I spent a most pleasant Saturday afternoon partaking of afternoon tea, a very fine tradition indeed, at the Park Terrace at the Royal Garden Hotel with my good friend Becky. The tea was not only delicious and accompanied by an excellent pianist but also very reasonably priced as afternoon tea goes.
It started with the selection of the tea; we were furnished with a tea list and samples of the tea which was all rather lovely. I’m afraid that I went for English Breakfast tea because I was in need of a strong and hearty tea. I quite wanted someone from the restaurant to ‘introduce us’ to the teas but they just left us alone with them. In hindsight this was probably better and ordinarily I would definitely have preferred this but for whatever reason on Saturday I felt like being told about them.
I’m not sure that there is anything more delightful than little sandwiches and cakes. We were each presented with a selection of sandwiches:
Smoked salmon pinwheel(!)
Egg and cress
Cheddar cheese and chutney (this was definitely the best sandwich)
Roast beef and gherkin
Mediterranean vegetable (unusual)
Tomato (this was also very good, and tasted incredibly fresh)
It was quite a lot of sandwiches and I was very glad that I had only had a small breakfast that day otherwise I definitely wouldn’t have been able to make the most of the sandwiches which were swiftly followed by a mountain of little cakes:
4 raisin and cinnamon scones with clotted cream and either strawberry or plum jam
An absolutely delicious orange cheesecake
A moussey thing that neither of us had room to eat
A chocolate truffle cake
There was another cake featuring pumpkin seeds which was very good but I can’t remember anything else about it. The scones were excellent – they were just warm and wonderfully light and fluffy. They were also a lovely size and the Park Terrace were good enough to pack up everything that we hadn’t been able to eat into a beautiful little box.
I think that there are two things that I would have changed about my tea; I would have swapped one of the sandwiches (possibly the egg, really not my thing) for a cucumber sandwich because they are my favourite, and I would have liked to have been offered a fresh pot of tea at some point during the hours that Becky and I spent there as it was rather stewed by the end. All in all however, it was an excellent afternoon and something that I don’t do often enough.