Cost – £19.00 (May 2016)
Background – Afternoon Tea at the Ickworth Hotel was given as a present to us from one of our sons. Always an excellent, winning idea!
Ickworth House is an interesting country house near Bury St Edmunds, owned by the National Trust. One part of the house is now used as a luxury hotel. The hotel has many
facilities including attractive gardens where you can take Afternoon Tea if the weather is good. Unfortunately it was showery on the day we visited so we had to stay indoors in the conservatory which was once an indoor pool.
Contents – 5 sandwiches (2 ham triangles, a smoked salmon club finger, a cucumber and pepper finger and a cheese and pickle traingle), a cheese straw, a fruit scone and a plain scone, a small dish of clotted cream, small jars of either strawberry or raspberry jam, a half piece of mango torte, a tiny meringue topped with lemon curd, a mini rhubarb cheesecake in a glass and a chocolate tartlet. The tea was loose leaf in a china teapot.
Comments – We were served in the conservatory overlooking parts of the grounds of the hotel. The tea was brought out first in a round white teapot. The afternoon tea followed quite quickly. It was served on a plain three tier cake stand with round white plates.
The sandwiches were well filled and to our requirements as we had asked for the ham to be made without mustard. The cucumber with pepper was far too peppery for my taste and I was unable to eat it so it was nice to have the extra ham sandwich. Also, the smoked salmon made into a club sandwich was different. I liked the addition of a cheese straw (my favourite!).
The scones were fresh, of a good size and very tasty. There was plenty of jam (six jars on our table) so we were able to use a jar per scone. However, we had to ask for a second portion of clotted cream as there was not really enough in the dish to do two scones, let alone four. This was provided with no problem.
The cakes were small, generally light and tasty. The chocolate tartlet was a little dry. However, There was no actual ‘cake’, which we felt was a disappointment. The meringue was tiny and the mango tartlet, which was very nice, was cut in two to give a piece each. We would have liked to have had one each. The cheesecake was nice but very small and was difficult to eat from the tiny glass.
The tea was loose leaf with a choice of varieties. We chose English Breakfast tea but I felt it tasted perfumed and was not too keen on the flavour. I asked for and received a glass of water instead. The tea was of a good strength and we were able to obtain a refill of the teapot (for my husband!).
Service was polite and helpful but we were never asked if we wanted anything. We had to ask each time.
We had booked our tea for 4.00pm as afternoon tea was served between 3.00 and 5.00. However, almost as soon as we started our tea, the waitresses started to clear all the empty tables and reset them for supper. When we finished our tea we were the last in the room (at 5.00) and only our table was left to sort. The second we stood up there was someone clearing the table and setting it for dinner. I felt this was a little rude and we felt under pressure to finish and get out. Apart from this problem the tea was good and the room very pleasant.