A very good friend of mine is about to have her second baby, a baby girl and is fast approaching her due date. For her first baby we threw her a surprise low key baby shower in an Italian restaurant. Wendy isn't a fan of a big fuss but she is a fan of afternoon tea so I decided to do the same again and surprise her.
Afternoon Tea is definitely the 'in' thing at the moment and as a group of friends, we have sampled many over the last few years. Something very civilised about sitting down with your best pals for a chinwag and a cup of tea, served in a china cup of course.
The search began for a venue, there are so many wonderful places to choose from but just as I was deliberating, my friend posted this blog North East Family Fun and I was sold. Perfect location also as a lot of the girls are local to Morpeth.
I emailed the pub via their website and got a swift reply from the manager. I was incredibly impressed, especially when he offered me a private room for our event, free of charge. The whole booking process was efficient and quick, I was extremely happy at the service I received. I even received a booking reminder a few days before the shower with all our details on it.
On arrival I thought St Mary's Inn was beautiful, it is set in a new housing estate on the outskirts of Stannington Village and is on the site of the former St Mary's Hospital. It is a large building and I love how it has been preserved. The staff were wonderful I have to say, quick to greet us and extremely friendly, I was shown to our private dining room which was ideal, there was one big table laid out in traditional style and there was plenty of light and space, would definitely book that area again. The whole pub is lovely throughout, there are lots of nooks and crannies which mean you will more than likely be able to find a private area. They also have a lovely beer garden which we intend to take advantage of in the summer! I was extremely pleased to see quite a few dogs about, having 2 myself it is always lovely to see our four legged friends allowed in.
Our waitress was brilliant, there were 13 of us altogether and she coped extremely well with all of our requests including changing some of the sandwiches to ones which suited people better.
The tea itself was delicious, it was served on a two tier wooden stand and it looked mouth watering.
Sandwiches were generously filled on lovely soft, white bread with fillings of salt beef and mustard, cheese and pickle, egg and cress and prawn with marie rose sauce. Absolutely delicious, I love a good sandwich and these did not disappoint. We had 3 scones each! a fruit, plain and a cheese scone served with clotted cream (as they should) and home made jam.
The cakes were a perfect size, we had a lime and vanilla macaroon, rhubarb pavlova, a chocolate brownie and an apple and almond tart. Our waitress kept our tea and coffee topped up throughout and by this time we were all pretty full so the barman provided us with plenty of boxes to take our excess scones and cakes home which I thought was a nice touch. Nobody wanted to waste a single bit.
We spent a wonderful few hours at St Mary's. I thought the pub had a lovely, warm and welcoming atmosphere and the food aromas from other diners definitely confirmed that we need to go back and try it. We were made to feel very welcome, nothing was a problem and I wholeheartedly recommend the place. Try it, you will not be disappointed!