Cost – £17.95 including a festive cocktail (Dec 2016)
Background – We had tried Browns Restaurants ‘normal’ Afternoon Tea and had, to be honest, found it to be a little lacking in some areas. When we saw they were advertising a Festive version we decided to try it out to see if it was better. I felt it was, though there is still room for some improvement.
Browns Restaurant is housed in the Outpatients department of the original Addenbrookes Hospital in Cambridge, opposite the Fitzwilliam Museum. As a result the building is fascinating and it is an interesting place to visit. Be warned to be careful parking nearby as there are gullies running along each side of the road which used to bring fresh water into the town. They now catch the occasional unwary visitor as they try to park!!
Contents – Three mini rolls each (egg mayonnaise, turkey and cranberry and smoked salmon with cream cheese). Two small scones each (one pain, one fruit), a small pot of strawberry jam and a small pot of clotted cream. A mini jelly dessert in a glass, a mini mince pie, a small square of Earl Grey tea cake, a finger of chocolate Brownie and a mini round profiterole. Your choice of festive cocktail (the choice included alcohol free options). The tea was made with loose tea leaves with a strainer.
Comments – We had booked our Afternoon Tea ahead so there was a table laid ready and reserved for us.
We were first offered and eventually served with a festive cocktail. I had one of the alcohol-free options as I don’t drink. Mine was a large round glass of a purple drink with lots of ice in and a Viola flower head on the top. It looked very pretty and was a very pleasant drink.
The Afternoon Tea arrived on a pretty round cake-stand with three layers. The food was all very attractively displayed on the stand and it all looked very appetising.
The mini rolls were reasonably well filled and were generally tasty however, they were pretty small. The turkey appeared to have been replaced with a tiny slither of beef.
The scones were warm but the plain scone was rather overcooked. The jam had strawberries in it but there was not enough of it. There was nowhere near enough clotted cream.
We were not left anything with which to eat the mini jelly dessert so we used our teaspoons from the teacups. The jelly was very solid and I wasn’t particularly keen on it. The mini mince pie was all shortcrust pastry and very little mincemeat filling. The Earl Grey tea cake was never going to be a winner for me as I dislike the perfumed taste of Earl Grey tea. However, the sponge was light. The Profiterole was good. The piece of chocolate Brownie was delicious. It was still warm after 45 minutes and had the texture of a chocolate fondant. It was very rich but was quite hard to eat.
The tea was of a good strength for us but got cold very quickly. We were not offered a refill.
The service was patchy at best.