‘Spirited away’ at Victoria Made’s Japanese inspired afternoon tea
Looking back now to Victoria Made’s afternoon tea at Home Ground Kitchen a few days before the current lockdown, the whole afternoon seems like a delicious languorous dream. The rain was pouring outside, but inside lights were dimmed, candles lit and the ambience soft and intimate. Throughout the tea the film Spirited Away (Studio Ghibli) was projected silently on the wall, which added to, rather than detracted from, the Japanese-inspired experience.
The savoury course
PICTURE: Pasha Milburn
And what an experience it was! This five-course occasion began on a sweet note with a sparkling rosé and cherry blossom ‘Sakura Royale’ cocktail served before the savoury first course. The savoury platter consisted of succulent Yakitori chicken (or tofu) coated in a sticky flavoursome glaze, delicate home-made Tsukemono (Japanese preserved pickles) and a crunchy salad. The highlight, though, was the delicious sushi, handmade by Ai (of Stooge Coffee) and James, who also run the new Sumisu Ramen nights at Home Ground on Wednesdays.
Third course of the afternoon tea
PICTURE: Victoria Watkin-Jones
What followed I can only describe as ‘dessert euphoria’. Each patisserie was finished with a high level of care, while deftly incorporating different Japanese flavours and techniques. One of the highlights for both my partner and me was a sublime cherry blossom panna cotta layered with sake jelly and cherry compote. However, I must also extend high praise to the rich and decadent chocolate, sesame and miso caramel tart, tender crumbed matcha and pink peppercorn cupcake (filled with a sharp raspberry compote and piled high with creamy Italian meringue buttercream), and the fluffy adzuki peanut praline marshmallow. The final course was a deliciously creamy plum ice-cream served with a salted crystallised ginger biscuit and a glass of plum wine. To round off the evening, on our exit we were given miso and hazelnut truffles to take away.
The whole afternoon was a truly special experience, made by a skilled baker who clearly loves what she’s doing
For fans of the traditional dainty afternoon tea of small bite-sized morsels and finger sandwiches, there was, perhaps, slightly too much food. However, what I couldn’t finish was packaged up and enjoyed later on. The whole afternoon was a truly special experience, made by a skilled baker who clearly loves what she’s doing. For those who enjoy well-made desserts/patisserie with complex flavours, I would highly recommend booking a table for the next Victoria Made event.
Victoria is a self-taught baker who, after working in various hospitality jobs and then, briefly, as a public sector manager, started to make wedding cakes amidst the cupcake craze in 2011. She found herself in the luxury wedding cake realm, making cakes for venues such as The Ritz, The Berkeley, Old Naval College and even a wedding cake for the Sheik’s daughter in Abu Dhabi! Prior to the pandemic, Victoria began to move away from the luxury wedding cake scene to focus more on baking for local venues, such as Home Ground Kitchen. She plans to develop the ‘Afternoon Tea’ into a more regular event. For Christmas, Victoria will be doing three delivery drops over December of iced centrepiece cakes, a rich chocolate bundt and boxes of delicate mixed patisserie. She will be collaborating with Home Ground to offer takeaway cocktails to enjoy with the desserts as well.
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