14 July 2015

Afternoon Tea at Jesmond Dene House

When I booked our recent stay at Jesmond Dene House one of the things I was most excited about was the afternoon tea - I've heard so much about the wonderful tea offerings (mainly from Chloe who knows her stuff when it comes to afternoon tea and has often said this is her favourite!) that expectations were very high!
 
best afternoon tea north east

Firstly, if I didn't say this enough when I previously wrote about our stay, the place is just beautiful. There's a nice tea list on display too, and I opted for a summery Strawberries and Cream tea as I'd been on English breakfast all day.

english fruit tea


Regarding sandwiches, we had a bit of a change from the standard menu. The Jesmond Dene House afternoon tea sandwiches come filled with, as standard, gammon with pease pudding and wholegrain mustard, coronation egg mayonnaise, smoked cheddar with apple pickle, and hot smoked salmon with avocado. But, and I think I've mentioned this before, my Mr is very fussy when it comes to sandwich fillings. More so than me. In that he pretty much just likes plain cheese sandwiches. Not one to cause a fuss, I'll usually smooth the situation by, well, by eating all the sandwiches myself (hehe) but this time round I was still so stuffed from my massive breakfast that I definitely needed help with eating them - so we got them all swapped for cheese! Not everyone's cup of tea but the poor chap ate more on this occasion than any other afternoon tea we've had together so he was happy!

afternoon tea cheese sandwiches

The scones were honestly the lightest fluffiest scones I've ever had - and there was three of them, winner! One plain, one fruit and one cheese scone, but small enough to not be totally over-facing. If I had one small criticism here it'd be that while we were given plenty of jam and beautiful clotted cream for the scones, there was no butter... and it just seemed wrong putting jam on the cheese scones, so we ended up taking those away with us! (They were lovey buttered at home the next day though!)

plain fruit cheese scone

There was certainly nothing disappointing about the cake layer tier though - and this really is the most important one! This layer consisted of a massive and perfect lemon and raspberry macaroon, red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting, chocolate and salted caramel financier and rhubarb cheesecake sundae. I'm not usually the biggest fan of rhubarb (Yorkshire heresy?) so I was surprised that the cheesecake sundae was my favourite of the lot, creamy and sweet and delicious!

jesmond dene house cakes tea
 
So was it the best afternoon tea ever? Sooo close but not quite, sorry! Though the food was all grand (which is definitely the most important thing) there were  just a couple of issues that stopped it being perfect for me. I understand that we may have held up proceedings by asking for different sandwiches but this meant that by the time our cake stand arrived I was pretty much out of tea. It took me 'til mid way through the scones to get my hands on a glass of water, and these sweet treats just don't go down as nicely without a drink to go with them. The staff were absolutely wonderful when you managed to get their attention, but were just a little busy at the time of our visit.... so while the service was no where near bad, it wasn't exceptional either. But bear in mind, as I said earlier, I did go in with very high expectations!

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