Blue skies, 25 degrees and lush green gardens – who’d have thought we were in North Wales. I’ve visited Wales more times than I can count on two hands over the last 12 months and the weather can be rather unpredictable at times. From torrential rain, heavy snow to mini heatwaves. It’s a part of the UK that really does have its own micro climate, as well as some rather incredible mountain scenes. Our afternoon location was in the beautiful manicured gardens of the five-star Palé Hall Hotel which was our home for three blissful nights and so of course afternoon tea couldn’t be resisted. Do take a look at our magnificent suite – it may convince you of an overnight stay!
Every afternoon tea should start with Champagne and so we couldn’t resist a glass or two to help wash everything down. Following with a selection of teas and coffee.
While bubbles aren’t included in the price, a full afternoon tea here will set you back just £25 per person. It’s probably on the pricey side when it comes to Wales, but by London standards it’s an absolute bargain. Especially given the quality and service which comes with it. They don’t hold back on quantity too so come very hungry and if the weather allows take a seat outside, however indoors is equally as lovely and very impressive.
I’m not really sure what I was expecting from the afternoon tea at Palé Hall, but it wasn’t what arrived. Instead of being very traditional which is what I’ve experienced from other hotels in the local area, the kitchen here has gone full-blown Michelin star style afternoon tea. Cakes created with precision and imagination. Starting first at the top-tier we delved into some very well crafted giant macaroons which were filled with what I think was mango. Chewy and delicious. Better still was this chocolate hazelnut cake. It was light and fluffy, yet fully indulgent at the same time – but without the heaviness. If I had to pick a favourite cake, this was it.
But in fact every cake was impressive, from the presentation right through to the very last bite. The raspberry and pistachio petit gateau was a real stunner. Light and airy with a creamy mousse filling. My favourite cake in the world is carrot cake and this layered version was absolutely stunning.
The selection of finger sandwiches were great too. Smoked ham and mustard, egg mayonnaise with onions, smoked salmon with tarragon mayonnaise and succulent chicken with cucumber. The bread was nice and fresh too which always makes or breaks an afternoon tea for me. You’ll be surprised how many times I’ve been served stale bread in other restaurants.
We finished our afternoon tea on the spectacular scones. Plain or raisin filled. All with a lovely glaze, wonderful smell and crumbly inside. Some thick clotted cream and jam of course – though I’ve still never found out which should come first.
While out stay here at Palé Hall was yet another complete success, afternoon tea was a really special affair and I enjoyed every single part of it. Pastry chef Adam Cleal is a real talent too and so all I can say to the hotel is don’t ever let him leave! If you’re looking for an afternoon treat, somewhere to take the family or spoil a loved one then this is the perfect excuse.