A French Inspired Afternoon Tea at Bistro Franc.

When I heard that Bistro Franc were looking for bloggers to review their afternoon tea, I thought, ‘Oui, s’il vous plait!’

Nothing excites me more than the thought of sandwiches and cake, so Alan and I popped down at the weekend to sample the French version of this traditional English cuisine.

I had never been to Bistro Franc before and was suitably impressed upon entering. The interior is elegant, chic and refined with a laid-back rustic vibe. Anywhere with chandeliers is a hit in my book and I felt immediately at home and ready to eat vast amounts of French treats.

We were invited to choose either a normal ground level table or what I call a ‘high-up’ seat. You know the ones where you are perched with your feet off the ground so you can feel trendy and observe your fellow man from a superior vantage point?

Alan and I are far too middle aged and physically unstable to deal with anything other than ground-level seating, so we parked our crumbling joints at a cute petit little table whilst the waitress explained the afternoon tea.

I was having the gluten free version whilst Alan opted for the normal, not riddled with Coeliac Disease option. As I hadn’t eaten at Bistro Franc before, I don’t mind telling you that I was a little nervous. Although the waitress explained everything perfectly and said she would also remind the chef I needed gluten free options, life with Coeliac is FULL of surprises and you just never know how your body will react in a new place. You can follow all the precautions you like and still end up a state of cross-contaminated mayhem in the bathroom later that night!

Our afternoon tea arrived on a two-tier shelf unit which was most exciting and diverting. I was gobsmacked by how delectable everything looked. As we say in Liverpool, it was WELL FIT!!

Our waitress explained that everything on my side of the shelves was gluten free and pointed out the shared options that I could have too. Usually I feel very hard done by when eating out with a normal person, but I had pretty much exactly the same as Alan aside from the pastries and mini macaroons. I actually had MORE sandwiches than Alan per square inch of shelf, which was one small step for me, but a giant step for gluten free mankind!

As all Coeliacs have been taught, one must be super-vigilant about cross-contamination of GF food with gluten containing ingredients. As mine and Alan’s food was served on the same shelf unit, I can’t rule out cross-contamination, although there was a good few inches distance between our butties and nothing was touching.

If I’d have known our food was coming on the same shelf, I would have asked for it to be served separately. But to be completely honest, I was blindsided by how delicious everything looked when it arrived and I just wanted to tuck in on the immediate. I’m sure there would have been no problem at all with me asking for separate plates, but I couldn’t wait to start eating and I always feel like a giant pain in the butt sending things back.

It caused my great anguish to even hold off on scoffing to take pictures to be honest, but for your enjoyment and delectation, I let my stomach growl like a blocked drainpipe to bring you these sumptuous images.

For my sandwiches, I had houmous and salad, chicken and a little salmon on toast thing. For anyone asking, yes, that is the correct culinary terminology. I couldn’t finish all my butties because I was more interested in the cakes to be honest. I’ve always been a girl who lives for sugar and I’d choose a cake any day over proper nutrition.

And what cakes they were! We had white chocolate and baileys cheesecake, strawberry vanilla and mint mousse, mango sorbet and creme brûlée. These were suitable for both of us but I had a bunch of grapes to replace Alan’s mini macaroons and pastries. I appreciated the thought, but as we all know, grapes are not from the cake family and maybe a cake that IS from the cake family would be a better substitute? I know I had more sandwiches than Alan, so I’ll try to stop being petulant, but cake is LIFE! Sorry if that's cheeky.There was also a dish of sumptuous thick clotted cream to share.

That cheesecake though! Talk about tres magnifique!! I could have eaten 10 of those on their own. It was easily the piece de resistance of the entire tea. Big kudos to the chef for getting the GF base nice and crumbly too.

We polished off our afternoon tea without speaking. Like Girls Aloud, we don’t speak French, but we were so engrossed in our food we didn’t even have time to speak in English either.

We both agreed that the afternoon tea scored a solid 10/10 and can highly recommend it.

I gave my afternoon tea 24 hours to settle down and I am pleased to report that there were no unfortunate Coeliac bathroom incidents during that time!

If you fancy treating yourself to a luxurious shelf of decent French scoff, Bistro Franc is an excellent option. Just ask for your own special shelf if you are gluten free.

Bistro Franc serves their French inspired afternoon tea every day from noon and it costs £10.95pp or £14.95pp with a glass of fizz.

Thanks so much to Bistro Franc for mine and Alan’s delightful afternoon tea!

Disclaimer - We were gifted this afternoon tea, but all opinions are my own and 100% honest, because I don’t think there’s much point doing a review otherwise!

What I wore - I was thinking of rocking up in a striped top and beret but thought that might be too obvious and c’est terrible. So instead I opted for this slightly less obvious, but still extremely French top I procured from a local chazza.

It’s a stereotype in its own way as I’ve never seen French poodles in love EVER in France, but I enjoy its mignon et lunatique design and felt like I’d made a significant amount of effort. Unless I just looked like a total tete de bouton!!!

Love Laura X

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