2018 update: An afternoon tea savvy friend of mine tells me this tea time has changed, not necessarily in a good way. It now includes sandwiches, scones and cakes.
In France, afternoon tea is mainly a Parisian thing. We’ll review the only afternoon tea I have had outside of Paris so far: The Intercontinental Bordeaux Le Grand Hôtel.
The Intercontinental Bordeaux Le Grand Hôtel Setting ★★★★☆
The Grand Hotel is a neoclassical building located on Place de la Comédie, close to the Bordeaux theatre and opera.
Afternoon tea is served in the Orangery Bar which is spacious and bathed in light. The tables are a slightly too close to each other and also a bit too small for several afternoon teas.
The Tea & Beverage Selection ★★★★★
Tea time is served with your choice of hot beverage and your choice of fruit juice, which is unusual but highly appreciated.
The Harney & Sons tea selection is varied and enjoyable (iced tea, decaf, etc…), even though it is in tea bags. Tea is served in gorgeous cast iron teapots and the tea is brewed at the proper temperature.
I recommend the “White Peach”, a delicious white tea with a hint of peach fragrance, as well as the “Vanilla Comoro”, a decaffeinated black tea with vanilla.
The Scones, Madeleines & Canelés ★★★★☆
In a similar fashion as in the Ritz Paris, this tea time does not include any savouries. I recommend starting with the upper part of the cake stand, in order to finish the afternoon tea with the best cakes.
The Canelé is a symbol of local gastronomy and a must-try when in Bordeaux: the soft custard filling is made with rum and vanilla while the outer layer is a thick caramelised crust.
The scone is nut flavoured and comes with clotted cream and fig jam. The honey Madeleines are coated with a lemon crémeux, for a delightful result.
Unfortunately, both the scones and Madeleines seemed a bit dry, as if they had not been freshly baked. Otherwise, these would have been perfect.
The Cakes & Sweets ★★★★★
Designed by pastry chef Arthur Fevre, the cakes are the best part of this afternoon tea: Mince pie (a rarity in France), Tarte au citron, Hazenut entremet, Coconut puff, Chestnut & tangerine rocher and Chocolate sablé.
I especially enjoyed the Chestnut & tangerine rocher, which is the masterpiece of this afternoon tea. Conversely, the chocolate sablé was very ordinary and disappointing.
The Service ★★★★☆
The service team is politely efficient, even when the Orangery is packed. Tea time must be booked for groups of 6 people and more.
Conclusion & Overall Mark ★★★★★
The Intercontinental Bordeaux Le Grand Hôtel afternoon tea is excellent, as long as you have a sweet tooth. The cakes & sweets designed by Gordon Ramsay’s Pressoir d’Argent team are its strongest point.
At 30€ per person with a hot beverage and a fruit juice, this afternoon tea is a great deal. It also is the only one of its kind in the Bordeaux area.
+: The beverage selection
+: The cakes
+: Good price/performance ratio
-: The tables, too small for afternoon tea
-: No savouries
Phone number: +33 (0)5 57 30 43 42
Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org