I’M a sucker for novelty food and drinks and at the minute, afternoon teas seem ever so de rigueur.
In the past year, I’ve had some lovely ladies-that-lunch style teas at hotels on trips to London and Leeds, but had failed to find one closer to home that came up to scratch – until now.
Bookings are flying in for Afternoon Tea at Jesmond Dene House who are producing cake stand upon cake stand of fancy finger sandwiches, scrumptious scones and melt-in-your mouth cakes.
The last time I was at the hotel was as a bridesmaid where the wedding party and guests had been super impressed by the hotel’s food, so I knew I was in for a treat.
I was glad to discover, however, that this hotel doesn’t just make a special occasion feel like a special occasion – it managed to transform our so far mundane Saturday afternoon into something to ooh and ahhh about.
We were led into the lounge area and managed to bag one of the best seats in the house – two comfy leather recliners next to an open fire set in an Arts and Craft fireplace.
It proved a warm welcome on a chilly February afternoon as we perused the short, but very sweet menu.
There are two choices of classic afternoon tea: one with alcohol which is priced at £29.50 and one without, which comes in at £18.50.
Unsurprisingly to anyone who reads my reviews, I went for the one with alcohol.
It may sound pricey, but for my pounds I was presented with a smorgasbord of gastronomic gems. Drinks-wise, you can choose from a choice of English breakfast, Earl Grey, green tea, jasmine and fruit teas.
I chose to have a pot of green tea after the best tipple of the trip – a glass of Deutz Brut Classic NVChampagne.
It proved a perfect accompaniment to my plate of sandwiches. The assortment of roast beef, horseradish and rocket; mature Cheddar and apple pickle; potted salmon and pickled cucumber and egg mayonnaise and cress were light, fluffy and packed with flavour.
Round two belonged to a selection of scones: spiced fruit, plain and cheese which were presented with jam and an ever so delicious clotted cream.
The pièce de résistance, however, was the third and top tier of my cake stand, which was laden with hand-decorated cakes and pastries.
They all looked so pretty that I couldn’t choose which to have first – the chocolate and orange truffle, the Turkish delight macaroon, the lemon and raspberry sponge or the banoffee sundae?
The creamy-looking banoffee pipped the others to the post and was a perfect finish to a beautiful meal.
The amount of food had defeated me, but the staff boxed up my remaining cakes so I could enjoy them at home.
For those just hankering after sweet treats, the Confectioners Tea, priced £13, just includes the scones, pastries and tea element of afternoon tea.
You have to hand it to Jesmond Dene House, they are bringing back this British tradition in style.
Afternoon tea is available from 3pm until 4.30pm Mondays till Saturdays, and from 3.30pm until 5pm on Sundays.