It’s the most wonderful time of the year…and for me that means several things: The Rockabilly Christmas album, the movie ‘Elf’, food and booze - and not much else until January.
Given that my whole reason for setting up this blog is to review afternoon tea, I thought it was about time I headed off for a ‘festive’ themed one so I could do the job properly (like I needed an excuse to munch mini mince pies and quaff mulled wine…) Also, in the name of proper scientific testing I had a ‘control’ to measure against (remember that from GCSE science?) which means I went for a ‘festive’ tea at a place I’d already been to so I could compare. I take it dead seriously, me.
So I headed to The Reform Grill and Social @ The Mandeville Hotel with my long suffering other half who is continually forced to imbibe champers and eat mini fondant fancies in my serious quest to impart knowledge of afternoon teas to the public. I opted for this one in particular as they had a free unlimited champagne offer with the festive tea, which is the same reason we went the first time back in September.
It’s a really nicely decorated place (as you can see from the above pics) – it’s new so it’s squeaky clean and it’s in a good location so no complaints there. Another bonus is that they offer two different afternoon teas: for the ladies they have a ‘Vintage afternoon tea’ but there is also a ‘Gentlemen’s Afternoon Tea’ and when we first went there the gents was better and I was jealous! Instead of finger sandwiches, the gents get a piece of pork pie, a mini burger and steak and snails on a bruschetta!
In comparison, the lady gets 4 finger sandwiches. Sorry but this is one occasion where 4 fingers will not fill the hole (ahem...) Also, the sandwiches aren’t even good. They’ve obviously been made ahead so they’re crispy on the outside where they're getting stale, and there's not much filling inside at all.
You can therefore imagine how happy Mr Carla was when he saw that the special ‘festive’ afternoon tea was being offered alongside the usual Gents menu. I didn’t learn from my September mistake and went for the ladies festive this time (in the name of research…) but he stuck with his tried and tested favourite.We got drinks to begin with (an Old Fashioned for the man and a mulled wine for the lady) which is great. You can’t go wrong with mulled wine, or mulled anything for that matter. We also got a glass of champagne straight away too, which was nice.
And we received our tea as well (they have an extensive list to choose from.) I went for their own Mandeville blend but my man likes their black tea with vanilla and they’re both delicious. There was an awful lot to drink at once though!
I was excited for them to bring out the food and when they did the Gents looked amazing but the ladies was still a bit pitiful. So this time I thought I’d ask if I can have extra sandwiches after I'd finished mine in about 1 minute flat and they said it would cost extra!! Now in some places its free to have extra sandwiches (for example, in Volupte Lounge they’re very generous) so paying £3 for that pitiful array is not good news. However the issue was compounded when I was told that if I wanted to purchase the Gent’s platter (of pork pie, burger, steak, snails etc) it would cost £4. That’s a great price and makes the £3 sarnies seem yet more ridiculous. I don't know what they're thinking! I would have been tempted to do that but of course we had scones and cakes to get through so I just waited for Mr Carla to devour his delicious platter and readied myself for the sweet part.
The cranberry scones were really nice, the jam came in individual little jars and the clotted cream was delicious!! And there was enough for two scones each. (There's nothing worse than having to spread microscopically thin layers of anything onto dry scones...)
Also the cakes were nice and they did fit the festive theme: there was a mini mince pie, dundee christmas cake and an almond crumble. However I have had incredible cakes before so really I just weighed up the pros an cons of the whole meal when reviewing this. For example it says on the menu "dark chocolate yule log" so I was expecting a mini log on the plate. But it actually seemed to be a piece of mini yule log so I felt that was a bit misleading...
However, given that we had 4 glasses of champagne in total (it may have been prosecco but it was really nice and I'm happy with either) as well as the cocktail I'd say this is definitely one to go for when they have the unlimited champagne offer on. The link to it is here and it runs until 23rd of Jan on Friday, Saturday and Sunday http://www.afternoontea.co.uk/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1399&Itemid=1
It's a great place to head to after your Christmas shopping and I would suggest that if you go for the Ladies tea (which is the festive one) then ask if you can pay £1 extra to get the mens platter for your savoury portion so you can get the festive treats :) xxx
"Sip"-tease rating *****
Pa"Tease"erie Rating ***
Boudoir or Boring Rating****
Cheap or Chic Rating ** (or **** with champagne offer)
PS - I will be posting all afternoon tea offers on here in the future so subscribe for quick updates!!