that’s split into sections. We moved it to the side once we’d devoured everything, and in hindsight perhaps we should have done this sooner as due to the height it did look as if Jen has a metal moustache for most of our visit!!
The sandwiches were first on our hit list – and as a result totally missed getting an individual photo of these as I was hungry and forgot (doh!) I can tell you they were cucumber and cream cheese on granary, and they were nice, but unfortunately they weren’t really representative of the rest of what was on offer as the bread had started to dry out a little at the edges. Think perhaps they had been made too early?
Whatever disappointment I had over the sandwich swiftly disappeared when I popped this bad boy in my mouth – because oh my gosh was it heavenly!! (Actually salivating as I type at the thought.) But what is it? It should have been Severn & Wye smoked salmon and smashed avocado on brioche, but the kitchen thought I couldn’t eat smoked salmon (NHS says I can – but actually I’ve gone off it) so I had crispy bacon in mine. WOW. I’ve not had bacon and avocado in absolutely ages and damn did it taste good. And the mini brioche was perfect. So now that’s all I want. Husband are you reading this???
Next up was goats cheese, rocket and caramelised onion wrap, purple as it was a beetroot wrap. I’m not the biggest goats cheese fan, and caramelised onions for me are to be eaten with sausages… So I gave it a go, and it looked very pretty, but I can’t honestly give you a verdict. (Jen literally hates goats cheese, she thinks it smells of goat, so not even like I can defer to her on this one!)
Then it was onto the joy of the sausage roll. The quality of the meat was immediately evident and it was delightful in my mouth. I could have eaten ten, and I really need to investigate if you can purchase larger ones of these throughout the day at 1766, if you can’t, then you definitely should be able to…
And so we moved onto sweet, and the scones! Now the menu does say sultana scones. I don’t think I tasted any sultanas. There also don’t appear to be any visible. But maybe I had an iffy scone? That said, it was a great consistency, still warm (yay!!), we had a choice of strawberry or raspberry jam and there was plenty of cream. I was a little sad that I couldn’t have Prosecco with it (scones without Prosecco to me is kind of sacrilege) but I still really enjoyed, and now think scones, cream and jam needed to be added to my hospital cool bag list (along with the Prosecco, chorizo and Parma ham. Yes I intend on having a hospital cool bag for the impending birth of my child. Priorities!!!)
Next up on the sweet treats was the chocolate éclair with crèche Chantily, almond macaroons and lemon posset with blueberry compote. All were delicious, although the lemon posset was the surprising standout for me, I’m usually all about the chocolate but this was the perfect lemon pudding – sharp citrus notes but fabulously creamy. That said I did pretty much inhale the éclair!
In the words of Vanessa Williams/that Bisto advert (if you’re old enough) I saved the best til last. Chocolate and salted caramel mousse. An actual layer of salted caramel on the bottom. Cream. Honeycomb pieces. I thought I’d died and gone to chocolatey salted caramel heaven. Do I wish it had been a little bigger? Yes because I’m gluttonous. Did it need to be bigger? Absolutely not – it was a delightful end to a really well portioned Afternoon Tea, I was very satisfied but didn’t have that horrible bloat afterwards from having consumed too much!
Overall (despite the slightly dry sarnies) we really enjoyed. There’s clearly a lot of thought gone into the new Afternoon Tea menu, most elements were spot on and I love that they’re supporting local businesses. Its a really beautiful bright open space that has been sympathetically restored and the use of glass at the front lets in all the light and creates a great vibe. Added bonus they were happy to cater to all our dietary requirements and made sure I didn’t feel left out, plus we had some banter!
As I mentioned earlier, I was invited and our meal was gifted, but this has not swayed or influenced this post in any way. No one at 1766 Bar and Kitchen has been able to view or approve this content prior to me publishing. Usually I’d get hubby to check for typos, but he’s busy, so any typos or factual errors are all on me this time…
Where: 1766 Bar & Kitchen, Bristol Old Vic, King Street, BS1 4ED
Thank you for reading!