FOR me, afternoon tea is only as good as the quality of the scones.

Saying that, even if Patisserie Valerie’s were below par it might not have mattered, such is the standard of their cakes.

I visited the chain’s Bournemouth café for an afternoon tea for two. It was a Saturday, and there was barely a spare table – always a positive sign.

We didn’t wait long before the traditional three tier stand arrived at our table, along with a pot of tea (I should mention at this point that hot drinks are unlimited).

For £12.50 a head, there is no disputing the plentiful offering of finger sandwiches, scones, cakes and other pastries is good value for money. Veggie and gluten free options are also available.

There were two of each variety of sandwich: chicken, sundried tomato and pesto; salmon and cream cheese; spinach, mustard and ham; egg mayonnaise and cress, and the quintessential cucumber.

Although I enjoyed the flavour of the chicken filling, the chewy sundried tomato was not the ideal accompaniment for a delicate finger sandwich with soft white bread.

As a non-fish-eater, I offered both salmon sandwiches to my mum who thoroughly enjoyed the hint of lemon in the fish.

Served with the sandwiches were two mini vegetable quiches. I’ll admit to not being a huge quiche fan but, bias aside, I felt these savouries did not deliver greatly on flavour and were an unnecessary addition.

Onto the scones, the main course of afternoon tea. We were both pleased with the generous helping of clotted cream, as well as the quartet of miniature jam pots – strawberry, raspberry, blackcurrant, and apricot.

Both plain and fruit scones were provided (two of each), and they were the ideal size. You don’t want to get full at this point as the best is yet to come.

Scones can often be too doughy and become claggy in the mouth, but these were light and fluffy in texture and brushed with a golden, buttery glaze.

The top tier was laden with miniature cakes and pastries: two chocolate éclairs, a Victoria sandwich, a carrot and walnut cake slice, a mixed berry mousse slice, and a double chocolate mousse slice.

Each morsel was exceptionally light, with the creamy mousse slices on sponge bases a particular highlight. Considering Patisserie Valerie specialises in ‘lovingly handmade cakes’, it is no surprise this is where the afternoon tea excelled.

For both quantity and quality, afternoon tea at Patisserie Valerie is excellent value for money. You won’t need a special reason to treat your mum or a friend.