You can’t get more quintessentially British than a traditional afternoon tea on a summer’s afternoon. In recent years with the rise of all things retro , ‘high tea’ is more fashionable than ever with everywhere from hotels to corner side coffee shops offering their take on cake based luxury. Never one to say no to an afternoon nibble, this Sunday we went along to Hotel LaTour Birmingham to see what all the fuss was about.
For £19.99 pp (£29.45 with Champagne) the afternoon tea menu at Hotel LaTour includes a wide selection of tea and coffee, (everything from bog standard English Breakfast to loose leaf jasmine) collection of finger sandwiches, homemade scones with jam and cream alongside a platter of tea cakes an desserts. Beginning with a cool class of fizz on arrival our journey to the centre of cake coma began with a pot of welsh rarebit and crisp breadsticks to dip. Always a fan of cheesy delights, I really enjoy welsh rarebit on toast, particularly with bacon so this unusual addition to the afternoon tea platter was definitely welcomed by me. It was a good texture and complimented the sandwiches well but ideally I’d have liked it to have been a little warmer (no one likes Luke warm melted cheese.) Tea wise I opted for Earl grey which was served in a generous size tea pot and complimented the meal just nicely. The sandwiches were a standard selection but not a disappointing one, I was quite a fan of the smoked salmon and cream cheese and for someone with a savoury tooth it was good to have a sizeable quantity to get my teeth into.
Sweets wise the scones were soft enough to rival any devonshire creme tea and it was a nice touch to have the choice of both sultana and plain. when it comes to cakes, thanks to working close by to London’s Hummingbird bakery I’ve grown into more of a cupcake fan but the pretty gateaux and pavlova style miniatures complete with chocolate filled macaroons formed a cute confectionary platter to satisfy any sweet tooth. A common problem with dining at hotels is that outside of the rooms they can seem to lack character and ambience. This is where Hotel LaTour ups it’s game- the lounge area with it’s grand piano makes it feel like an afternoon in a Soho jazz club and any singer that bangs out a bit of chilled down Whitney and Fleetwood Mac always gets my vote…..
In all while Hotel LaTour’s take on afternoon tea isn’t a unique one, staying clear of themes and gimics means that the end result is one that’s done well. It may be no mad hatters tea party but if traditional high tea with a contemporary twist is what you’re after look not further and if you fancy stretching your tea along into the evening I’d certainly recommend staying for a glass of pink – as a fickle rose drinker the fruity notes played just the right tune!