During the week, we stopped by The Shelbourne hotel for afternoon tea. A visit to this famous five-star hotel had long been on our to-do list so I was delighted to make it there! On arrival, we were welcomed in and seated in the Lord Mayor’s Lounge, a beautiful intimate space with its very own pianist. Afternoon tea at The Shelbourne this summer has a Wonderland theme inspired by the recent release of Alice Through the Looking Glass. This was our first themed afternoon tea so we were really looking forward to the experience!
As soon as we had settled in, we were deciding what to drink. The Shelbourne offers an impressive choice of twenty-seven teas. I always stick with my favourite regular breakfast tea so for a change, I decided to try a matcha latte. Unfortunately I didn’t like it at all — I’m sure it was perfectly made but the unusual flavour just wasn’t for me! The next time our server stopped by, I requested something simpler. I can’t remember the name of it but it was like a honey-flavoured black tea that was really good. I couldn’t have the choice of so many drinks and not try something different!
The sandwiches came next. There was tomato and goat’s cheese on pumpkin and turmeric bread, egg and chicory on brown bread, braised ham on sourdough baguette and smoked salmon on brown bread. They were all open sandwiches but a decent size so they felt substantial enough. Everything was so beautifully presented and the flavours were delicious — the tomato and goat’s cheese was my absolute favourite, I could have easily eaten half a dozen of them!
Then came the all-important three tiered stands. On the bottom, wrapped in pristine white linen napkins, were warm buttermilk scones and slices of tea brack. Served with strawberry jam and clotted cream, the scones were lovely and fresh. I like tea brack in general but I thought it was a bit of a plain choice for such a luxurious experience! My sweet tooth definitely prefers the little slices of cake that came with the scones at our previous afternoon tea sittings.
On the middle and top tiers of the stand were a selection of Wonderland themed sweets. There was an Eton Mess type dessert with an adorable miniature meringue mushroom on top. Rich, creamy and indulgent; I loved the cute “eat me” tag that came with it! Beside it was a small glass bottle with a “drink me” tag — it was filled with deliciously refreshing Kir Royal.
Then there was the “Queen of Hearts” which was like a mousse cake with a fruity yogurt filling. A generous size, this looked so lovely! My favourite of the sweets had to be the edible pocket watch which was really a macaron with the most beautiful salted caramel filling. It looked and tasted so perfect.
Overall, this was another wonderful afternoon tea — thankfully, I’ve yet to have one that disappointed me! Everything that we consumed was of such a high standard and so beautifully presented on the loveliest plates. I did, however, mention before in a previous review that I prefer everything to be served at once rather than sandwiches before sweets and I do still stand by that. I just think it always looks so much better!
The Wonderland theme worked quite well and the staff on the day were lovely and so attentive. The only issue I had was that before we were served, we were warmly welcomed and then told that our session would last ninety minutes. I found that a bit strange and unnecessary. Obviously we can understand and appreciate that others would be coming after us but — especially considering there were several empty tables — I don’t think there was any need to bring up time constraints. We actually opted for an early sitting which was at 1p.m. and even though we were there on the dot, the food wasn’t served until half past. I would have no issue with that except for the fact that we had just been given the impression we could only stay until half two! Afternoon tea is meant to be an indulgent experience, not to be rushed.
Nevertheless, it was still pretty wonderful. The Shelbourne is one of the more expensive afternoon teas so it’s ideal for a special occasion…or for when you really want to treat yourself (I had cause to celebrate, more on that coming soon…)! This was my fifth experience of afternoon tea and I really love it as much as I did the first time — so much so that I already know where I want to go for the next one!
Previous Afternoon Tea Reviews