I’d like to personally thank Anna, the seventh Duchess of Bedford for creating the wonderful concept that is: the afternoon tea.
Way back in 1840, Anna – like most of us – realised that by 4pm she was hungry. Rather than languishing in a state of deep hanger until dinner time, she decided that a tray of tea, bread and butter would be the perfect remedy. These were the humble beginnings of what we now know as afternoon tea.
I’m suspicious of anyone who professes not to like this past time; sandwiches, dainty little cakes, scones complete with jam and cream and your own wee tea pot -what’s not to like?
At the weekend a friend and I were lucky enough to sample The Ivy On The Square’s Butterfly Afternoon Tea.
Just before you walk in the front door, a big and beautiful floral design in the shape a of a butterfly sets the tone for a pretty afternoon ahead. It’s also the perfect spot for taking ‘insta-perfect’ photos.
We were seated by the window which allowed us to enjoy the flowery decor and made it feel as if we were in the glass house of a botanic garden. Our waitress was very friendly and was able to answer any questions we had about the menu, while also offering recommendations for tea.
The savouries included a truffled chicken brioche roll, marinated cucumber and dill finger sandwich, smoked salmon on dark rye style bread with cream cheese and chives. The chicken roll was delicious and the savoury flavour of the filling was a nice contrast to the sweet roll. I was a little underwhelmed with the smoked salmon on rye bread. I believe if you’re going to do a salmon and cream cheese sandwich: you should do it right and have it as a full blown sarnie. The cucumber sandwich is a phenomenon that I’ve never quite understood and I’m afraid the Ivy’s version failed to convince me that it deserves a place on the afternoon tea cake stand.
Although the savouries were a little hit and miss, the selection of sweets were definitely the stars of the show. The Ivy Butterfly pot was a particular favourite of mine with its chocolate ‘soil’ concealing a wonderful combination of chocolate mousse with caramel that felt indulgent and more-ish. The fruit scones were the perfect size and served warm, allowing the Dorset clotted cream to melt slowly on the surface. The creme brulee doughnut was another glorious masterpiece and vanished in approximately 1.5 bites.
While my friend plumped for the fresh mint tea, I opted for Jasmine. The tea arrived in gorgeous silver teapots and although we let them brew and settle for several minutes, when I clasped the teapot it was much too hot to grip and pour. So just beware and have your napkin at the ready to protect your mitts.
A DJ was set up in the corner beside the bar and was playing music gentle enough for a Sunday afternoon but also with enough energy for anyone gearing up for a more eventful night ahead.
The service through out our afternoon was lovely and we did feel very taken care of which is always nice when you’re playing at being the seventh Duchess of Bedford.
The Butterfly Afternoon Tea costs £18.95 per person.
The Champagne Afternoon tea costs £26.50 per person and includes a glass of champagne.
6 St Andrew Square
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