Cost = £19.50 (July 2014)
Background – The Doubletree by Hilton Hotel in Cambridge is a big modern hotel near the centre of the city which backs onto the upper reaches of the River Cam. It has a big restaurant which is a Marco Pierre White Steakhouse and Grill. It also has a big bar and lounge area and a garden area by the river Cam where food can be served as well.
Contents – 4 triangular sandwiches (smoked Salmon, egg mayonnaise, chicken and cucumber), a fruit scone, a small dish of strawberry jam, a small amount of clotted cream, cherry cake, raspberry tartlet, lemon tartlet, chocolate mousse in a chocolate teacup. The tea was leaves of your choice in a teapot and was refillable.
Comments – We were served in the outside garden area next to the river. This tea is described as ‘Marco’s Traditional Afternoon Tea’, by Marco Pierre White. The tea was served on a three tier cake stand with white plates.
The sandwiches were made with, what appeared to be, sliced bread and were rather under filled, especially the chicken sandwich. However, they were freshly made.
The scone was rather on the small side, as were the portions of jam and clotted cream. The jam was of a jelly consistency which always implies a large catering pot of jam to us. There was nowhere near enough of either jam or cream, despite the small size of the scone.
The cakes were very small but were very tasty. The tartlets were only about 3 cm across!! The, definitely not traditional, chocolate mousse was served in a chocolate cup, with only a chocolate spoon to eat it with. No other eating implement was provided! This was a very warm day in the sunshine. The chocolate spoon only lasted a spoonful or two before it melted away. However, the Chocolate mousse was the high spot of the tea (eaten with the teaspoons from our tea cups)!
There was a choice of teas, which was leaf tea with a strainer provided. However, the tea was of the right strength although we did need to remove as many of the tealeaves as we could. We also asked for a jug of iced water and were brought two glasses instead.
One thing that we found annoying at this particular venue was the piped music. I feel this is unnecessary for an outdoor venue, especially in such a lovely setting as this should have been. However, it was very noisy anyway, with loads of people eating, a wedding reception going on and people punting really quite close by on the river. The music was too quiet to recognise any tunes but loud enough to be annoying.
Finally, as Marco Pierre White has put his name to this tea, we expected it to be a little special. Unfortunately we didn’t feel it was really any different from many of the other excellent afternoon teas we have experienced so far.