Cost – £19.95 (Aug 2016)
Background – We had spotted The Bedford Swan on a previous trip around Bedford. We had tried to have an Afternoon Tea on that occasion but had been told that they were stopping service for a staff meeting! There were many customers eating in their outside area at the time. This put us off trying again for some time but eventually we decided we would try again. This time we rang in advance and booked a table.
The hotel is a large set of historic buildings overlooking the river in Bedford. There is a covered outside area under an open sided marquee. It is an attractive part of Bedford with an open green park area on the opposite side of the river. We had a very pleasant walk around the park after our Tea.
Inside the lounge area consists of several areas with lots of exposed timber and brickwork. It is attractive and feels comfortable and relaxing.
Contents – 5 finger sandwiches each (roast beef and pesto, egg mayonnaise, salmon with beetroot crème fraiche, ham, cheese and chutney), 1 small sized fruit scone, 1 small sized plain scone, a dish of strawberry jam, lemon curd and of clotted cream. A lemon macaroon, a cup cake, a piece of chocolate brownie, a piece of Bakewell and an Eton Mess in an Espresso cup. The tea was made with tea bags.
Comments – We sat in a side area near to the reception desk of the Inn. We had booked in advance.
The waitress who served us asked us what we would like to drink, explaining we could have different hot drinks. We both decided to have a drinking chocolate to start as it was a chilly rainy day. We then had tea later as well at no extra cost. The drinking chocolate arrived first and we drank it before the rest of the tea arrived.
The sandwiches arrived next for our Tea. They were served on individual pretty round plates and looked very appetising. They were all very well filled and the bread was fresh. There was a mix of brown and white bread. The plentiful fillings made the plate of sandwiches look colourful. I particularly enjoyed the cheese and chutney.
The scones were fresh and of a fairly small size and were rather fragile. The jam was firm and there was not really enough. There was even less lemon curd. Luckily there was just about enough clotted cream.
Of the cakes, the lemon macaroon was really good. The goo on the top of the cupcake was light and not too sweet. However, the Eton Mess was the best of all and was really yummy. I was really pleased it was in a small cup rather than the usual shot glass.
We enjoyed being able to have more than one type of hot drink. The hot chocolate was enjoyable and the tea was of good strength. We also had a jug of cold water.
The service was friendly and attentive.
This was quite a large tea and we noticed other people asking to take home their left overs. These were wrapped in aluminium foil made into the shape of a swan! Needless to say, we didn’t need to take up this option!!