Sunday, 11 June 2017

Afternoon Tea at The Balmoral Hotel

As a good few of my friends are graduating this year, we wanted to celebrate the end of their time at university in style. Plans were made to have afternoon tea at The Balmoral Hotel, one of Edinburgh's most prestigious hotels. Afternoon tea is taken seriously here, it's five courses long, and is a real treat. We were a group of 9 in total, some who had had afternoon tea here before and some novices like myself.


The first option is to pick from the extensive selection of teas and coffees - but don't worry, they're unlimited so you can try as many as you'd like. I started off with the Royal Scottish Balmoral Blend - a blend of Assam and Ceylon teas. Essentially a classic breakfast tea to start me off and then swapped to white peach with flowers after scones for a lighter, fruitier option.


The food starts with an amuse bouche. This changes every time and our option on the day was a cold tomato gazpacho with basil oil. This honestly divided the group and if I'm honest it wasn't my cup of tea. It was quite heavily spiced and after someone said that it tasted like barbeque sauce, I couldn't quite untaste it.


Moving on to sandwiches. A high platter loaded with sandwiches, quiches and haggis bonbons (it is Scotland after all). The haggis bonbons were the real highlight of the afternoon tea for me. And as two members of the group didn't like haggis, I got three! Lightly fried in a thin, crunchy breadcrumb and served with a fresh apricot puree they were a delightful, moreish mouthful. If you've never tried haggis before, something like this would be the perfect introduction. The sandwich selection was really broad and the fillings were all fresh and delicious. My favourite is the smoked salmon and cream cheese - an afternoon tea classic.


Then moving onto scones, one fruit and one plain, served with fresh clotted cream and jam. This then sparked the quintessential afternoon tea debate - cream then jam or jam then cream? That's up for you to decide. I opted for the controversial choice of just jam and devoured my scones. These were the best scones I have ever had in my life. Normally I find scones to be a bit too dry but these were surprisingly moist and very obviously freshly baked. I wasn't leaving a single crumb behind.


A trio of cakes followed: a chocolate and raspberry tart, a coconut cake with passionfruit icing and a profiterole. All were absolutely gorgeously presented and tasted even better than they looked. The Balmoral provide little cardboard boxes for you to take any leftovers home in which was welcomed as we were all so full by this point! My personal favourite was the chocolate tart which was so creamy and indulgent, but offset so perfectly by the tartness of the raspberries.


And what better way to finish the afternoon tea than with ice cream? The final course consisted of a miniature ice cream cone with mango sorbet. And we were given a small tin of the Balmoral loose leaf tea and a little tub of biscuits to take home. What a lovely, and refreshing way to finish off the afternoon. It didn't feel like it, but the whole tea took about 4 hours from start to finish!

The attention to detail throughout the whole afternoon was absolutely amazing - from the stellar customer service to a harpist playing out classical music for the room. The afternoon tea at The Balmoral Hotel is an absolute treat and something that every Edinburgh resident must try once in their life. 

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1 comment

  1. Those cakes though! 😍 I can't resist afternoon tea.

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