Welcome to our blog....here we will share all our afternoon tea adventures with you...the good, the bad and the wonderful!

Friday, 18 April 2014

Time for Tea.....The Dorchester

Hello there,

Welcome back to another afternoon tea blog post from Tea With Me and Friends, this week Lorna and I were lucky enough to indulge in a spot of afternoon tea at The Dorchester in London. I was kindly given a champagne tea for two by the hotel when I worked with them last year and have eagerly waited to enjoy this traditional afternoon tea experience.

When we arrived we were whisked to our seats in The Promenade, a very elegant area just off the main lobby of the hotel. Our cushions were plumped as we took our seats and we were given a glass of champagne, whilst being told all the about the feast that lay ahead of us. We were then left alone to pursue the extensive tea menu, guided by some recommendations from our waiter. I opted for the tea called Paris - which was light and slightly fruity, a lovely brew.

Firstly, I would like to draw your attention to the beautiful china used by The Dorchester - its pretty yet very elegant. Lorna proclaimed that the tea pot was one of the best she has ever used!

Afternoon tea china
The Dorchester

Once our tea was chosen the sandwiches were served. They were brought out on a large sandwich plate and then served to us on our individual plates.

Afternoon tea sandwiches - The Dorchester

The selection was very traditional with egg mayonnaise, cucumber and cream cheese, salmon and roast chicken. There was also a rather lovely grilled vegetable sandwich which I found a nice addition to the plate, something I wouldn't normally pick but enjoyed. 

The bread was soft and fresh and the sandwiches all contained the right amount of filling - no over filled sandwiches here! Once we finished our sandwiches we were offered more - and I might have had another one of those egg sandwiches!

Once we'd finished our sandwiches we were presented with this...

Afternoon tea - The Dorchester

It was a wonderful sweet treat - a bit like a very posh after eight mint! Dark chocolate and mint is always a lovely combination.

Next the scones and the cakes were served, along with cream and preserves......

Afternoon tea
The Dorchester

We had one plain and one fruit scone each, accompanied by clotted cream and a choice of two different preserves. One was traditional strawberry and the other a lemon earl grey - as you can see I opted for both! The Dorchester always serves one traditional preserve and one seasonal to accompany their scones.

Afternoon tea scones
The Dorchester

The scones were light and fluffy, the fruity one had just the right amount of fruit distributed throughout it. The cream was ever so light and made a wonderful base for the preserves which both tasted wonderful. I was particularly fond of the lemon early grey variety and found the strawberry one slightly two runny.

Once we had finished our scones we were offered more...but eyeing up the sweet plate that was to follow we declined to ensure we still had room! 

Afternoon tea cakes - The Dorchester

This plate included a chocolate and passion fruit tart (just out of sight in this photo), a scrummy raspberry macaroon, a strawberry panna cota, a wonderful coconut treat and two pieces of coffee cake that was so well flavoured that it felt like you were drinking a cup of coffee!

My favourite item was the half macaroon with white chocolate and raspberry - it was light, chewy and so tasty! I'm not normally a fan of white chocolate, but felt it worked very well with the tart raspberry. Again, once we had polished off these we were offered more sweets - something we were made of before we tucked into the plate and therefore we knew we didn't need to share anything!

All in all this was a wonderful experience - the Promenade is a beautiful space and everyone is seated far enough apart that you forget other people are there! We also enjoyed the beautiful playing of a pianist during the afternoon, which added to the atmosphere. All the waiters were wonderful, appearing like magic to replenish our food and tea (I'm not sure how many cups of tea we managed to drink!).

The Dorchester offers a variety of different afternoon teas from this champagne tea to one served in their spa! They also have a special tea designed to compliment the Chelsea Flower Show. For more details pop by their website.

The champagne tea costs £55.00 per person and so its definitely a treat - but a wonderful one if you have something special to celebrate.

Thank you for popping by today,
Rachel

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Meet the Head Chef......

Hello there,

Welcome back to another blog post from Tea With Me and Friends, this time we are meeting the Head Chef  Sergio Neale at the Reform Social & Grill in Marylebone London, creator of the Vintage themed afternoon tea currently on offer.

Vintage Afternoon Tea
Reform Social & Grill

We visited the Reform Social & Grill last weekend and loved the concept of the afternoon tea, and afterwards Chef Sergio kindly answered some questions for us.....

Q. Why did you decide to feature a themed afternoon tea at the Reform Social & Grill?
Many places have themed afternoon teas and to add a little something extra to the classic option. I just tried to find something that is very on trend at the moment.

Q. We love the idea of an afternoon tea inspired by the 1940s/50s - what made you pick this particular era?
It a time in Britain when things were hard, with rationing still in place for much of the time, Britain pulled together, people did the best with what they had. But even thought times were hard people really knew how to have a good time. Its an inspiring time and at tea time, people enjoyed themselves and this is exactly what we want people to do here. Indulge, dress up and enjoy. 

Q How long did it take you to create this new afternoon tea?
The creation of this afternoon tea took around 3 month from the idea to 

Q. Was it hard to pick which fancies to include in the afternoon tea?
Not really! I just think back to what my granddad used to cook for me. Plus I have his some of his recipes which are amazing.

Q. What is your favourite part of this afternoon tea?
Bananas and custard, it’s a classic mums quick dessert, it’s a brilliant combination  

Q. Do you enjoy a spot of afternoon tea yourself and have you tried tea anywhere else?
I do enjoy afternoon teas, I enjoy classic tea rooms were they serve big wedges of cakes and eccals cakes as big as dinner plates. But for something a little special I would recommend sketch.

Head Chef - Sergio Neale
Reform Social & Grill

Q. What is your favourite filling in an afternoon tea sandwich?
Coronation chicken. A classic but we worked hard on getting the right combination of spices so its unforgettable

Q. The all important question - do you put cream or jam on your scone first?
Cream, you can get more on if the cream goes on first, its harder to spread cream on top of jam

Q. If you could invite any guest to enjoy afternoon tea with you, who would it be and why?
Definitely tea with the Queen! 

As you can imagine Lorna and I were pleased to hear that Chef Sergio dresses his scones in the correct way - cream first! We'll be enjoying a spot of afternoon tea at Sketch next month and so we were also pleased to see the recommendation here!

A big thank you to Chef Sergio for answering our questions and we hope you've enjoyed our latest instalment in the "meet the chef" blog articles.

Thank you for popping by today,
Rachel

Saturday, 12 April 2014

Time for Tea....The Thistle Brighton

Hello there,

Welcome back to another guest post from Tea With Me and Friends. This time we are joined by the lovely Lissie from The Little Vintage Teacup who has been enjoying a spot of afternoon tea in Brighton.

A girls day out with my Mum hunting for vintage crockery for my budding vintage tea party business would not have been complete without a little indulgence in one of my favourite past times of all (if you hadn’t guessed already ) Afternoon Tea!

We booked a week in advance at The Thistle in preparation for our day out treasure hunting. We had look at other deals in Brighton, however for £35 The Thistle were offering Afternoon Tea, Spa Access & 9 hours’ worth of parking.  For those of you who haven’t yet visited Brighton a car park for 9 hours could cost you up to £20 so we were instantly drawn in.

We had intended to arrive feeling like ladies of leisure, superbly coiffed from the hours we spent getting ready earlier that day, however when we arrived we were completely soaked from head to toe having been caught out In a rain storm and we looked far from ladylike. The waitress caught sight of us and immediately came to our aid offering us a hot drink. Having walked for hours around Brighton already we were both needing some energy & opted for some strong coffee. 


Afternoon tea - The Thistle Brighton

When the waitress brought the drinks over we were both handed our own little teapots & were given a milk jug to share. Now this may sound silly but I was pleasantly surprised to find we have been given a good amount of milk in our jug! How often does it happen that you get given a thimble of milk for an entire coffee pot! I commend our Waitress on her coffee making abilities! Her coffee to milk ratios were spot on!

Soon after our afternoon tea was brought out to us… I don’t know about you but I have always loved that moment when you first see your afternoon tea.  I like the surprise of seeing what goodies there are to try! 


Afternoon tea - The Thistle Brighton

Our tea consisted of finger sandwiches (I think they may have been cut the wrong way as they were very wide and they also still had the crusts on) filled with egg mayonnaise , ham & mustard & cream cheese & cucumber all of which were delicious! Following on from the sandwiches we had lovely warm scones served with proper jam & clotted cream. The scones were a medium size, beautifully soft inside and had that lovely golden tone to them on the outside. They were just enough to ensure we still had enough room for the festival of delicious cakes that ensued on the top layer!


Sweet treats at the Thistle Brighton

We were greeted by a Lemon Cheese Cake, Strawberry Cupcake, Coffee & Walnut Cake & a Frangipane Cake.  The Lemon Cheese Cake was light to the taste and packed a fantastic zesty tang, it had a biscuit base (my favourite part of a Cheese Cake) which was delicious, I couldn’t fault it… apart from the fact that I had to share it :P. The Coffee & Walnut Cake was deliciously moist and really complimented the coffee we had to drink with it and the Frangipane Cake was equally as wonderful with its almond undertones. By the time we had reached the end of our cakes we were both very full and unfortunately didn’t manage the Strawberry Cupcake, however I was given a little foil to wrap it up in and gave it to my Step-Gran. She said it was beautiful, and I was actually really pleased we hadn’t finished it at our tea as it meant someone else could also enjoy part of our experience.

One of the things that really hit me about The Thistle is how tranquil the environment is. You step off the pavement having been shoved and pushed by people rushing about everywhere and walk into what feels like an oasis of calm. There is delicate piano music playing in the background and as you begin to take in your surroundings the stress from the busy pavement begins to fade away.

We didn’t make it in to the spa unfortunately but having visited The Thistle on several occasions as a night guest I can recommend it to anyone looking for a little R&R.

Little T xx 
The Little Vintage Teacup

What a wonderful post - a bit thank you to Lissie for sharing her experience with me. I'm not sure about those sandwiches with their crusts on though!

If you've enjoyed afternoon tea somewhere and would like to share your afternoon tea adventures please get in touch!

Thank you for popping by today,
Rachel