Hi! A little Halloween treat for you all today, a guest post about a spooktastic Halloween themed afternoon tea, bought to you by the fabulous Rachel from over at Tea with Me and Friends. Rachel and sister Lorna are the masters (or should I say mistresses) of all things afternoon tea related and are frequently found indulging in all kinds of afternoon tea from the authentic and classical to the downright weird and quirky! I love reading their posts and they always make me very very hungry!
I’ve recently experienced afternoon tea at Hotel La Tour in Birmingham, but really wish I could sample more. London, unlike Birmingham, has an abundance of places offering afternoon tea and last weekend Rachel and a friend of hers went to sample a themed Halloween afternoon tea at The Ampersand Hotel in South Kensington. The hotel itself is quite small by London standards and lies just a few minutes walk from South Kensington Tube Station.
Here is what Rachel thought of the experience……
The inside of the hotel is quite modern and quirky and the afternoon tea is served in their drawing rooms, a large light and airy space with colourful decor and furniture and a large cake table taking centre stage in the middle of the room laden with cakes and sweet treats covered with large glass domes.
Right from the beginning of this afternoon tea we knew we were in for a spooky experience – when the tiers were brought over to us we could see dry ice flowing over the sides creating a fantastic ghoulish atmosphere which really added to the experience.
We started with the savoury selections which were actually Gougeres – small savoury choux buns, rather than the standard sandwiches. They were light and very tasty, not at all greasy or over filling. They were filled with traditional sandwich fillings including:
- Gloucester old spot ham
- Smoked salmon
- Coronation chicken
- Cheese with fruit chutney
All of the fillings were generous portions and very tasty. I think my favourite was the coronation chicken – which was creamy and very scrummy!
Next up were the scones, served nice and warm. The kitchen bake scones three times to ensure everyone has fresh scones on their plate – I think this is a wonderful idea and will certainly rule out any chance of a dry slightly stale scone! We each had one plain and one white chocolate scone. They were a good size and texture. The scones were served with clotted cream and a strawberry, chocolate and balsamic jam which had been made right there in the hotel. The jam had a lovely tang to it.
Finally there were the sweet treats! The crockery the hotel used was a plain brilliant white which really made these colourful treats stand out all the more. First was the cutest pumpkin cake – it was a light sponge, filled with cream and the iced detail on the pumpkin was really delicate and clever. A green apple jelly skull was next, which melted in the mouth when you ate it and was very refreshing. There was also a vanilla mousse which was light and creamy and lastly a scrummy chocolate Tonka cupcake complete with a sugar paper eyeball! The cupcake was small and bite sized, topped with cream and drizzled with a raspberry sauce. I’m very hard pressed to say which was my favourite sweet treat…which is quite unusual for me. I usually have at least one favourite at afternoon tea! Overall everything was really fresh and it all tasted great.
There was a good selection of teas to go with your food including traditional English teas, fruity options or green tea. There was also the option of adding a glass of bubbles to your afternoon tea if you so desired.
The Halloween tea was the chef’s special, and it changes throughout the year to suit the various holidays and seasons. They also serve a traditional afternoon tea every day (which looked very good too!). The Chef’s afternoon tea is £27.50, or £39.50 with a glass of champagne. The traditional afternoon tea is £25.00 or £37.00 with a glass of champagne.
My friend and I were lucky enough to get to meet Chef Chris Golding who invited us into his kitchens! We met the pastry team who prepare the teas and saw the tiny space they have to work in. It was a brilliant experience to see behind the scenes!
I’d definitely recommend this afternoon tea and we’ll be going back again!
I don’t know about you but this sounded fantastic to me – a perfect halloween treat. I LOVE the sound of the chocolate balsamic jam. If you want to read a full report on what Rachel thought of the tea and yet more pics, or some of the other fantastic Afternoon Tea experiences she has had you can check out her blog here.
Thank you so much to Rachel for sharing her afternoon with us, and I hope you all enjoyed reading the guest post.