The French Tarte, Surbiton - On the Tea Shop Trail
- Credit: Various
Offering a taste of Parisian patisserie, The French Tarte in Surbiton puts on one of the best afternoon teas in the area, says our lady in the know
Originally published in Surrey Life magazine June 2015
Need to know:
The French Tarte, 83 Maple Road, Surbiton KT6 4AW. Open Monday to Friday, 8am-5pm; Saturday, 9am-5pm; Sunday, 10am-5pm. Tel: 0208 399 1123. Web: thefrenchtarte.co.uk
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Opened in January 2011 by husband-and-wife team Sarah and Eric Guignard, who run The French Table next-door, The French Tarte was the first venue I reviewed for this column, back in September 2011. On that visit, I simply tasted a sublime apple slice, which transported me straight back to a Parisian patisserie.
Recently, though, a friend invited me to a birthday Afternoon Tea there, and we were treated to such an incredible selection of French pastries, all served on classic three-tiered stands, that I simply had to share the experience. I should add that my friend invited a couple with baby twins and the staff were brilliant too!
The second branch of The French Tarte opened in Spring 2014 in Teddington and they plan to offer Afternoon Teas there from this month.
The special Afternoon Teas began around the one-year anniversary of The French Tarte. Owner Sarah Guignard explains: “It was something that we had always wanted to do as we felt that at the time there was nothing similar in the local area and it was something special that we would do well.” I have now enjoyed this afternoon tea experience twice and can vouch that the selection of French pastries and scones is superb and one of the best in Surrey.
Among the exquisite pastries is the lemon posset, a set lemon cream topped with shortbread crumble, lemon curd, confit lemon and a mini meringue. And that’s just one cake! Another delicacy is the choux pastry bun filled with hazelnut, poached pears and caramelised hazelnuts finished with a chocolate cream topping. And then there’s the chocolate dome, a light chocolate mousse on a chocolate wafer base, sprayed in milk chocolate.
The pastries are followed by the classic offering of warm scones and jam with clotted cream.
The Afternoon Tea costs £16.50 per person while the Champagne Afternoon Tea is £24.50 per person.
On the menu…
Also on the menu is a range of classic French pastries and cakes and creative savouries – including mini croque monsieurs, mini burgers and mini sandwiches.
“It’s hard to pick our best-selling cakes as our pastry chef, Greg Cadoni, is creating new magic on a daily basis,” adds Sarah. “But looking at recent sales, our carrot cake, our coffee and hazelnut pavé and our white chocolate and passion fruit délice have been huge hits with our customers.”
The French Tarte seats about 20 guests in one sitting and on my visit each table was full. My American friend compared the place to a patisserie in the centre of Paris. The cakes at the counter certainly look worthy of a Parisian patisserie display (and taste as good too!). French-themed artwork also adorns the walls while food gifts such as mugs and cake-stands line the shelves.
The Afternoon Teas are increasingly popular, especially on Sundays and for baby showers and hen parties. The French Tarte also offers gift vouchers for Afternoon Teas. If you want exquisite French pastries for a special occasion, this is the place to go – but don’t eat any lunch beforehand!
Afternoon Tea is available on Saturday or Sunday afternoons by reservation or for parties of six-plus during the week.
Louise Johncox’s parents, Peter and Frankie, ran Peter’s tea shop in Weybridge from 1958 until 2000 when they retired. Louise has written a book about her parents’ tea shop, The Baker’s Daughter, which is out now in all good bookshops (see louisejohncox.com/index.htm)