The Search for the Perfect Afternoon Tea | Doubletree Hilton Leeds

Hi All,
Exactly a year to the day yesterday I discovered and enjoyed my first afternoon tea! I know, who could believe I got to 24 without trying this idea of designing a meal time around sipping tea.
For one of my best friends Christmas/Birthday present, I took Miss Curtis to the Double Tree Hilton in Leeds, a 5 minute walk from the station and only a hop skip and a jump from one of my favorite restaurants in Leeds – Fazenda.
I booked in advance but was surprised to find only one sitting available, noon! But not to worry, we were enjoying tea and each other’s company so that’s all that matters. The Doubletree allow you to book up to 90 days in advance and I can understand why, if it’s good enough for Claridges it’s good enough for them. (Cheeky smile)
We arrived by train, with only a short walk, literally 5 minutes, and took the elevator to the 13th floor. The elevator door opened and the sound of hoovering wasn’t exactly the greeting we were expecting, along with staff rushing to clear away the breakfast selection.
We were greeted by a lovely host, sorry I didn’t get his name but of the two gentlemen hosts he was the one not wearing glasses. He showed us to our table, situated at the window.
The menu listed was priced at £19.95pp. There was the option for unlimited prosecco for a further £13pp, a standard glass at £5 or a glass of champagne for £8. It was a Sunday so as good as unlimited prosecco sounds it’s never wise when you have to get up at 6am the next morning to complete your Couch to 5K. We were celebrating though, the upcoming birthday for Curtis, so Champagne had to be consumed, if only to be pleasant if nothing else.
For those of you interested I wore my Christmas present, my orange Hermes stole with a black low drop vest dress which I overlaid with a black velvet skirt. Make up simple because I’m not one for over doing it on a Sunday.
Hannah looked beautiful as ever in a floral top and jeans teamed with over the knee boots and a leather jacket. Oh, on that, I wore a denim jacket, just in case you wondered.
And my nail varnish is Pink Pixel by Orly, which was also the nail varnish of choice for my wedding. And for those who like a good thick polish it’s amazing. A little goes a long way, and it’s great as a cover up nail polish as well as being pretty.
Back to the afternoon tea..
Once we made our selection this box of goodies arrived, slightly after the champagne which allowed us to feel not rushed.
 
Verdict 
Chloe | Curtis
Slow cooked salt beef with red onion marmalade on granary bread
“Very pleasant not sure it was granary bread tho”
Applewood smoked cheddar and apple chutney on granary malt
“I really liked it and I’m fussy” 
Prawn cocktail wrap with Marie Rose sauce and baby Gem lettuce
“Surprising really good and really enjoyable, glad I got two”
Oak smoked salmon on a toasted croute and micro cress
“The worst savory option, I think it didn’t add anything-swap this please”
Carrot cake with cream cheese frosting
“My favorite”
Apple crumble tartlet
“I don’t like apple crumble but I like this”
“Not the best to be honest but the pastry was nice, very tart”
Triple chocolate brownie
“My favourite”
“It’s very rich”
Famous Grouse cranachan shot glass
“I like this, not really sure what it is but I like it. Can’t taste the whiskey tho”
The Cranachan shots contain strawberries which are a big no-no for me as I’m allergic, so for this they substituted Caramel Flapjack. I was impressed they did this for me as I hadn’t forewarned them before we arrived so I didn’t anticipate getting an alternative sweet.
“Chewy and sweet-perfect combo”
Scones
“Super scrummy”
“I love the sugar on top”
“Its pink inside” 
“There massive”
Ok so let’s break this baby down;
Myself and Curtis agreed this was the best yet! But it did have some small and easily solvable niggles..I mean it would be a quick search if this was 100% perfect right!?
Positives
The Scones where massive and fruity and crumbly and pink in the middle. And the dusting of sugar on top made them extra scrummy. Plus they were still warm when they arrived so it was incredibly fresh!!
The service was impeccable-nothing was too much
The care and consideration for a Strawberry allergy
Neutral
This is both a positive and a negative. Why? Well I appreciate that every Restaurant, eating establishment etc has to keep moving with the ever changing clientele, but listening to someone Hoover is never something you want while eating.
But if that hadn’t of happened the buzz and the ambience was top notch. It was casual yet sophisticated, formal yet relaxed. Like pairing a blazer and jeans. If you get my meaning
Negative
For a table for two people sipping champagne or just drinking tea the size of table would suit, but for the serve ware that comes with afternoon tea an extra few inches all the way round the circular marble table is required. There was too much shuffling of plates, and because the stand for the food sets such a presence and it’s rather large and bulky, it practically cut the table in half. But that really is my only main critique. That and you can always have more clotted cream. But given the 4 pots of tea we consumed, I can’t see an extra pot of cream would’ve been a problem.
Bravo Doubletree very impressive take on the Afternoon Tea.
Cx

The Search for the Perfect Afternoon Tea | The Midland Hotel

Hi All,
It’s that time again, time for a taste of Afternoon Tea. The search is still on and the search continues to be tasty!
 
We travelled to Manchester to the Midland hotel for a beautiful Bride, Katie’s hen do – number 2! 
 
The Midland hotel is a beautiful Victorian red brick building and the interior does the building justice. 
We were seated just up from the foyer as there was a wedding happening in the Tea Room which was lovely to see.
The 10 of us were seated and the champagne and cucumber water was delivered with style and grace. 
We had pre-selected the Royal Afternoon Tea(menu below) which was price £32 including a glass of fizz. 
 
The menu had one change, which was the Scottish Strawberry dessert but that suited me #allergic 
The food arrived swiftly and was beautifully presented on three cake stands along the table. 
So let’s break the savoury part down.
Of the five sandwiches I enjoyed 3 
 
Ham
Chicken & Sweetcorn 
Beetroot & Goats Cheese
 
I handed out my Duck egg and Smoked Salmon
 
Feedback; 
Ham – nothing out of the ordinary, a good ham sandwich 
Chicken – a very delish brioche chicken bite
Beetroot and goats cheese – an extremely surprising and delish combination! So pleased to enjoy two (I had Gemma’s)! 
Duck Egg – it tasted no different to a normal egg 
Salmon – would’ve  been nicer on a white bread 
The blushing bride, and ready to eat cake! Katie I hope you don’t mind you’re in this blog!
The midland blend is a lush brew and I throughly enjoyed it extra weak and black…of course. The service kept it flowing and that ticked a lot of boxes.
Now let’s talk desserts. So, I normally eat the sandwiches, then cakes, closing with the scones but this time it got a little muddled, but hey..
 
My favourite hands down was the Passionfruit meringue; perfect pastry and uber light meringue. 
The green mouse thing that had replaced the strawberry had a texture which wasn’t to my palette but the apple flavour was present and correct.
The chocolate ganache (delish) is every chocolate lovers dream; rich, smooth and very chocolatey…just a little too rich for me.
And lastly the Pistachio cake, personally, was extremely delish but as it was so crumbly a nightmare to eat like a lady.
 
Now to my favourite bit; the scones. The area I feel the midland need to improve is distribution, you can’t give the plates to one end of the table for them to be passed down..this is a no no. And I am not fond of the silver service jam deal, like just put the pots on the table and I’ll help myself when I’m ready. 
Sorry, not to be too negative, the scones where moist and delishious and the plum jam was not too shabby either. 
Like most, The Midland offers a ‘take away what you don’t eat’ service and let’s be honest, this tops them all when it comes to the box.
 
Everything was nice but nothing was like OMG! I do prefer the savoury option to be a mixture of warm and cold but this is stepping away from tradition. And becuase of the scone distribution it felt a little like we were being rushed but I don’t for a minute feel this was intentional. 
 
Pros: 
Plenty of Tea 
Beautiful surrounds 
 
Cons: 
The jam should live on the table 
The price 
Scones distribution 
Rush – maybe
 
Score 7 out of 10 
 
 

The Search for the Perfect Afternoon Tea – The Garden Kitchen

Good evening All,

I hope you’ve all had a fab weekend and are looking forward to the week ahead. 
Today I visited The Garden Kitchen with one of my best friends Hannah, it was a special afternoon as not only were we there to eat cake but it was also Hannah’s birthday. 

We arrived at half two for our booking, you are able to book online and they ask for a £5 deposit, they also ask if there are any birthdays in the party, which in our case there certainly was. 

After arriving, we had a wonderful view of the nursery from our table, shame about the weather.

We had a glass of prosecco each and waited to be delighted with what was about to arrive. Before it did I was asked what milkshake I would prefer over the strawberry drink which comes in a mini boot. I decided on raspberry. 


The picnic benches arrived, one each so I didn’t end up eating strawberry jam. Very considerate. 

On our benches was, watercress cup, neither of us had this soup before and found it to be delish! I used the ham and mango chutney to dip in. Not gonna lie, that wasn’t anything to rave about. Ham, bread and a bit of chutney. But what followed was glorious, lamb on a skewer with a tatziki dip and flat bread. The lamb was perfect!!! The savoury options concluded with a mini cheese and onion pie. Now as much as I like pie and cheese I’ve never enjoyed the two. But hold the phone…it was good!

On the sweet side we had a mini chocolate cupcake with mint icing, it was incredible. It was like an Aero. A raspberry creme brûlée, I used some of the raspberry compote on my scone. Yum. On my bench I had a flapjack, I thought it was a bit solid, I prefer them a bit gooey. Hannah had a cheese cake with marshmallows on top. We shared them both. The main element of an afternoon tea was the scone, I liked the fact it had currents but I wasn’t smitten with the fact it was pre-assembled, I enjoyed the layering the spreading. Having only been to afternoon tea once before it felt like part of the fun had been taken away. Still tasty. Clotted cream wasn’t as good as I have had before tho.

All in all its a lovely little spot great for a special occasion. Not going to lie didn’t really get why some tables had ordered chips to go with their afternoon tea. Wasn’t sure they grasped afternoon tea to be honest. Oh and as it was Hannah’s birthday she got a cookie and candle to celebrate. Can’t grumble at that.

A lovely touch was that they rang me just over an hour before our sitting to let me know there had been some flooding nearby and not to take certain roads; that is what I call amazing customer service!

I would say taking all things into consideration. The score

+ It’s style, you can’t knock the creative and the elements that make it unique
+ The soup, if I went to a restaurant there wouldn’t be a chance in a month of Sunday’s I would order it, but it was yummy.
+ The birthday touch was pretty sweet
+ They made me a special milkshake so I wouldn’t feel left out.
+ Prosecco is £3 a glass!

– The ham butty was a bit lack luster
– I prefer to build my own Scone
– Flap Jack was a fair bit dry
– Even though we ordered Prosecco I thought we would also get tea

I would like to award The Garden Kitchen 6 out of 10!

Where’s next?

Cx 

The Search for the Perfect Afternoon Tea – Stirk house Hotel

Good morning All,
The search for the Perfect Afternoon Tea began yesterday with 4 friends and me. This was my first taste of afternoon tea, I know shocking right, its just never happened for me.
This was also a little more fabulous that just going, it was a surprise for Katie’s birthday.
I was a little bit of a moron and didn’t take too many snaps- noted for next time.
We arrived around one, with a glass of prosecco in hand! We sat in a centre semi circle booth. The beautiful view only metres away from us. It was only a short wait for the birthday girl and co.
I will say it again i have never been to afternoon tea so i wasn’t sure of the protocol but what arrived first was a little odd, fresh buttered bread with condiments of marmelade and honey. I passed on the bread – the ladies said it was delicious.
What arrived next was a beautiful affair of savoury and sweet elements. including scones with clotted cream which is one of my new favourite things.

 

The savoury side included brioche buns with beef and mustard filling, egg and mayo finger sandwiches(I don’t care how cute they made them look I’m never going to get to grips with that consistency), salmon, chive and cream cheese bagel, home made sausage roll(party size of course-this isn’t Greggs) but probably my favourite was the toasted bread with chutney and slice of melted brie.
Moving onto the sweet items there is a chocolate sort of cheese cake, and vanilla – I cant be 100% i didn’t have either, there was also parkin (again I think) none of us tried that.  Then in the centre a sort of posset – Gemma confirmed it was very tart!
Then on top the quintessential British sweet treat, scones, clotted cream, raspberry jam and butter.
Of course it was served with tea or coffee.
I have never been to afternoon tea before but I feel the perfect afternoon tea requires more search more investigation, more days out testing!
To Score I need to put some reasons
+ Setting, the interior and exterior are both beautiful
+ The sausage roll was incredible
+ I discovered clotted cream
+ Very reasonable in price
+ The waiter had wit
+ We were able to take what we didn’t eat home
– We didn’t eat everything, but then again are you meant to?
– I wasn’t offered a selection of different teas
– I was hoping for a cucumber sandwich – just to be totally British
I am going to aware Stirk House – 7 out of 10!
Wheres next?
Cx