Escape the madding crowds with a Christmas afternoon tea at Cheadle’s hidden gem, Oddfellows on the Park.
Just a stone’s throw from the seasonal bustle at Cheadle’s John Lewis lies an oasis of calm, with the comforting chink of bone china teacups on saucers, the soft footsteps of well-trained staff and cake stands piled with delightful, miniature, Christmas-themed cakes.
Oddfellows on the Park lies at the end of a narrow, rhododendron-lined driveway into Bruntwood Park. The property dates from 1861 when it was built as a home for a family of cabinet makers and merchants. Since then it has had diverse uses, including most recently offices and before that, film studios and the local town hall.
But behind the grand, Victorian Gothic facade any potential stuffiness is tempered by the playful, humorous interior decoration and the relaxed, friendly welcome. Some of the more quirky interior accessories include a chandelier constructed from bicycle chains, BMX handlebar ‘antlers’ and some very unusual portraits adorning the walls.
Tea is served in the magnificent Galloping Major restaurant where service is crisp and attentive. The name is a reference to the fact that one of the building’s incarnations was as one of the greatest equestrian studs in the North.
The wide selection of teas is from premium loose-tea brand, Quinteassential. Choices include Breakfast tea, Earl Grey, Garden of Eden (green tea), White tea, Rooibos, Mint and Caramel and Chai.
Served on a modern, tiered cake stand, the food arrives – dainty finger sandwiches on the lower level, working up to scones on the middle and cakes on the top.
Fillings in the dainty finger sandwiches are smoked salmon, cheese and red onion and egg mayonnaise. Christmas themed sandwich fillings are being introduced over the coming days, including turkey with stuffing and brie and cranberry.
The impressively towering jumbo fruit scone, fresh from the oven, is served with generous dollops of clotted cream and strawberry jam alongside.
The trio of Christmassy cakes are the main event: Gingerbread macaroon, Baileys and pistachio cheesecake and a Chocolate and orange miniature Christmas pudding. All are beautifully made and will doubtless feature on the instagram accounts of many diners wishing to boast about/share their experience.
The Baileys cheesecake is shaped like a Christmas tree, complete with tiny gold stars and dusted with pistachio crumbs. The miniature Christmas pudding is a cake-pop style chocolate cake with an orange cream filling, dipped in dark chocolate and decorated to mimic the traditional cream topping and holly garnish. The chewy gingerbread macaroon is Christmas on a plate.
Oddfellows provides an oasis of calm, minutes from the A34 but surrounded by parkland. Afternoon tea here provides everything that a traditional posh British teatime should, from starchy white tablecloths and impeccable service to pretty, featherlight sandwiches and cakes, all served with lashings of tea (or something more sparkling).
We can’t think of a better way to get Christmas started.
- Traditional afternoon tea (Christmas tea) – £22ppn
- Tipsy tea – £32, includes a tea-themed tipple from the cocktail menu
- Sparkling tea – £26, with a glass of prosecco
- Prestige tea – £32, with a glass of Perrier-Jouet Grand Brut Champagne.
Luxury Cheshire were invited guests of Oddfellows on the Park. Our reviews are always honest and impartial.