How do you eat your afternoon tea? Do you start with the savouries, then eat the scones? Or perhaps dive into the top layer treats? There’s such a temptation to try everything at once isn’t there?
What makes a great afternoon tea experience? I’d suggest a beautiful, relaxing location; friendly staff and of course a tempting selection on the tea stand.
Today we’re at Malmaison, Cheltenham. It’s Tuesday afternoon – what a treat to be taking tea midweek!
Just a few years ago, the former Montpellier Chapter was acquired by Malmaison to become its 15th branded hotel. The beautiful buildings have now had the Malmaison touch. There is a clever blend of tradition and modern sophistication.
We’re seated in the Conservatory which could well date back to when the original building was constructed. Gorgeous strips of red glass add to its charm. This colour is cleverly picked up elsewhere in the hotel along a corridor looking over a modern garden. There’s modern glass sculpture that looks as if it might be made of bottles from a science lab hanging in the centre. When it’s warm, the outdoor terrace becomes a second area to take tea.
We choose the traditional afternoon tea or rather the Chez Mal contemporary take on afternoon tea. In a rather nice touch, you can add specially created cocktails Orange Brûlée; Black Forest Martini, Hendrick’s G&T, or Classic Espresso Martini as an alternative to the fizz usually offered (although that’s available too). Alas we’re both driving later so stick to tea.
The attractive tea stand is delivered by our waiter. He’s doing a sterling job and he only started work there the previous week. Throughout, service is attentive and is there just when you want it.
The savouries are just the right size and balance of flavours.
I wasn’t too sure I was going to enjoy the chicken slider, but it turned out to be the pick of the bunch. Cleverly set on peanut butter, the chicken was battered and moist and delicious.
The scone arrives warm with a very generous dollop of clotted cream and jam. Perhaps two smaller scones slightly less baked would work better?
And now to the top layer! The cheesecake and smoothie include ingredients that change with the season. The smoothie is choc full of berries, the cheesecake is a light creamy concoction with blueberries. Next two chocolatey items to nibble.
The brownie just happens to be gluten free. Incidentally, dietary requirements can be accommodated if advised in advance. Our favourite is the bakewell tart. It has very fine pastry and moist almond filling.
All too soon, our tea was at an end. We felt well relaxed, well looked after and rather full! The tea is copious and good value at £19.95 or £27 to include a cocktail.
So how did we eat our tea? We ate the savouries first – well trained I guess; followed by the scone and then the cakes. What would you have done?
Tel: 01242 370655
Danielle dined at the invitation of Malmaison Cheltenham.