To celebrate my 27th birthday at the weekend, my sister treated me to afternoon tea at Killashee House. We had been to the Gresham and the Atrium Lounge last year and I was looking forward to our first afternoon tea experience outside of Dublin. A four star luxury hotel nestled in the Kildare countryside, Killashee House is just 30km away from the capital’s city centre.
On arrival, we were welcomed in to the hotel’s restaurant, an oval-shaped room with pretty details and lots of natural light. I was immediately slightly taken back by how large a space it was — there could have been thirty to forty other customers there and it didn’t feel even half full. While I like a spacious area, this almost felt like too much. It’s undoubtedly a gorgeous setting but it didn’t feel as intimate as the other places we had visited for afternoon tea.
When it came to being served, we (of course!) opted for the sparkling afternoon tea which included a glass of prosecco. Shortly after our bubbles arrived, a tea trolley also came along which was a sweet touch. I wasn’t very adventurous and just stuck with my favourite regular breakfast tea but there was a nice selection of other varieties such as peppermint, chamomile and strawberry and mango.
Once we had our pots of tea, our sandwiches were served to us almost immediately. There was honey baked ham, smoked Emmental cheese and tomato chutney on onion bread; oak smoked Irish salmon on brown bread; and egg, parsley and lemon mayonnaise on sourdough bread. My sister loved the flavours of these savouries but I wasn’t quite so taken. They were tasty enough but I felt like there wasn’t a whole lot to them. They were all open sandwiches and fairly small in size as well. I would have preferred to have at least one “proper” sandwich with a filling between two slices of bread for something more substantial.
When we finished the sandwiches, a three-tiered stand was brought out. On the bottom tier were the biggest scones with a cute teacup filled with fresh cream on the side. I think a good scone is such an important part of afternoon tea and these were delicious. Fresh, light and crumbly; my only issue with them was that they were so big, I could only manage half and as much as I wanted to finish it, I just couldn’t — that really can’t be classed as a bad thing though!
On the second tier was a selection of miniature cakes. The menu listed coffee and walnut cake, mini battenburg and strawberry sugarrolls. We got two of each except for the coffee and walnut. There was one of those and — either due to a little mix-up or a shortage — a substitute of the same size. That turned out be a pretty great thing as the substitute cake ended up being one of the most delicious cakes I’ve ever had…as in, ever! A dense chocolate miniature loaf soaked in kirsch, it had the most beautiful flavour and texture. In fact I was so distracted with that, I forgot to try the other cakes! They looked lovely though — maybe a little too retro for my taste but still a nice offering.
The top tier was definitely the most fun part: coconut and lime white chocolate truffles, raspberry and popping candy macarons and mini lemon meringue pies. These were all so yummy; my sweet tooth was definitely satisfied!
Having been to a couple of other places for a similar experience, I did feel that there was some small details overlooked on this occasion: no water on the table, jam served in sealed jars rather than ramekins and no little chocolates with the hotel’s name on it (admittedly a slightly insignificant thing but it’s something that’s shown on their site and that we had at both our previous afternoon teas — it’s the sweetest little touch, I don’t know they they’d leave that out!). Also I much prefer it when afternoon tea is served all in one go, rather than sandwiches before sweets. Of course, that’s just a personal preference but I do think it makes a bigger impact overall.
Ultimately, however, the quick service, friendly staff and some delicious treats meant that this was another lovely afternoon tea experience. The Atrium still stands as being my favourite to date — we plan to continue trying new places throughout the year so watch this space for some more reviews! 🙂