Boutique hotels, Champagne and meticulously created patisseries – just some of my favourite things. I love almost everything when it comes to food, but afternoon tea seems to always get me excited and that’s why I couldn’t resist an invitation from Red Letter Days to sample one of their fabulous offerings. The Royal Afternoon Tea at The Athenaeum Hotel. A redeemable voucher arrived through my door 48 hours later, I entered the verification code online to activate my offer and called the restaurant to make my booking. It was as simple as that!
It’s been years since I last visited The Athenaeum Hotel and I really don’t know why I’ve left it so long. It was so long ago in fact that I didn’t even recognise its new guise after its refurbishment back in 2016 and it looks great. From the outside a huge living garden covers the exterior of the wall which follows through into the property. The modern, bright furnishings add a touch of sophistication and the outdoor terrace is a big plus. It’s a very grown up hotel which I really like.
Usually priced at £50 per person including a glass of Ayala Majeur Brut NV Champagne, booking through Red Letter Days saves you a whopping 30% bringing it down to just £35 per person which is a bit of a bargain if you ask me and the perfect excuse to treat yourself or a loved one to mark the start of Afternoon Tea Week which runs from August 13th – 19th 2018. For a grand total of £70, you’ll receive everything you see here for two people and I couldn’t think of a better way to spend a couple of hours.
We started with one of my favourite parts of any afternoon tea experience – the sandwiches. Juicy Cumbrian beef & Coleman’s horseradish on beetroot bread. H. Foreman & Son smoked salmon & cream cheese on multigrain bread (these were delicious) and Coronation chicken on white bread. Needing some work was the Regents park honey roasted Dukeshill ham with mustard mayonnaise on brioche, which arrived on white bread and not brioche and overall it just didn’t have enough flavour. My personal favourite was the Egg Drumkilbo bridge roll with James Baxter’s potted shrimps.
The scones and their toppings were beautiful and in my opinion the best part of this afternoon tea. Warm, fluffy and crumbly. I loved the toppings of home-made strawberry jam, rich clotted cream and silky lemon curd which got rather addictive. It was also at this point I noticed that service needed to be ever so slightly more attentive as the staff seemed allocated mostly to the main restaurant and I overheard people having to request tea/water top-ups and sandwich replenishments on occasion.
The main spectacle of any afternoon tea simply has to be the sweat treats & delicate patisserie creations and there is alot to get through here so come hungry! Best of them all was the strawberry eton mess pots which went down an absolute treat and felt refreshing as we started to feel full. The lime macaroons and the chocolate & cherry Victoria sponge were a dream to eat and really satisfied any sugar cravings we came here with. The most disappointing, though certainly not bad by any means were the raspberry Bakewell tarts which were too crunchy and Battenberg cake which while looked good, didn’t taste of much.
Overall we had a very enjoyable afternoon experience here at The Athenaeum Hotel which really was a bargain for a slice of luxury if purchased through Red Letter Days. Elements of our afternoon tea could be improved, such a seasoning in one or two of the sandwiches and flavours in some of the cakes but mostly we both had a lovely experience and would happily return in the future.
NB: Our afternoon tea was complimentary so special thanks to Red Letter Days for organising. All views are as always, my own. My views are not influenced by anyone other than my own palate and slightly poor eyesight. For more information and to book this afternoon tea then CLICK HERE.