Cost – £15.50 plus service charge which was added automatically (August 2015)
Background – The Grand Café in Southampton is situated in the former South Western Hotel which served the L&SW railway. The Hotel was used extensively by passengers heading for the great liners that crossed the Atlantic. The restaurant itself is situated in the former Wedgewood Ballroom. Outside the ironwork which connected the hotel to the railway station can still be seen although the railway is no longer in use at this point.
We booked and visited the café as many had before us, on our way to boarding one of the ships docking at Southampton port. What a great way to start a cruising holiday.
Contents – 12 finger sandwiches between two of us (3 each of egg and cress, ham, smoked salmon and beetroot crème fraiche and chicken with mayonnaise), 1 fruit scone and 1 plain scone each, a small pot of strawberry jam, a small pot of clotted cream, a cupcake, a small square fruit tartlet, half a slice of lemon drizzle cake, and a macaroon. Pot of your choice of tea (refillable).
Comments – We were shown to a table right next to the bar and till area. There were a few groups of people eating afternoon teas plus several tables set up for a large party presumably arriving later.
As usual the tea was served first in 2 small white teapots. This was accompanied by a glass of water each. The rest of the Afternoon Tea was served on a three tier stand with round white plates.
The sandwiches were fresh and tasty and were well filled. They were on a mix of brown and white bread. The sandwiches were of a generous size given there were 6 each but why do 3 of each type? It always leads to arguments about who has which extra ones! In the end we cut the third sandwiches in half and had 1 1/2 of each filling.
The scones were good, tasty and fresh. They weren’t huge but there was two each which made up for the size. The jam and clotted cream were just barely adequate in quantity.
The cakes were generally small with the exception of the cupcake. Unfortunately neither of us are keen on cupcakes with large amounts of topping on them and we had to scrape large amounts of sweet icing off the tops. Even then we failed to finish them. The other cakes were tasty and fresh.
The tea was made with bags and we were offered a refill. The tea was hot enough but got very strong quite quickly in the little pots. Service was reasonable.