If you haven’t heard of this Alice in Wonderland-inspired cafe, then you may have been hiding under a rock. But if you’ve heard of Cup in Aberdeen, then I’ll let you off.
The tearoom and cafe has been operating for a number of years now and continues to hit the mark with diners and tea-lovers from around the north-east.
Paying a visit on many occasions, I’ve experienced a real mix of Cup’s sweet and savoury options over the years, always leaving me satisfied.
Having not visited for a while, it was time for a check-up.
At 11am it looked full, but luckily, hidden between the sea of bodies, was the very last table – a table for two.
Seated, my boyfriend and I were relieved we had managed to bag the last seat as we were looking forward to our brunch date at the tearoom on Little Belmont Street in Aberdeen.
We were given the menus and left to ourselves for the next 10 minutes or so. Within that time, I realised that the venue had changed slightly since our last visit.
The familiar, stunning duck egg blue wall with the world map and the wallpaper with the birds and cages still graced the walls, as did the massive traditional clock and the illuminated Cup sign, but the cake and till area had been moved back and shortened, and the station which separates the kitchen and the restaurant had also been pushed back to make room for more tables.
Our cute salt and pepper shakers were in the shape of pugs and we noticed each table had something a little different, including a sliced lemon and two dove birds.
It wasn’t long until our server returned and my mind was back on the food. We ordered and patiently waited for our drinks – an Americano for my date and a strawberry lemonade iced tea for me. The coffee was piping hot. Meanwhile, I poured hot water into a cup with my teabag, then transferred this to a cup with ice, which made it a little difficult for a tea novice to co-ordinate – although, thankfully, I figured it out.
The tea was super-refreshing and had a sharp citrus finish.
It was busy, so we anticipated a bit of a wait, and 20 minutes later our waffles with banana and chocolate and sourdough with avocado and various other additions arrived.
My boyfriend’s waffles looked fabulous, as did my dish. They were presented with a little flag that took inspirations from Alice in Wonderland with “eat me” on it – and he immediately tucked into the dish.
The two waffles were the perfect size and crisp and sweet. The inside was fluffy and the dusting of icing sugar contributed to the sweetness.
The waffles were warm which meant the dark chocolate sauce eventually started dripping down. Slightly bitter, it countered the sweetness, balancing the dish out.
A good helping of chopped banana sat on top and was drizzled with chocolate sauce, too. His only reservation would have been for the chef to have had a heavier hand with the chocolate sauce when plating up. Otherwise it was faultless.
My sourdough bread, avocado, sunblush tomatoes and halloumi dish looked the part, and tasted it too. Having ordered something similar on a previous visit, I asked for a side of the spicy sauce that usually comes served on a different dish on the menu.
The sauce was phenomenal and had a juicy kind of spice to it, due to its thicker consistency. It was pretty spicy but I handled the heat, although my lips were tingling for a while afterwards. The avocado had been smashed and spread across the toasted sourdough bread which had been cut in half.
It was smooth with a few chunks here and there. The tomatoes were delicious and full of flavour and the halloumi wasn’t as salty as I’d expected, which I liked, and was a little creamier but very tasty.
Served with a colourful salad boasting watermelon, various peppers, rocket and red onion, the fragrant flavours that came from it and the vinaigrette dressing on top paired perfectly with the other elements. It all went together and was rather enjoyable.
Spying the cake counter early on, I ventured up in search of something sweet. The Caramac brownie, custard cream cake and Cheshire cat cupcake all caught my attention, but it was the custard cream that prevailed. I got a hot chocolate with marshmallows and cream on the side and my boyfriend ordered a second Americano with a Milky Way crispy roll tray bake.
Both were a real treat and the sponge of the cake was delicately soft and delicious. The tray bake was a chocolate overload packed with pieces of crispy roll throughout. As well as a custard cream on top, I somehow managed to bag a piece with a Jammy Dodger too – and a whole lot of incredibly sweet vanilla icing.
I had one word for it – yum. The sugar rush from my hot chocolate all got a little too much so I had to give up on it, though not before I’d eaten all the marshmallows and cream from the top.
Full up and on a sugar high, we decided it was time for a spot of fresh air and a brisk walk around the town. Paying took no time at all and we parted ways just as we did as we arrived, with a big Cheshire grin and open arms. The staff had been brilliant and our server was especially charming.
A perfect brunch pit stop which also serves up a mean breakfast and lunch offering. With a variety of different teas available served in all sorts of ways, there’s something that everyone can try out, whatever your mood.
Either looking to indulge in something a little heartier or looking for healthier options, the tearoom accommodates all.
A trip to the toilets is a must when visiting if you want to experience the full-on Alice in Wonderland interiors. If you’re looking for somewhere that ticks all the boxes on quality food, service with a smile and a beautiful setting, then this is the cafe for you.