There is something quite adorable and quintessentially English about afternoon tea, especially in summer. And it isn't just the quaint countryside retreats that offer such delights, you can partake in the ritual closer to home via Birmingham’s 4 star Hotel La Tour’s summer afternoon tea.
Hotel La Tour offers afternoon tea all year with seasonal variants and for this time of year, the Summer version is in full swing. A fan of afternoon tea as I am, I was delighted to be invited to sample the vegetarian option of the Summer version. Held in their Aalto Restaurant, in opulent surroundings, the restaurant and the hotel itself offer a sophisticated retreat from the hustle of the city and offers a peaceful haven to unwind coupled with the opportunity to enjoy quality food.
Upon ordering my afternoon tea, my requests for no butter on my sandwiches (not a veggie thing, just a long standing personal preference) and the inclusion of vegetarian desserts only were noted and my dietary queries were relayed to the chef without quibble.
Once arrived, to start with, there were a number of deliciously fresh finger sandwiches which included the fillings: Cucumber & Mint, Home-made Houmous & Caramelised Onions, Cheese & Tomato and Egg. Aside from the sandwiches, Sourdough Bread Wedges with Houmous & Caramelised Onion dip were served. The houmous was outstanding I have to say and really made for a tasty savoury accompaniment to the sandwiches.
Next were the dainty scones which were freshly made on site and came in fruit flavour or plain. Having both on the platter, they were served warm with clotted cream and strawberry jam. Simply a must for afternoon tea!
The layer of desserts included a home-made Blackberry Jammie Dodger Biscuit, Strawberry Macaroon, Lemon Sponge with Butter Icing and Pannacotta. It was then confirmed that the pannacotta wasn’t suitable for strict vegetarians as it contains gelatine, so the staff substituted it for me with chocolate brownies and were eager to ensure that everything was to my satisfaction. Otherwise the Jammie Dodger biscuit was nice and crumbly with blackberry jam in the middle, the Strawberry Macaroon melted beautifully centred with a chocolate filling, the Lemon Sponge was light and airy with the thick Butter Icing dressed with lime shavings offering a zesty contrast to the sponge.
The choice of beverages ranged from English Breakfast Tea, Darjeeling, Earl Grey, Herbal Teas through to a selection of Coffees. To add a touch of sparkle to the afternoon tea you can upgrade with Martinis, Cocktails or Champagne.
A speciality from the bar was a limited edition cocktail called ‘The Little Prince’ in honour of the recent birth of Prince George. It was very sweet and fruity, containing London Dry Gin, Vodka, passion fruit syrup, Earl Grey syrup and a twist of lemon.
To enjoy afternoon tea at Hotel La Tour the cost per head is: £18.95 and bookings can be made via: 0121 718 8000.
*** As a special offer, Word In Veg Ways readers/followers can receive a complementary glass of fizz when booking afternoon tea before the end of August 2013. When booking, mention this article/Word In Veg Ways to claim the offer ***.
A lovely way to spend the afternoon having tea for two or perhaps as a group, with friends or family at Hotel la Tour, the ideal way to take a break from shopping or work commitments. And if you can be joined by a Little Prince along the way, then all the better!
Disclosure: This post was written following a kind invitation from Hotel La Tour Birmingham to experience their Summer Afternoon Tea Menu. This review was conducted with honesty, without bias and I was not required to produce a positive review. For further details of my PR policy, please see the Press, PR & Food Writing page of this website. The special offer for complementary fizz (prosecco or equivalent as suggested by Hotel La Tour), is offered at the discretion of Hotel La Tour to over 18’s only. Ensure that Word In Veg Ways blog is mentioned at time of booking to claim the special offer. Word In Veg Ways will not be responsible for any issues with the booking or special offer.