I think it’s fair to say I am becoming something of an afternoon tea aficionado having reviewed my fair share of local offerings for this blog. Last week I was lucky enough to try Jesmond Dene House’s version, but I’ve also eaten at Rockliffe Hall , SIX, Garden Kitchen and high street stalwart Betty’s just to name a few (all in the name of blogging of course…)
This week I was offered the chance to review afternoon tea at The Vermont and was excited to try somewhere new!
The last time I was at The Vermont Hotel was for the launch of their incredible rooftop Sky Bar so I was looking forward to spending the afternoon in luxe surroundings. Reminiscent of a French salon, The Redwood Bar is without doubt elegantly furnished; grey walls and plush drapes envelope the room, while spotlights shine upon gorgeous cream sofas and chic suede black chairs – think the Palace of Versailles, but perhaps a 21st century version…?
We opted for the Classic Afternoon Tea, which I thought was very reasonable at £14.88 per person and for the price I was really impressed by the quality and quantity of the food.
I can’t say anything bad about our food – everything was delicious, well presented and perfectly cooked, but unfortunately for some reason or other, the service wasn’t as high as I expected from a venue as established and reputable as The Vermont on our visit.
Minor details like the half an hour or so wait for our food, and my tea being served without any milk meant that I had to wait another ten/fifteen minutes before a member of staff walked past and I could catch their attention. In their defence another member of staff kindly offered us a complimentary glass of champagne to apologise for the wait, in which he explained he had asked the kitchen twice to enquire about our food, but unfortunately our champagne never arrived. It certainly didn’t spoil our day, and the luxurious surroundings meant we were more than comfortable, but if I’m being truthful I did feel like the service could have been stronger, especially since it was my first visit and there are so many businesses offering excellent afternoon teas on their doorstep. Hopefully this was just a one-off and the next time I visit I am wowed.
Nevertheless, the food was delicious. Our selection of finger sandwiches and scones were incredibly generous – we could only manage a scone each before we tackled the top tier.
Our top tier of treats comprised of creamy chocolate mousse with crushed coffee beans (complete with dainty dark chocolate spoon), a roll of dark chocolate to balance the slice of tangy lemon curd cheesecake, creamy custard in a pastry shell, lemon and poppy seed sponge cake and an incredible passion fruit meringue.
I would love to see maybe a mini quiche or canapes form part of the bottom tier of a contemporary version of afternoon tea as the same-old flavour of finger sandwiches can become quite predictable. The Vermont’s sweet treats definitely did all the talking, visually stunning and full of strong flavours, I felt our afternoon tea was seasonal and great value for money.