For a perfect afternoon tea, you need 1) a beautiful setting 2) great company 3) a pot of tea 4) plates of sweet and savoury bite size treats and 5) the option of champagne. Afternoon tea is, after all, a truly decadent way to spend a lingering afternoon.
At Hotel du Vin in Brighton, my friend and I had the opportunity of trying out HdV's version of afternoon tea, thanks to an invite from the Blogger group, LDNmeetup.
Already a favourite of mine, Hotel du Vin was known to me as a great place to enjoy a little laid back glamour with a few drinks in their bar.
This time our invite took us through the bar area, passed the scene of previous alcohol soaked nights, up the stairs, onto the mezzanine level and out to a sun drenched balcony.
Overlooking the courtyard the balcony offered us a selection of tables with comfortable chairs and shade if desired, supplied by enormous umbrellas.
Glasses of champagne arrived and as I squinted happily in the bright sunlight, my friend and I chinked glasses and the sound quietly disappeared. Nothing it seemed could disturb the sense of stillness that pervaded.
I picked up the menu to find out what we would be eating and discovered for Hotel du Vin quality matters. On the menu were listed top quality brands such as Twinings for the tea, Bonne Maman for the jam and Lescure for the butter. Reading through the options of tea we could choose from was a diverse selection that included the smokey Assam to an aromatic and unusual pairing of Moroccan Mint with Rose to the dependable Full English.
With tea chosen and while we waited for it to brew two plates of savoury delights appeared on the table. It was a selection of traditional flavours with a special Hotel du Vin twist. Instead of finger sandwiches with crusts removed we were presented with egg and cress in a brioche bun, ham and gruyere cheese in a warmed croissant, tomato salsa on galette, smoked salmon and cream cheese in a bagel and goats cheese and spinach quiche, all in miniature form.
The French theme was unmistakable and the savoury options were a great deal more filling than the traditional ones would have been. The stand out flavours for me came from the mini croissant with ham and gruyere, the egg and cress brioche and the tomato topped galette. Three favourites from a plate of five was a strong start.
Within moments more delicious delicacies came towards us and without question the sticks of sugar-pink candy floss made a delightful first impression. Held upright by a stand, underneath were arranged a selection of sweet treats of the lemon and chocolate variety. The plate of desserts divided opinion. My friend loved the gin infused lemon sorbet in the shot glass, while I loved the chocolate brownie with baked creme egg in the centre! Oh my goodness, I thought, absolutely delicious, if ridiculously unhealthy. Guilt swept over me as I did the unthinkable and dipped the brownie into a bowl of clotted cream that had also just arrived. In the words of a dear friend as he cracked open a can of lager for breakfast, "just don't judge me".
With sugar levels through the roof, thanks to the super fun stick of barbie-doll pink candy floss, we had yet another plate of sweets to enjoy. Encircling a pot of clotted cream spun freshly baked plain and fruit scones and doughnuts. It really was a feast to remember.
For decadence, sunshine and value for money, this afternoon tea at Hotel du Vin in Brighton just can't be beat. To sample their Easter afternoon tea that includes the creme egg brownie, they will be serving it until the end of April. Served daily between 12 pm and 6 pm this offer costs £20 or an additional £9.95 for a glass of champagne. Click here for more details, Hotel du Vin afternoon tea.
With thanks to Hotel du Vin for the complimentary Champagne Afternoon Tea for two.
Hotel du Vin, 2 Ship Street, Brighton, BN1 1AD Tel: 01273 855221
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