As a very proud Briton I am perhaps a bit ashamed to say that I have never had afternoon tea before. The idea of a traditional afternoon tea consisting of dainty cucumber sandwiches, cream scones, cake and a silver tea pot of British tea just doesn’t do it for me. So, when my brother suggested we meet for a catch up over afternoon tea I wasn’t really looking forward to it, that was until he showed me the menu for the Running Fox.
The Running Fox located in Felton has been an established coffee house for 40+ years and being 24 miles north of Newcastle a short 30 minute drive is totally worth it. We arrived a bit early thinking that parking the car would be a bit challenging in such a small village but there are very little restrictions so it was no problem. The lovely waitress allowed us to be seated early at 11.40 even though we had booked for 12pm. Going passed the delicious looking cake counter was very difficult to draw my eyes away as we were lead up the stairs into the larger seating area of the Running Fox.
On such a sunny day my brother and I had considered sitting outside in the comfy wicker chairs. Instead we had a lovely window table over looking the bridge leading into Felton village where the River Coquet ran through. The rustic yet very stylish upstairs was perfect for the location and theme of the café. The waitress explained the afternoon tea to us which was actually really helpful as this was no ordinary or traditional afternoon tea. To my absolute delight you could create your own combination so no measly cucumber sandwiches for me. Sandwich orders were taken first where my brother took a fancy to the bacon, brie and chutney filling on white bread. I on the other hand chose the Roast beef, stilton and red onion chutney sandwich on brown. The sandwich aspect of a ‘normal’ afternoon tea is my struggle as I don’t eat sandwiches at all except for the occasional hot roast beef bap. We polished off the sandwiches no problem because they were so delicious and fresh. For me the roast beef went perfectly with the stilton and I didn’t miss gravy one bit.
After what I called the first course of our Running Fox afternoon tea we tackled the pie. Yep you read right, pie on afternoon tea (you can tell this place is located deep in Northumberland’s country side). With a choice of steak and ale, mince, corned beef and potato or pan haggerty slices we both couldn’t refuse the sound of steak and ale. A lovely touch which I really appreciated was that the pies came warmed making the inside gravy juices melt around the steak chunks. The thick pastry crusts defeated me as I couldn’t finish them knowing I still had a scone and cake left to eat.
Keeping to some of the traditional themes of afternoon tea, the Running Fox of course offers scones with afternoon tea for 2. The choice of either a fruit scone with strawberry jam and clotted cream or a warmed cheese scone with butter were our options. We wanted to keep to at least something traditional and not just this amazing northern spin so got two of the fruit scones. I actually couldn’t manage to eat mine as I was so full from my enormous slice of pie as well as the sandwich and I wanted to save myself for my sweet treat. My brother commented on how delicious it was though and he said the insides were warm so he knew they had been freshly baked along side the perfect clotted cream and jam combination.
The top level of the afternoon tea stand was purely for our cakes. With the list of sweet and gooey delights being extremely long we found it hard to decide. Lemon drizzle, toffee and pecan and coconut cake were just some of the bakery items alongside cheesecakes, Malteser bites, muffins and Bakewell tarts. My brother chose a slice of banoffee pie which was actually more like a slab. Naturally I had a taste and the banana was so rich in its flavour with the contrast of the sweet toffee sauce and cream topping. Gorgeous! The raspberry and white chocolate tart had caught my eye from the moment we walked into the Running Fox. It was the perfect way to end my afternoon tea. A crumbly yet soft tart base was topped with white chocolate, fresh raspberries and raspberry sauce finished with a dollop of cream and dusting of icing sugar.
For £30 between us both I honestly couldn’t complain one bit. The staff must be used to people asking to take some of their food home as I was given a box for my scone. The whole experience was amazing and with unlimited tea and coffee to wash the divine tastes down it was just the icing on the cake. I also loved that unlimited juice was a further unlimited drink as that isn’t often an option. I really liked this as my brother can’t have caffeine so would have gone for the juice option yet the Running Fox had some amazing caffeine-free teas. This was music to his ears, he chose the unlimited pot of Garden fruit and Herb Rooibos Pure Herbal blend.
My experience at the Running Fox for afternoon tea was spectacular, I left with my stomach feeling more than satisfied (very full in fact) with my box of jam and clotted cream scone in hand and a big smile on my face. If every afternoon tea was offered the Running Fox way there would be no stopping me.