This hidden gem proves that #phoneeatsfirst can do wonders for the reputation of an eatery, despite the annoyance of many chefs! I first discovered the ‘punk afternoon tea’ on Instagram and decided there and then, through the Hefe filter that I would have to try it.
The Baltic Social is a little off the beaten track, close enough to walk from the city centre (around 15 minutes) but it may be worth hopping in a taxi for those who aren’t too familiar with the area. The restaurant space is on the ground floor of a warehouse conversion on Parliament Street which holds an eclectic mix of businesses including a bike shop. The shabby chic vibe definitely lends itself to the location which has been emphasised through mismatched Goldilocks style dining furniture, worn leather couches and lighting reminiscent of a cosy lounge. The menus are attached to a selection of LP sleeves with the records still enclosed and the toilets are also tiled with floor to ceiling rows of vinyl to add to the quirky atmosphere.
So what makes the afternoon tea punk, you ask? Well that would be the unique way that the Social have flouted the traditional expectations of afternoon tea; dainty silverware, small, elegant give-me-more portions and a hefty price tag are not to be found under their roof. The savoury portion of the meal (and trust me it is a meal, not a snack!) is made up of beef sliders, a miniature hotdog complete with ketchup and mustard and a classic warm BLT on a dinky roll. The sweet section is headlined by a rich, generous slab of a brownie and on my particular visit, a vivid pink and blue iced sponge cake.
A smattering of your favourite childhood treats decorate the tower of goodies, think of Refreshers and Drumsticks as a palate cleanser. If all this wasn’t enough, the maverick of a meal includes side orders of herb seasoned fries, warm pretzels and peanut butter bites. You also have the usual option of tea or coffee, which can be swapped for a bottle of house wine, a pitcher of beer or a jug of the cocktail of your choice for no extra cost. All of the above is priced at a reasonable £16.50.
The Baltic Social combines both style and substance, with the friendly staff a welcome change from other alienating ‘hipster’ spots. If you’re after a fresh take on a festive gathering, I highly recommend the punk afternoon tea, just make sure you book in advance!