Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Life | 'Tea Time'

Saturday 11th October 2014
Last year was the time, that 'high tea' was the thing newly 20 year olds were doing to celebrate  - cos you know it's SO grown up. No mocking I swear. It was all over my Facebook timeline. Come 21st, it's a saunter up the shard which personally, terrifies me. So whilst being behind on the tea trend, the petrified of heights thing meant I spent my £25, on the previous. Well actually, I managed to bag an empty seat to my parents gifted tea trip. My mum's been really unwell, so for her it's been rescheduled. But the backup spot was delicious, and definitely worth sharing with you all. & I'm not talking a tea bag and Mcvities digestive here - crust cut sandwiches, cream tea, and a-few-bites desserts, of worthwhile (conversation and )calories.
I felt a little embatessed that I am neither a coffee or Tea drinker, so I settled on coke. They were very accomidating, though I was the only one with a straw. Which did make me feel about 10.
Lovely table by the window. Thankfully the downpour that forced us to change 10 minutes prior, had left to reveal unccensored sunshine. It didn't quite match the sight of the spread though.
We ate it like the tradition that's been ectched into our bones - you can only have pudding if you finish your main. So, similutaniusly tasting, working up the teirs..
Ever wondered what a cucumber sandwich was? exactly that. A slice of cucumber and butter. How has this lasted as long as it has! Underwelmed. The salmon was nice, but it's something I could easily recreate myself. The egg and cress was light, and not too cressy, which pleases me and my teethy-greenspeckless-smile no end. I don't like mustard, so the ham and mustard set were saved for the sneaky tuppa-wear in dad's bag intended for mum. ehm.
Scones were still warm. Crumbly. I tend to prefer blackcurrant jam on a scone, but both the cream and preserve were scrummy. Curious, you a jam or cream first kind of person? Cos I think that's the kind of opinion that determines any friendship. Couldn't manage the whole thing, as my eyes are bigger than my stomach - and pudding space needed to be extended today.
MMM - Pudding. Saving suspected best till last, me started with the lemon option. Iced gem (anyone remember those snack stars?) shaped lemon meringue pieces glued together by lemon curd. It was sweet and tarte. Just delicious. Fruit cake was ok. Moist (urgh word) sponge, with cranberry/raisin/blackcurrant berries within it. A little Oaty, more for mum. Panecotta? Who knows what that is. But this kind of jelly consistency custard tasted nice, but the texture is not up my street. Berry cousle to top, added some well needed flavour to the vanilla mixture below - though a little much for me. Dad finished this in 2 spoons - afternoon tea etiquette is too enjoy it how you want to. Just use the napkins provided rather than creating your own out of the table cloth.
Personally think the selection was a little fruit heavy; considering this sort of afternoon tea is not the healthy option, another chocolate/indulgently sweet would've been welcome.
For a chocolate lover/worshipper, it was a surprise to decide that the lemon meringue was my favourite feature. That being said I've never had a dark chocolate brownie before, and it was as rich and memorable as you would expect.
All the staff were lovely. Treated us like any other guest, despite us being a little less reserved. The story of dad accidently mixing up Sue and Lorna to 'Loo and Sauna' was tummy. achingly. funny. No matter what situation you are in. That and dad doing his best subtly saving this for later sketch.
*Professional taster with my tissue notepad and biro*
We also toured/wandered the grounds - you would never guess this hotel was in the middle of a town? Actually you do have to guess, as the sign post down the roughish countrylane was overgrown and unvisible. But we found it. The building itself was beautiful - old timey but with all the good side of modern modcons; such as automatic sliding doors to the kitchen, and chairs that wern't even close to stiff or rickety. With that & in all the food glory, the garden was a little. meh, Maybe because it was October not spring and summer? but I would say skip it. Though the geese gave a lovely welcome.
For future tea goers - you've paid for that experience. You want to take photos? Want to put your elbows on the table? Do It. This is not an establishment that give people that paid more, the privilege to judge people on how to act. We weren't loud we were laughing.

Verdict? Thankyou brother Chris, It was lovely treat, if not intended for me.
I wouldn't splurge myself. Maybe it's those 'Great British Bakeoff' juices flowing through me, but I reckon I could do just a good a job.
What do you say mum, Tea ala Amber?

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