For my first review, I will write about my favourite afternoon tea in Ireland so far, The Merrion Hotel’s “ART” Afternoon Tea:
February 2020 update: price and menu links
The Merrion Hotel Setting ★★★★★
Everything about this hotel is gorgeous, from the location in Dublin 2 to the stunning decoration, its gardens and its famous Art collection. The Drawing Room where the Afternoon Tea is served are comfortable, well lit and relaxing. There is sufficient space between the tables so the guests do not feel cramped.
The patrons of the hotel can get an audio-tour of the collection for free, a great option for art aficionados.
The Tea & Beverage Selection ★★★★★
There is a great variety regarding the choice of tea (Black, Green, White, Wulong, Fruity…) and even more unusual, there are two tea cocktails which are included in the Afternoon tea price.
I especially recommend trying out the “Irish Malt” tea, a distinctive whisky and cacao flavoured tea as well as the “Matcha Magic”, a truly magical tea cocktail (see picture above).
The other teas I tried are the hotel’s “Merrion blend” and the “White Melon” tea, both turned out to be both tasty and properly brewed at perfect temperature.
The Savouries ★★★★☆
Arguably not the best part of the ART afternoon tea, the sandwiches were tasty but lacked the wow flavour that some might expect, the Cucumber sandwich being the most plain/disappointing. The salted choux pastry “Duck egg mayonnaise in brioche bun” was a little too dry to my taste.
However the “shot glass with avocado cream and grapefruit” was deliciously refreshing, I guess the chef might have intended for these two to balance each other out.
The Scones ★★★★★
Three small/medium size scones, soft and tasty as they should be. They come with strawberry jam, clotted cream and lemon curd.
The latter is often missing from afternoon teas and I really appreciate its presence there.
The Pastries ★★★★★
First course: The Scones also came with some delicious “pain d’épices” and four pieces of colourful “Art collection inspired Battenberg” (see pictures below). Tasty!
Second course: Here comes the pièce de résistance of the ART tea, three pastries inspired by the hotel’s art collection and to say the least, they didn’t disappoint.
Though all three cakes were absolutely stunning both in terms of taste and appearance, so beautifully made that you may almost feel bad digging in.
The “Chocolate Trinity ” (fith picture below) that was the height of the meal. The combination of three kinds of chocolate in a single cake, all of them made in-house by the Merrion Hotel’s chocolatier, is just heavenly.
The Service ★★★★★
Simply impeccable from A to Z, the staff will not even let you pour the tea yourself, and the whole hotel team was adorable and caring.
Best part: since we weren’t done with our tea after two hours, the team kindly relocated us to the bar area where we were able to finish our tea and cocktail and were even offered some more.
Conclusion & Overall Mark ★★★★★
Simply the best tea I had in Dublin thus far, with lots of strong points and almost no weaknesses.
If you have the time and you don’t mind paying 45€ for an afternoon tea, The Merrion Hotel’s ART Afternoon Tea is a must, even more so if you love beautiful mocktails, art and aesthetic cakes.
+: Beautiful hotel, great location
+: Scones & Cakes are delicious;
+: Second Art themed course is extraordinary
+: Impeccable service, both nice and efficient
+: Great value for money (cocktails included)
-: Tasty yet slightly plain savouries
-: 2 hours sitting time