Christmas is upon us and festive afternoon teas are being served left and right. The Edgbaston Boutique Hotel in Birmingham gets the honours of our first Christmas themed afternoon tea review:
The Edgbaston Boutique Hotel Setting ★★★★☆
The Edgbaston Boutique Hotel is located in an 1847 building which was entirely renovated in the art-déco style. This 6 bedroom hotel is teeny-tiny, which contributes to the boutique hotel charm.
There are three cocktail lounges with plenty of cosy seating areas. The black and gold tones of the hotel’s interior may not please everyone, but I found that the decoration was tastefully done.
The Tea & Beverage Selection ★★★★★
The organic JING tea selection is rather limited with 7 teas on offer, but the tea is brewed expertly. I strongly recommend the hotel blend: “The Edgbaston Signature Tea”, a Vanilla black Assam tea; as well as the “Lemon Verbena”, a refreshing fruity blend.
Each guest can only choose one type of tea (teapots can be refilled twice) so it’s better to order one kind of tea/iced tea per person, for sharing purposes. Ordering a different and additional tea costs an extra £5, but the staff will be very accommodating if the drink isn’t to your liking. Guests can also choose from several “Moseley serve” alcoholic cocktails, which I did not try
The stars of the show are the festive iced teas. These cocktails may seem unfit for these wintery days, but they taste so good that you won’t think twice about it:
Cheeky Redbreast (Hibiscus Flowers, Dried Blackcurrant, Merlot Grape Juice, Christmas spice) ★★★★☆
This iced tea cocktail is very Christmassy, both in terms of taste and appearance. The flavours are strong and reminiscent of this festive period, though perhaps a little excessively so.
Winter Honey (Lemon Verbena Tea, Local Honey, Clementine, Lavender) ★★★★★
The Winter Honey is the best ice tea and probably your best bet overall so I strongly recommend ordering at least one of these to share.
The Amuse-Bouche ★★★★★
The afternoon tea starts with an amuse-bouche. It is brought on a platter of dry ice, with the amuse bouche in a glass: “Chocolate ice cream, Irish whisky sauce, vanilla custard, and shortbread”.
This slightly sweet entrée is an absolute delight. It is both beautiful and delicious, as the edible viola flower illustrates perfectly.
The Savouries ★★★★☆
Scottish smoked salmon and avocado on lemon bread ★★★★★
You cannot go wrong with a combination of salmon and avocado; the lemon bread pairs perfectly with both ingredients, for a delightfully fresh result. This is the tastiest savoury.
Turkey and cranberry on brioche buns ★★★☆☆
This bun is very nice but the chutney is too sweet and too plentiful. You will barely feel the taste of the turkey.
Wensleydales cheese with golden raisins and curry sauce on mixed seeds toast ★★★★☆
The extra crunchy toast adds some consistency to a great blend of strong distinctive flavours.
The Scones ★★★★★
The scones are brought on a separate tray after everyone has had their savouries and each guest get ones plain and one fruit scone. This way, the freshly baked scones can be eaten immediately after being brought from the kitchen. It’s so simple it’s brilliant and I wish every venue would proceed in the same way.
The clotted cream and jam toppings are tasty and brought in a sealed pot for extra freshness.
The Sweets ★★★★★
Grapefruit and mascarpone macaroon ★★★★★
I’m not a macaroons fan but the grapefruit and mascarpone are an excellent, imaginative blend.
Passion fruit and Italian meringue tart ★★★★★
This is the best dessert of the lot: it’s simply amazing. Imagine a “Tarte au Citron” but better.
Mince pie ★★★★☆
A good old British classic, what could go wrong?
Armagnac and chestnut délice ★★★★★
This cheesecake is brilliant. It’s light, delicious and a perfect for this Christmas afternoon tea
The Service ★★★★★
I would like to thank Zuzana for being a fantastic waitress, as well as the rest of the team which was equally courteous and efficient.
If the food it too much for everyone, a fantastic looking doggy-bag (e.g. Swan-shaped) will be made out of aluminium. For once, you may bring leftovers back home in style!
The place is very popular so booking at least 2 weeks ahead is essential. The reservations team is very responsive, both on the phone and via email.
Conclusion & Overall Mark ★★★★★
The Edgbaston hotel afternoon tea is the best one I have tried in the Birmingham area so far.
The price is right, the service team is brilliant, and the food and beverages quality is beyond reproach!
+: The art-déco setting
+: The Festive iced tea cocktails
+: The Delicious Christmassy food
+: Excellent service
+: Price/performance ratio
-: One choice of beverage per person (£5 extra)
-: Requires booking ahead on week-ends (~2-3 weeks)
(The Christmas afternoon tea is available until January 8th 2017)